2014 All-Area Baseball: Dimensions of Success
It’s hard to top last season for prep baseball in the area, when BOLD won the Class A state championship.
This season’s All-Area team includes three repeat First-Teamers (Logan Sandgren, Trevor Nissen and Dylan Abraham), three repeat Honorable Mentions (Brandon Hill, James Kuefler and Caleb Melin), and one who moved up to the First Team after an HM selection last year (Trent Athmann).
The remaining five First-Teamers — Eddie Estrada, Cody Hammerschmidt, Jordon Roos, Jordan Thompson and Austin VerSteeg are making their first All-Area appearances.
MACCRAY, senior CF
The Camden Conference MVP, Abraham hit .479 with 17 RBI, five doubles and one home run.
A repeat All-Area First Teamer and three-year starter for the Wolverines, Abraham added 12 stolen bases and scored 18 runs.
BOLD, junior C/P
The junior catcher was BOLD’s best all-around hitter, with an average of .416, a .588 OBP and .481 slugging percentage.
He led the Warriors in runs (44), walks (25), stolen bases (34) and plate appearances (114), and drove in 20 runs.
He pitched 22 innings down the stretch, including a gutsy six-inning performance in BOLD’s semifinal loss in the Class A state tournament, finishing with a 1.91 ERA.
Litchfield, junior shortstop
For hitters in the area, there were the good ones, the really good ones, and then there was Estrada. The Minnesota Gophers commit hit .500 with an on-base percentage of .590 and a slugging percentage of .905 for a ridiculous 1.495 OPS.
He clubbed five home runs, drove in 18 and had 37 hits.
“Eddie was one of the most dominant players in the area,” Dragons’ head coach Jeff Wollin said. “He struck fear into the hearts of many pitchers this season despite being pitched around regularly.”
The All-Wright County Conference selection stole 19 bases in 21 attempts and played solid defense at shortstop after catching the last two seasons.
Benson, senior C
Hammerschmidt hit .547, one of the highest batting averages in the Braves’ team history.
He homered twice and drove in 16 runs and led Benson in nearly every offensive category.
He played strong defense behind the plate, throwing out more than half of runners trying to steal.
BOLD, senior IF/P
Nissen showed good pop for the Warriors, leading the team in doubles (11) and RBIs (31), and hit one homer.
He batted .352 with a .453 OBP and .557 slugging.
On the mound, he tossed 28.2 innings with a 2.93 ERA.
Nissen will play football at MSU-Mankato next season.
Paynesville, senior P
Of all pitchers nominated for All-Area, Roos pitched the most innings (62) and had the fewest walks (six).
He won eight games for the Bulldogs and had a 1.57 ERA with 43 strikeouts.
At the plate, he hit .344 with 15 RBI.
“Jordon is an outstanding pitcher, one of the very best we have ever had,” Bulldogs’ head coach Brad Skoglund said.
Roos will pitch at Valley City (North Dakota) State next season.
BOLD, senior P
The term “video game numbers” is thrown around often, but Sandgren’s numbers were truly video game-like.
The senior lefthander posted a miniscule 0.57 ERA — five earned runs allowed all season — and struck out 110 batters while walking just 17 in 61.2 innings for the Warriors.
He was 10-0 and also recorded two saves.
He was nearly untouchable in his start in the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament, striking out eight of the first nine batters he faced and allowing just one hit through six innings.
At the plate, he hit .312 with a team-leading two home runs while driving in 24 runs.
He was the MVP of the West Central South Conference and will pitch for St. Cloud Tech next season.
Montevideo, senior P
A pitcher on the varsity squad since his freshman year, Thompson pitched 54 innings with a 1.17 ERA, 55 strikeouts and seven walks.
He was named to the All-West Central Conference and was the runner-up for Conference MVP.
Minnewaska, sophomore P/3B
The West Central North’s MVP as a sophomore, VerSteeg hit .372 with 10 doubles and 21 RBI.
He was even better as a pitcher, putting up a 1.34 ERA with 56 strikeouts and eight walks in 47 innings.
Minnewaska, sophomore C/IF/OF
The sophomore utilityman hit .429 with a .444 on-base percentage.
He had four doubles and two triples for the Lakers.
NLS, junior C
Austvold hit .406 with a .474 on-base percentage and six doubles for the Wildcats.
BBE, senior 1B
Boogaard paced the Jaguars with a .439 average, along with a .549 OBP and .560 slugging percentage.
He tied for second on the team with nine RBIs.
Paynesville, junior C
Dingmann hit .367 with 15 RBI for the Bulldogs.
A catcher with good speed, he also stole 10 bases.
Montevideo, junior C
An excellent blocker with a good arm at catcher, Enevoldsen was no slouch with the bat, hitting .394 with one homer and 12 RBI. He also stole seven bases and was an All-West Central Conference selection.
