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Prep Sports

The Times 2018 All-Area Baseball Teams made it look easy

Streator senior Joey Byers batted .361 and carried a minuscule 0.84 earned-run average this past spring for the Diamond Dogs.
Streator senior Joey Byers batted .361 and carried a minuscule 0.84 earned-run average this past spring for the Diamond Dogs.

This past spring, many of The Times-area baseball players made the game look easy. However, in a sport that asks a player to swing at a round ball with a round bat and hit it square, or consistenty throw pitches over a plate 17 inches wide and between the batter’s knees and chest, the game is far from simple.

The following gentlemen excelled this season at doing the aforementioned and much more.

We are honored to present The Times 2018 Baseball All-Area Teams.

FIRST TEAM

Trace Berggren

Senior, Serena

Berggren, the Huskers’ ace pitcher and first baseman, hit .406 with eight doubles, a home run, 22 runs scored and 12 RBIs. On the mound, he had a 3-2 record with a trio of saves, compiled a sparkling earned-run average of 1.74 and struck out 76 batters in 43 1/3 innings. Berggren was unanimously named to the Little Ten All-Conference team for the fourth-straight season and a unanimous The Times First Team pick.

Joey Byers

Senior, Streator

Byers, who shared time between shortstop and the mound for the Bulldogs, batted .361 with nine doubles, three homers, 28 runs scored and a team-best 22 RBIs. He also went 3-4 with one save, posted an eye-popping ERA of 0.84 and fanned 50 batters in 47 1/3 innings. Byers was an Interstate Eight Conference South Division All-Conference honoree.

Grant Campbell

Senior, Earlville-Leland-Paw Paw

Campbell, who split time between center field, shortstop and pitcher, hit a Times-area best .573 (.558 in LTC contests) from his leadoff spot in the Red Raiders order with 33 runs scored and 14 RBIs. He also pitched 11 2/3 innings, striking out 11, with an ERA of 3.00. Campbell was a unanimous The Times First Team and All-LTC selection.

Preston Duffy

Senior, Serena

The Huskers everyday catcher, Duffy batted a team-best .453 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and a team-leading 29 RBIs. He also scored 13 runs and was hit by pitches 11 times. Duffy was a repeat unanimous selection to the Little Ten All-Conference squad.

Bryce Foster

Senior, Marquette Academy

Foster, The Times 2018 Baseball Player of the Year and unanimous First Team pick, hit .382 with 29 runs scored, 17 doubles, a triple, three home runs and a Times area-best 51 RBIs. When toeing the rubber, he went 6-1 with an ERA of 1.21 and struck out 74 batters in 46 1/3 innings. Foster was named the Tri-County Conference Pitcher of the Year as well as an All-TCC First Team honoree.

Sam Grushkin

Junior, Seneca

Grushkin, who spent time on the mound and at shortstop for the Fighting Irish, batted .364 with six doubles, a triple, 19 runs scored and 11 RBIs. He went 2-3 with a team-leading ERA of 3.47 and fanned 52 hitters in 38 1/3 innings of work.

Wyatt Hill

Junior, Ottawa

Hill, a solid infielder for the Pirates, hit a team-best .391 with four doubles, two triples, 14 runs scored and 15 RBIs. He was a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division Honorable Mention pick.

Andrew Johnson

Senior, Somonauk

Johnson, who was the Bobcats’ top catcher and saw time on the mound, batted a team-best .452 with seven doubles, two homers, 21 runs scored, eight stolen bases and a team-leading 30 RBIs. He was also 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA and fanned 19 batters in 15 innings. Johnson was a unanimous selection to the All-LTC team.

Steven Kenyon

Junior, Somonauk

Kenyon, the Bobcats’ top pitcher, hit .406 with nine doubles, a triple, a home run, 16 runs scored and 28 RBIs. On the hill, he went a perfect 9-0 with a save, an ERA of 1.74 and struck out 45 in 44 1/3 innings. Kenyon was a unanimous selection to The Times First Team, as well as the All-LTC team, and was named to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A All-State squad.

Logan Komater

Junior, Marquette Academy

The slick-fielding Crusaders centerfielder, Komater batted .463 with seven doubles, four triples, 39 runs scored and 39 RBIs. He was named the Tri-County Conference Player of the Year as well as being a unanimous All-TCC and The Times First Team selection. Komater was also an honoree to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A All-State squad.

