The 2020 All-Union large school baseball team has a captain from one of the area’s small schools.
Due to the sharing agreement between WACO and Mt. Pleasant, WACO’s Nik Coble was able to display his talents on the diamond and help the Panthers win a Southeast Conference championship.
Coble couldn’t have done it all himself and its obvious with the Panthers head coach, Brent Broeker, as the All-Union Coach and four more Panthers being named to the team for seven total. Five Washington Demons were selected and two Fairfield Trojans.
Coach: Brent Broeker, Mt. Pleasant
After a surprising 2019, Coach Broeker’s Panthers were expected to compete for a conference championship this season, and they didn’t disappoint.
Broeker’s Mt. Pleasant squad repeated its co-SEC championship despite there being an additional team in the league with Burlington joining the SEC. The Panthers went 15-7 overall and 8-2 in conference play under their coach’s guidance. The Panthers split the league title with Burlington with their only losses to the Grayhounds. Burlington lost to two teams the Panthers did not fall victim to.
Mt. Pleasant went 1-1 in the postseason. Broeker’s Panthers knocked out Fort Madison in the substate quarterfinals before falling to No. 1-ranked Davenport Assumption in the substate semifinals.
Captain: Nik Coble, senior, Mt. Pleasant
Mt. Pleasant’s senior southpaw was one of the most valuable players in the area this year with his work at the plate and on the mound. Those talents earned him All-Union captain honors.
Coble hit .296 this season with an on-base percentage of .393 and led the team with five home runs and 30 RBIs. He also tallied four doubles.
On the mound, Coble had yet another fantastic year. He finished the season with a Panther-leading 1.30 ERA, which was second in the SEC, and a conference-leading 46 strikeouts, while going 4-1 on the season. Coble made a single error all season for a fielding percentage of .991. Five guys tied for tops in the league with no errors but none of those five had more than 85 chances. Coble had 113.
Pitcher: Jaxon Hoyle, senior, Mt. Pleasant
Starting pitching was a big factor in Mt. Pleasant’s co-SEC championship and Hoyle was a major piece to the puzzle.
Hoyle went 5-1 on the year with a 1.55 ERA and 39 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit .231 with 12 RBIs, one of seven Panthers to hit double-digits in that category.
Pitcher: Lucas Kroll, sophomore, Washington
Kroll was dominant on the mound with the third best earned run average (2.02) of anyone in the SEC with as many innings pitched as his 27.2. He started five games and had a 2-1 record. He was acurate with just 10 walks and 24 strikeouts. His WHIP was third best at 1.16.
Kroll also contributed at the plate with a batting average of .273 and an on base percentage of .373.
He had just one error during the season.
Catcher: Nate Smithburg, sophomore, Fairfield
A catcher is the main man in charge of the defense and though just an underclassmen Smithburg handled it well.
Smithburg led the Trojans at the plate with a batting average at .345. He had an on-base percentage of .387. He led the Trojans in doubles with six and was second in RBIs with 14, which was good for ninth in the SEC. He led the team in total bases. All these accomplishments for a sophomore show the Trojans will be back after finishing fifth at 4-17 and 2-8 SEC, one year after winning the SEC at 26-5 and 12-4.
Infield: Clayton Lowery, senior, Mt. Pleasant
The Panthers’ senior third-baseman was deadly at the plate in 2020, hitting .356, which was third-best on the Panthers.
Lowery also also led the Mt. Pleasant with eight doubles and four triples. He knocked in 19 runs on the year and scored 23 runs. His senior leadership helped Mt. Pleasant to its second co-SEC championship in a row.
Infield: Luke Turner, senior, Washington
The anchor in a lot of Demon sports, Turner will play baseball in college.
His play at shortstop was crucial for the Demons and he was second on the team with 12 runs batted in. His batting average at .278 was the lowest since he batted .261 as a freshman, but it was .406 last year and .469 as a sophomore. His OBP was at .381. His 30 total bases was second on the Demons, bolstered by his two home runs, three triples and three doubles.
He started four games on the mound and had a 3-2 record with a 2.96 ERA. His 35 strikeouts were third in the SEC. He was a second team pick for All-District.
Infield: Corbin Broeker, senior, Mt. Pleasant
One of the most gritty players on the Panther roster, the senior shortstop and relief pitcher that was Broeker did it all in 2020.
Broeker grinded out at-bats all year from the leadoff position, hitting .324 and tallying two doubles and 13 RBIs on the year, while only striking out five times.
Broeker was an extremely reliable arm in relief, finishing with a 1.56 ERA (Fourth in the SEC) and 15 strikeouts, while only walking six batters all season.
Infield: Ethan Patterson, Washington, freshman
The only freshman on the All-Union squad, Patterson was integral to Washington’s success whether he was playing second base, shortstop or pitching.
He could also get on base with an OBP of .345.
Opponents batted just .195 against him as he had an ERA of 2.58. His strikeout total of 27 was fourth in the league
Outfield: Reece Mayer, junior, Washington
Mayer came into his own this season with a selection to the All-District First Team, joining Coble as the only All-Union players to make that team.
Mayer was fifth in the conference in runs batted in (17). His batting average of .377 was sixth in the SEC and his OBP was .459, which was ninth in the league.
Outfield: Chase Williamson, junior, Mt. Pleasant
It’s not easy to beat a team when their No. 9 batter hits almost .400, but that was the reality for Mt. Pleasant’s opponents this year.
Williamson’s .392 batting average was tops for the Panthers. He hit three doubles on the year and knocked in 11 RBIs. He also finished with an incredible .543 on base percentage, a huge boost from the bottom spot in the batting order. That was fourth in the SEC this season.
Outfield: Rylan Seberg, senior, Mt. Pleasant
Mt. Pleasant’s senior speedster returned to the baseball field with a mission after opting out of the sport his junior year.
Seberg was second on the Panther squad with a .367 batting average and also hit seven extra-base hits, six doubles and a triple. The Panther two-hitter also knocked in 20 runs, one of just two Mt. Pleasant hitters to hit the 20-RBI mark in 2020.
Utility: Brady Knutson, senior, Washington
The definition of utility, Knutson moved from his catcher’s position to the outfield this season and was the closer for the Demons on the mound. His 1.68 ERA was seventh
No one in the SEC reached base more often than Knutson. He was the leader in OBP with a .587 percentage. He was particular at the plate, drawing 16 walks (second in the SEC) and was hit by a pitch seven times, also second. His batting average was .350, good for eighth in the SEC.
He was seventh in the league in stolen bases.
Utility: Elan Ledger, senior, Fairfield
Ledger was a leader among the Trojans and was first on Fairfield’s pitching staff with an ERA of 3.92 and first in innings pitched at 25. One stat may have been the result of the other and vice versa. Ledger did not commit an error in the field all season.
Ledger was ninth in the league in stolen bases. He was second on the Trojans in batting average at .309.