Choosing the large school basebll All-GTNS team was a treat with all of the talent on display this season.
Mt. Pleasnat and Fairfield shared the Southeast Conference championship while Washington was a close third.
Picking the captain for the GTNS team was a tossup between Fairfield’s Austin Simpson and Kosta Papazoglou.
While Simpson was chosen as the SEC Player of the Year, Papazoglou was the pick for captain of the GTNS team.
With that much talent to pick from it was just a matter of spreading the accolades around.
Josh Allison, Fairfield, 17 years
At the helm for nearly two decades, Allison has created an environment for kids to have fun while they grow and learn and that has resulted in a successful program that shines as a beacon for Southeast Iowa baseball. On the field, his teams have compiled seven-consecutive winnings seasons with a combined record of 186-62 during that span and were 26-5 this year, falling one game short of the Iowa state baseball tournament after finishing the season ranked No. 6 but drawing the No. 2 team in the substate final. Four of Allison’s players will play ball in college with three of them focusing on baseball. Allison has turned his program into a breeding ground for talent that has allowed many of his players to increase their visibility and to be seen by quality coaches and colleges around the country in hopes of gaining a free or reduced secondary education.
Captain: Kosta Papazoglou, senior, Fairfield
If K-Pap had a fault, it would be learning to harness his passion and that is something he improved on greatly between his junior and senior seasons. He also got better on the field and that was scary for the teams on Fairfield’s 2019 schedule to have to deal with.
Papazoglou hit safely 45 times in 95 at-bats for a .474 average that jumps to a .576 on-base percentage when adding in his 19 walks drawn and four hit-by-pitches. His 10 doubles, 10 home runs and one triple gave him a .916 slugging percentage that was second in all of Class 3A behind only teammate Austin Simpson’s 1.065. Papazoglou scored 39 runs and drove in 38 more in 31 games played and was 7-for-7 stealing bases while striking out only eight times.
On the hill, Kosta was 7-2 with a save in 50 1/3 innings over 10 appearances, allowing just 20 hits and 15 runs with only seven of those earned, leaving him with a phenomenal 0.97 E.R.A. Papazoglou walked 27 and hit only three opponents with pitches versus recording 83 strikeouts in 173 batters faced for a paltry .116 average against him.
Pitcher: Kole Hinrichsen, senior, Washington
The ace of a talented Demons’ pitching staff, Hinrichsen had the best earned run average in the Southeast Conference at 0.81. That was the fifth best ERA of anyone in Class 3A with over 50 innings pitched.
Hinrichsen had a 6-3 record in nine starts and 13 appearances, always drawing the toughest assignments. He had one save.
Hinrichsen issued just10 walks in 52 innings pitched. Nobody with at least 31 innings pitched had a better total. Second place was teammate Ethan Patterson with 17 walks in 32 2/3 innings thrown. His 52 innings was the fourth-highest total in the conference. His strikeout total of 73 was second. Opponents batted .175 against him.
Pitcher: Jaxon Hoyle, junior, Mt. Pleasant
Hoyle was the right-hand man for Mt. Pleasant this season.
The junior had a big workload, pitching in half of the big Southeast Conference games.
Hoyle finished the year with an 8-1 record, a 3.00 ERA and a team-leading 48 strikeouts.
He wasn’t too bad at the plate either. Hoyle hit .269 with a double, a triple and 15 RBIs.
Catcher: Brady Knutson, junior, Washington
Knutson delivered missiles to catch runners stealing. He had the second- best percentage in the Southeast Conference, gunning down seven of 19 runner attempting to steal.
Knowledge learned catching made him a selective hitter as Knutson was second in the league in drawing walks (26) behind Ft. Madison’s catcher (27). Knutson was hit by a pitch 12 times and had a .299 batting average that computed to a .526 on-base percentage, good for third in the league.
Infield: Austin Simpson, senior, Fairfield
Simpson spent the majority of his high school career as a member of various all-GTNS teams, nearly captaining this squad as he and Papazoglou were a virtual coin flip with K-Pap earning the edge because of a little more utility in his game.
But to be clear, no one in southeast Iowa does what Austin Simpson does better than Austin Simpson. The senior leader hit safely 44 times in 93 at-bats for a .473 average. Simpson led the state in home runs with 16, a school record, and added seven doubles to boost his slugging percentage to the highest in Class 3A at 1.065.
Simpson’s 17 walks drawn were often intentional and he also crowded his way in on seven hit-by-pitches that rose his on-base clip to .571. In 31 games played, Simpson drove in 49 runs and scored 40 times himself, swiping four bases in as many attempts while striking out just seven times, forcing pitchers to come at him.
Infield: Tristin Waugh, senior, Fairfield
Probably Mr. Trojan 2019, Waugh was a fixture in FHS athletics, playing football, basketball, track and field, E-gaming and of course, baseball. Waugh was the third option from Fairfield that no one in the league wanted to face and he took that slightly reserved role in stride as his buddies, K-Pap and Simps, jumped to his normal place out front.