Nate Melvin

Junior, Marquette Academy

The Crusaders’ shortstop and leadoff hitter, Melvin batted .417 with eight doubles, two triples, 48 runs scored and 16 RBIs. He was a unanimous pick to the Tri-County All-Conference Team.

Peyton Phillis

Senior, Streator

A solid center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Bulldogs, Phillis batted a team-best .413 with five doubles, a triple, a pair of homers, 26 runs scored, 19 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He was a unanimous The Times First Team selection and was named to the All-Interstate Eight Conference South Division Team.

Chistopher Schiera

Senior, Sandwich

The top catcher for the Indians, Schiera hit .361 with 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 35 runs scored, 25 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He was an All-Interstate Eight Conference North Division selection.

Brennan Sweeney

Junior, Earlville-Leland-Paw Paw

The Red Raiders’ top catcher who also spent time on the mound, Sweeney batted .459 (.500 in LTC games) with 16 runs scored and 30 RBIs. He was also 2-1 with an ERA of 1.05 and struck out 36 batters in 20 innings of work. Sweeney was named unanimously for the third consecutive season to the All-Little Ten Conference squad.

SECOND TEAM

John Benckendorf

Senior, Streator

The Bulldogs starting catcher, Benckendorf hit .321 with four doubles, two triples, a home run, 12 runs scored and 19 RBIs.

Tyler Bretsch

Junior, Earlville-Leland-Paw Paw

Bretsch, who split time between first base, right field and the pitching mound for the Red Raiders, batted .414 with 18 runs scored, 13 RBIs and an ERA of 1.75.

Sam Brooks

Junior, Somonauk

Brooks, who spent time in the outfield, third base and the mound for the Bobcats, hit .364 with a double, a triple, 25 runs scored and 11 RBIs. He also went 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA and struck out 23 batters in 30 innings. Brooks was a unanimous selection to the All-LTC team.

Kyle Cook

Senior, Marquette Academy

The Crusaders’ starting left fielder, Cook batted .311 with four doubles, five triples, 36 runs scored and 25 RBIs.

Luke Couch

Freshman, Marquette Academy

Couch, who manned second base for the Crusaders, hit .367 with four doubles, two triples, 38 runs scored and 17 RBIs. He was a Tri-County Conference Honorable Mention honoree.

Zack Dyche

Senior, Marquette Academy

The Crusaders’ catcher, Dyche batted .378 with five doubles, 28 runs scored and 26 RBIs. He was an All-Tri-County Conference Second Team selection.

Jared Herzog

Junior, Ottawa

Herzog, who split time between center field and the pitching mound for the Pirates, hit .370 with seven doubles, a triple, 19 runs scored and 17 RBIs. On the hill he went 2-3 with an ERA of 5.13 and struck out 25 batters in 30 innings pitched. Herzog was a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division All-Conference honoree.

Chandler Hillebrenner

Senior, WFC

The versatile Hillebrenner batted .328 with nine doubles, 13 runs scored and 14 RBIs. He was a Tri-County Conference Honorable Mention selection.

Brady Kreiter

Senior, Somonauk

​Kreiter hit .361 with six doubles, five home runs, 36 runs scored, 21 stolen bases and 25 RBIs. The shortstop was a repeat unanimous selection to the All-LTC squad.

John Thompson

Sophomore, Marquette Academy

​Thompson, who was second on the Crusaders in innings pitched with 47 1/3, went 7-2 with an ERA of 1.77 and 44 strikeouts. He was a Tri-County Conference Honorable Mention selection.

Mitch Vickers

Senior, Streator

Vickers, who shared time between the outfield and third base for the Bulldogs, batted .343 with a double, three stolen bases, 13 runs scored and 10 RBIs.

Kyle Voytko

Junior, WFC

Voytko, who pitched and played right field, hit a team-best .373 with four doubles, three home runs, 19 runs scored and 12 RBIs. He was an All-Tri-County Conference Second Team selection.

​Nolan Wegener

Junior, Somonauk

​Wegener, the Bobcats’ third baseman, batted .424 with five doubles, two triples, 30 runs scored and 21 RBIs. He was a repeat unanimous selection to the All-LTC squad.

