2013 All-Area baseball: first-team capsules

Posted: Jun. 16, 2013 12:05 am Updated: Jul. 7, 2013 1:15 am

Seth Leezer

First baseman, Sr., Central

In Central's first season since the co-operative agreement with Southeastern dissolved, Leezer became the Panthers' main offensive weapon. In the regional semifinal, Leezer hit a two-run double to tie the game. He later scored on a fielder's choice to send Central to the title game, where it fell just short of upending Liberty.

Key Stat: Leezer raked at the plate, leading the Panthers with a .466 batting average.


Tyler Niemann

Catcher, Jr., Canton

A consistent presence, Niemann helped the Tigers snap their quarterfinal jinx. A solid backstop, he led the Tigers run to the Class 2 final four. Named first-team all-state by the MHSCBA, Niemann hit a team-high .423 and drove in 18 runs. He also had 25 hits, seven doubles and five home runs.

Key Stat: Niemann stole a team-high 15 bases.


Ethan Borrowman

Infielder, Sr., Pittsfield

Borrowman's patient attitude helped him lead the Saukees' offense. His approach helped provide a potent bat in the middle of the order. Borrowman hit .417 and smash 14 doubles for the Saukees. He also hit two home runs and drove in 36 runs. Borrowman was also dangerous on the basepaths, stealing nine bases and scoring 34 runs. Defensively, he helped provide a solid presence at shortstop.

Key Stat: Borrowman slugged .625.


Dryden Craven

Shortstop, Sr., Griggsville-Perry

Craven's steady demeanor on the mound and at the plate helped him lead the Tornadoes to their second consecutive regional title. When Griggsville-Perry needed big innings on the mound, Craven was always reliable. Craven was 8-1 with an 1.85 ERA. He was also consistently reliable at the plate, where he batted .387 with four home runs and 32 RBIs.

Key Stat: Craven finished with a team-high 81 strikeouts.


Alex Million

Third baseman, Jr., Quincy

The Blue Devils didn't win the Western Big Six Conference, but Million made sure Rock Island Alleman wouldn't either. Million had four hits in the doubleheader and drove in the game-winning run in the nightcap to help QHS split with the Pioneers and forced Alleman to share the conference title with Galesburg. Million led the Blue Devils with a .377 average.

Key Stat: Million hit .526 with a home run and seven RBIs in conference to earn first team All-WB6 honors.


Brody Gronewold

Outfielder, Sr., Illini West

The Chargers speedy outfielder made opponents pay at the plate. Gronewold finished with 37 hits and hit .398. He also belted eight doubles and a triple. Gronewold filled in where need for Illini West, including on the mound and at shortstop. He finished with one win and only made one error in the field, finishing with a .983 fielding percentage.

Key Stat: Gronewold had 26 stolen bases in 29 attempts.


Brandon Berhorst

Outfielder, Jr., Canton

Berhorst's diving catch in the eighth inning in center field against Elsberry in a Class 2 sectional highlighted an outstanding defensive season. He didn't commit an error and was named second-team all-state as an outfielder by the MHSCBA. Berhorst also played a big role offensively to help the Tigers reach the final four for the first time since 1988.

Key Stat: Berhorst led Canton with 24 RBIs.


Paxton Harmon

Outfielder, Sr., West Hancock

Harmon helped the Titans form a deadly middle of the order that propelled West Hancock to its first regional title since Hamilton joined the co-operative agreement in 2007. Harmon batted .339 with three home runs and four doubles. He had 21 hits and drove in 21 runs batting cleanup. On the mound, Harmon was 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Key Stat: Harmon only struck out four times in 62 at-bats.


Austin Hardy

Pitcher, Sr., West Hancock

When the Titans' season was on the brink, Hardy was the remedy. Against Rushville-Industry in the regional, Hardy struck out 10 batters in four innings of relief and drove in the game-winning run.

Hardy was untouchable. He finished 7-1 with 85 strikeouts and a 0.56 ERA. He only allowed four runs all season. Hardy, who will play at NCAA Division III Monmouth College next season, also batted .548 and drove in 22 runs. He also hit two home runs and had nine doubles. In 62 at-bats, Hardy only struck out four times.

Key Stat: Hardy hurled a no-hitter against Liberty, striking out 18 batters.


Will Funkenbusch

Pitcher, Sr., Palmyra

The Panthers won their first district title since 2009 behind the big right-hander. Funkenbusch was 7-1 with a 0.89 ERA, earning a honorable mention Class 3 all-state from the MHSCBA. He struck out 52 batters in 47 innings pitched and had a WHIP of 1.17.

Key Stat: Funkenbusch hit a two-run single in the Class 3 District 7 title game against Bowling Green to put the game out of reach.


Zach Vahle

Pitcher, Jr., Quincy Notre Dame

Vahle was tabbed as the ace at the season's outset and didn't disappoint. He went 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA and struck out 37 batters. His production wasn't limited to the mound. Vahle also saw an improvement at the plate. He led the Raiders with a .462 batting average, which was a nearly .200 improvement from his sophomore season, and drove in 13 runs.

Key Stat: Vahle had the Raiders' only triple.


Lane Hanzel

Utility, Sr., Liberty

Few players were as dynamic as Hanzel. His abilities helped the Eagles make history. Behind his .470 batting average and 5-2 record on the mound, Liberty won its first ever regional title. When asked to pitch, Hanzel puzzled batters, finishing with 103 strikeouts. Hanzel had five triples and drove in 17 runs.

Key Stat: Hanzel threw out seven of 12 base stealers and committed two errors behind the plate.


Dominic Miles

Utility, Sr., Quincy Notre Dame

Miles provided the Raiders with a dangerous ofensive threat at the top of the order. He batted .333 with four doubles and drove in 16 runs. With a pitching staff that had a lot of youth at the top of the ration, Miles provided a solid backstop. He only committed one error and helped turn six double plays.

Key Stat: Miles drew a team-high 26 walks in 87 plate appearances.


Brendan Ross

Utility, Sr., Louisiana

Playing at catcher for the first time, Ross committed only one error and had a fielding percentage of .992. Opponents also had a hard time getting Ross out. He batted .476 and had 20 hits, including five doubles. He also hit a home run and drew 18 walks.

Key Stat: Ross led the Bulldogs with a .633 on-base percentage.


Seth Brown

Utility, Jr., Palmyra

Brown did a little of everything for the Panthers team that won its first district title since 2009. He led Palmyra, which bowed out in the sectional round with a .464 batting average and drove in 16 runs. Brown also had an on-base percentage of .571. He was also counted on to contribute on the mound.

Key Stat: Brown threw a complete game and struck out eight to help the Panthers beat Canton, which reached the Class 2 final four.

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