Waugh hit safely 32 times in 86 at-bats for a .372 average and added 16 walks and two hit-by-pitches that elevated his on-base percentage to .472. With eight doubles, a triple and seven home runs, Waugh boosted his slugging number to .733 while crossing the plate 29 times himself and driving in his teammates 32 times.
Waugh was crafty on the base paths as well, with the Trojan tailback successfully stealing eight bases in as many attempts. For records sake, Waugh did make one appearance pitching and lasted one inning, striking out two and walking one while allowing zero runs for the team’s lone “0.00” E.R.A.
Infield: Luke Turner, junior, Washington
Turner was a trusted and valued cog in the Demons’ machine.
Turner was second in the Southeast conference last season with a batting average of .469 and was third this season at .406. Turner led the league in triples with four and hit a home run. He had 10 doubles, which was second in the conference. He was fourth in runs scored with 32, third with hits at 41, second in runs batted in at 38. Turner stole 11 bases in 14 attempts which was the fifth best total in the conference. His on-base percentage of .487 was eighth in the league.
Turner had a 2-0 record in five pitching starts with an earned run average of 0.88 in 24 innings pitched. He struck out 29 and walked 11 with an opponents’ batting average of .183.
Infielder: Clayton Lowery, junior, Mt. Pleasant
Nobody swung the bat better for Mt. Pleasant than its junior third basemen. Lowery proved himself to be an emerging SEC star this season.
The Panther third basemen hit .333 this season and led or co-led the squad with 12 doubles, two triples and 26 RBIs.
Lowery was also used quite a bit on the mound, going 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA and 26 strikeouts.
Outfield: Cade Hennigan, senior, Washington
Washington coach Nathan Miller called Hennigan the best centerfielder he has ever coached. “He seems to know where the ball is going just from the angle of the bat.”
Hennigan did not commit an error all season.
After leading the Southeast Conference in batting average last season at .469, he was seventh this year at .355. He was second in the league with 107 at bats, fourth in hits with 38 and third in runs scored with 37 from his spot at No. 2 in the batting order.
Hennigan was second in the conference with 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts.
Hennigan had a 6-0 record in 32 2/3 innings with an earned run average of 3.64 and an opponents’ batting average of .191.
Outfield: Chase Williamson, junior, Mt. Pleasant
Who would have thought that Mt. Pleasant’s leader in average an on-base percentage would have come out of the nine hole in 2019?
Williamson came into this year with very little varsity experience, but that didn’t stop him from getting on base over and over again. He paced the Panthers with a .342 average, and was the only Mt. Pleasant player to eclipse a .500 on base percentage, ending the season with a .505 OBP.
Williamson co-led the team with 30 runs scored, despite hitting last in the order. He also earned quite a few bruises throughout the season. He led the team with 10 hit-by-pitches.
Outfield: Caden Jones, senior, Fairfield
Selected as an outfielder, the 2019 Trojan homecoming king was also the No. 2 pitching option for FHS and went 3-1 in five starts and nine appearances. Jones allowed 36 hits and 21 runs in 33 2/3 innings pitched with just 10 of those scores earned, giving him a credible 2.08 earned run average. with 26 strikeouts and 21 batters walked.
In the field, Jones had six assists and just two errors to go with 24 putouts and 32 catches for a respectable .938 fielding percentage.
At the plate, Jones hit .301 in 83 at-bats with 17 runs scored and 22 more driven in. The Trojan kick-returner in football, Jones also stole 11 bases in 14 attempts and his eight walks and four hit-by-pitches gave him 12 extra opportunities that increased his on-base percentage to .385.
Utility: Corbin Broeker, junior, Mt. Pleasant
The son of Panther head coach Brent Broeker was a major boost this year at the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Broeker hit .284 with one double and 20 RBIs, and also scored 22 runs on the season to aid the team to a surprising share of the conference title.
The junior short stop was one of many Panthers who had to step up after the exodus of graduated seniors last year, and he’ll be one of the many returning Panthers that aim for another SEC crown next season.
Utility: Nik Coble, junior, Mt. Pleasant
The sharing agreement between Mt. Pleasant and WACO for the sport of baseball has turned into quite the good decision for the Maroon and Gold.
Coble was the top left-handed pitcher in Mt. Pleasant’s lineup this season, going 3-3 with a 2.46 ERA and 41 strikeouts. He often split the major SEC doubleheaders with teammate Hoyle.
Coble was also solid in the two-hole in the Mt. Pleasant lineup. He hit .327 on the year with seven doubles and 24 RBIs. He was also one fo the most patient hitters in the lineup, drawing 22 walks.
The All-GTNS team was selected by Doug Brenneman of the Washington Journal, Justin Webster of the Fairfield Ledger and Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News.