Nathan Weitzel

Senior, Ottawa

​The versatile Weitzel played both the infield and outfield for the Pirates and hit .339 with 10 doubles, two triples, 23 runs scored and 12 RBIs. He was a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division All-Conference honoree.

​THIRD TEAM

Cody Altman

Senior, Seneca

Altman played outfield for the Fighting Irish and batted .347 with three doubles, a triple, a home run, 18 runs scored and 10 RBIs.

Greg Breese

Senior, Serena

Breese, who played infield and led off for the Huskers, hit .365 with four doubles, 27 runs scored and 10 RBIs.

Logan Cheatham

Senior, Ottawa

Cheatham batted .324 with seven doubles, 15 runs scored and 20 RBIs for the Pirates. He was a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division Honorable Mention honoree.

Andrew Gipe

Junior, Sandwich

​Gipe, an infielder, outfielder and pitcher for the Indians, hit .293 with two doubles, 24 runs scored and 17 RBIs. He also went 4-1 with an ERA of 3.24 and fanned 41 batters in 41 innings. Gipe was named to the I-8 North Division All-Conference Team.

​Zack Grabowski

Senior, Streator

​Grabowski, who played the outfield and pitched for the Bulldogs, batted .288 with four doubles, a triple, 11 runs scored and 11 RBIs. He also went 5-3 with a 4.82 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings.

Collin Hjerpe

​Junior, WFC

​Hjerpe played the infield as well as pitched for the Warriors and hit .281 with two doubles, three home runs, 17 runs scored and 13 RBIs. On the mound he went 2-3 with an ERA of 3.29 and struck out 36 hitters in 34 innings. He was a All-TCC Second Team pick.

Hayden Isham

​Senior, Sandwich

​Isham batted .297 with 10 doubles, three triples, 22 runs scored and 21 RBIs. He also posted an ERA of 3.94 and struck out 18 batters in 21 1/3 innings of work. He was member of the I-8 North Division All-Conference Team.

​Ben Lundy

Junior, Ottawa

​Lundy, who played both middle infield spots and pitched for the Pirates, recorded 22 hits, including six doubles and three triples. He scored 23 runs and had 11 RBIs. On the mound he went 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 39 innings.

Derek May

​Junior, Fieldcrest

​May batted .298 with three doubles, four triples, a home run, 16 runs scored and 15 RBIs. He also went 3-4 with a 3.39 ERA on the hill and struck out 31 hitters in 43 1/3 innings. May was named Honorable Mention in the Heart of Illinois Conference.

Michael Morse

Junior, Fieldcrest

​Morse hit .322 for the Knights with a double, two triples, two home runs, 20 runs scored and 13 RBIs. He went 2-3 with an ERA of 3.78 and fanned 23 batters in 25 1/3 innings. Morse was an All-HOIC Second Team selection.

Brett Myre

Junior, Newark

​Myre batted .364 with three doubles, 17 runs scored and eight RBIs for the Norsemen. He was also 1-0 on the hill with 16 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.

Shane Reynolds

Freshman, Marquette Academy

​Reynolds went 4-0 with an ERA of 2.12 and recorded 47 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings for the Crusaders. He was a Tri-County Conference Honorable Mention selection.

Austin Salemi

Senior, Sandwich

Salemi hit .311 with five doubles, a triple, a home run, 14 runs scored and 20 RBIs for the Indians.

Jack Snook

Junior, Marquette Academy

​Snook batted .302 with three doubles, four triples, a home run, 21 runs scored and 21 RBIs for the Crusaders.

HONORABLE MENTION

Connor Baker (So., Serena), Gage Cryder (Fr., Seneca), Brett Dresbach (Jr., Streator), Corey Jacobson (Jr., Newark), Tyler Jenkins (Jr., WFC), Michael Killelea (Sr., Marquette), Max Mitchell (Jr., Marquette), Myles Mitchell (So., Seneca), Clayton Morris (Sr., Somonauk), Jacob Slivka (Jr., Newark), Sean Smith (Jr., Sandwich), Alex Stevenson (Jr., Ottawa), Connor Swanson (Jr., Newark), Uriah Tobolski (Sr., Seneca), Drew Westbrook (Jr., Somonauk).

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