BBE, senior P/OF
Goodwin, a three-year starter for the Jaguars, hit .387 with a .457 OBP and .467 slugging percentage. He had five doubles and drove in 10 runs.
On the mound, he tossed 35 innings with a 2.80 ERA.
LQPV, junior SS/P
Hill hit .303 with nine doubles, 12 stolen bases, 15 runs scored and 15 RBI.
He won four games with a 2.33 ERA and played every inning of all 21 games for the Eagles.
Morris/CA, senior P/SS
A two-year starter, Jergenson tossed 54 innings with a 1.96 ERA for the Tigers.
When not on the mound, he played shortstop and led MCA with 30 hits and batted .337.
Paynesville, senior CF
A strong defender in centerfield, Karsch hit .377 with five doubles, three homers and 13 RBI.
He also won four games on the mound.
BOLD, senior 1B/P
During the Warriors’ run to the 2013 state title, Kramer was the co-ace with Sandgren, but couldn’t pitch this spring due to injury.
His bat remained strong, though, hitting .294 with a .373 OBP and .353 slugging percentage.
He homered once and tied for the team lead with 31 RBI.
BBE, senior P/IF
Kuefler reached base in nearly half his at-bats with a .484 OBP, while hitting .365.
He posted a 3.06 ERA in 16 innings pitched.
LQPV, junior C
A first-year starter, Lillejord was up to the task, hitting .373 with a .507 OBP, five doubles and one home run.
He scored 15 runs and tied for the team lead in RBI with 15.
In limited work on the mound, he won two games with a 2.90 ERA in 19.1 innings.
MACCRAY, senior SS/P
Melin was a perfect 25-for-25 as a basestealer for the Wolverines and hit .373 with 23 runs scored.
In 30 innings on the mound, he won two games with a 1.61 ERA.
MACCRAY, junior P/1B
The Wolverines’ ace worked 44 innings with a 2.06 ERA and 38 strikeouts, posting a 5-2 record. .
He hit .362 with 12 RBI.
Willmar, senior P/1B
An All-Central Lakes Conference pick, Nibaur led the Cardinals in every pitching statistic including innings pitched, wins, strikeouts and WHIP and was a .282 hitter at the plate.
“Adam’s 6-foor-7 presence on the mound was tough for some teams to overcome,” Willmar head coach Mark Stier said. “It was tough for opponents to not only time him, but also try to figure out what he was throwing.”
NLS, senior RHP/2B
Nordmeyer worked 42 innings and won four games for the Wildcats with a 2.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts.
He was a .357 hitter and had a .384 OBP.
LQPV, junior P/SS
A six game winner for the Eagles this season, Olson tossed 44.2 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 43 strikeouts.
He hit .265 with one home run and played strong defense at shortstop.
BLHS, sophomore C/3B/P
Though just a sophomore, Pettit earned an All-Tomahawk Conference selection, hitting .456 with 26 hits and 12 RBI.
Paynesville, junior SS
Hurt early in the season, Quade came on strong late to hit .286 with 14 RBI and one home run, while playing strong defense at short.
RCW, senior SS/P
Schaub hit .423 with a .455 on-base percentage.
He also tossed 19.1 innings, striking out 32 with a 1-0 record.
Paynesville, junior 1B
Schleper hit .352 with three doubles and eight RBI and only made one error at first base all season.
BOLD, junior SS
Stadther hit .356 with a .445 on-base percentage and 28 RBIs, and was second on the Warriors with 29 runs scored.
He got into 12 innings as a pitcher, and had a 1.17 ERA.
Minnewaska, junior P/1B
Thompson threw 57.2 innings and struck out 55 while only walking 12 batters all season.
He posted a 1.82 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and won five games.
Willmar, junior 1B
Tinklenberg led the Cardinals with a .318 average, .464 on-base percentage and 10 RBIs.
He had only three errors at first base and was All-Conference in the Central Lakes.
“Josh batted in our No. 3 and 4 spot all year and was a kid who always got us a hit when we needed it,” Cardinals’ head coach Mark Stier said.
NLS, senior SS/RHP
Vraa hit .386 and got on base at a .486 clip. He clubbed eight doubles and one homer.
Litchfield, senior 2B
Wahl had a strong season at the plate, hitting .342 with a team-leading 21 RBI.
He had just four errors in 74 chances at second base.
He hit one homer, a clutch two-run shot that put the Dragons on top in the Section win against Delano.
Litchfield, junior pitcher
Wendlandt was a workhorse for the Dragons, going 52.1 innings with a 2.54 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 34 strikeouts.
The first-year varsity player recorded three of Litchfield’s four postseason wins, including a complete-game in the Section win over Delano.
BBE, junior P/OF
A two-year starter for BBE, Wosmek converted to pitching this season and won five games with a 2.62 ERA in 34.2 innings.