Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 14, 2018

Tigers get 5 on GTNS baseball list

Helmerson coaches 2018 team, 4 players make squad for NL
Aug 01, 2018
MPN file photo Isaac McSorley

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


The area saw a ton of parody this year in small school baseball as the smaller classes saw some of the most exciting postseason play in recent memory.

The Golden Triangle Area had a handful of teams that finished above .500. New London led the area in wins after a two-loss regular season and Iowa Mennonite found itself in the substate title game against Lisbon.

Henry County has just two small school baseball teams. The Tigers swept the county’s mentions this season getting four players and a coach on the 2018 list.

Without further ado, here is the 2018 All-GTNS small school baseball team.

Coach: Brad Helmerson, New London: Things may have been tight in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference this year, but there was one team that stuck out in the south throughout the regular season.

Brad Helmerson’s New London squad lost just two regular season games, and after a district semifinal loss finished the year 21-3. The Tigers also crept their way into the Class 1A top 10 rankings before the season was over.

Captain: Tanner Bainbridge, Junior, Pekin: Bainbridge was stellar his junior season for the Panthers, leading the team in at-bats 74, runs scored 29, hits 34, doubles nine, RBI 25, SAC three, stolen bases and attempts both eight, hit-by-pitches five, OBP .547 and batting average .459.

On top of being an exceptional hitter, Tanner went 4-1 in five appearances and had 30 strikeouts versus 12 walks in 23 innings pitched. Bainbridge finished the year with a 1.22 ERA and his opponent’s batting average was a mere .105.

Pitcher: Britt Noel, Senior, New London: Dominant pitching was the number one reason for New London’s success this year on the diamond and nobody threw more innings than senior Britt Noel.

Noel went 6-2 with a 1.35 ERA as well as a team-leading 46 strikeouts. At the plate, Noel hit .338 with three doubles, three triples and 11 RBIs. He also went 12-12 in stolen base attempts.

Pitcher: Isaac McSorley, Junior, New London: Isaac McSorley continued to be one of the stars for New London baseball in 2018. McSorley went 8-0 on the mound with a 1.85 ERA and 40 strikeouts. His final win of the season was a clutch relief outing against Danville in the district quarterfinals.

At the plate, McSorley went .381 with eight doubles, four triples and four homeruns from the leadoff spot. He finished the year with 14 RBIs and went 24-25 in stolen base attempts.

Infield: Torell Washington, Senior, Pekin: Washington led the Panthers in homeruns (four), triples (one) and slugging percentage (.658), while finishing second on the team in at-bats (73), runs scored (27), hits (26), doubles (8) and RBIs (24).

The recent graduate also hit .356 with a .472 on-base percentage and had 14 strikeouts in as many innings of relief for the Pekin bullpen.

Infield: Jacob Plecker, Junior, Van Buren: The Warriors leader hit .515 with a .588 on-base percentage while slugging .574, all team-highs.

Plecker also lead the team in hits (35), RBIs (16) and walks drawn (14) and finished second in runs scored 21, doubles four and stolen bases three.

Primarily an infielder, Plecker also pitched, collecting a 3-2 record in 37 2/3 innings with a 3.16 ERA, 26 strikeouts versus only nine walks and an opponent’s batting average of .110.

Infield: Tommy Laughlin, Senior, Van Buren: Laughlin scored 24 times in just 51 total at-bats, mainly because on top of the 18 times he hit safely, he crowded the plate for 15 hit-by-pitches and 14 walks drawn, giving him a respectable .353 average and an outstanding .580 on-base percentage.

Laughlin also recorded team-highs in doubles five, triples (one), homeruns (one) and stolen bases (five). Laughlin also struck out 36 opponents in just 24 1/3 innings while walking just six hitters and allowing an opponent’s batting average of .252. The most impressive stat may be that in 80 plate appearances, Laughlin struck out himself only twice.

Infield: Elli Ours, Iowa Mennonite: Just a freshman, Ours, a third baseman, helped Iowa Mennonite (16-10) get within one game of the state tournament for the second year in a row. He led IMS with a .362 batting average, a .567 on-base percentage and 27 walks.

His 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts was second to his brother Cole, a senior who stole 27 of 28, and batted .345 with an OBP of .477.

Catcher: Sam Loyd, Senior, New London: Whether Sam Loyd was on the mound or behind the plate, you knew runs weren’t coming easy against the New London boys this season.

Loyd caught for two pitchers who had sub-2.00 ERAs had a miniscule ERA of his own, going 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 25 strikeouts.

Outfield: Robert Yoder, Highland: Yoder led the Huskies with 25 RBI, a .423 batting average, a .538 slugging average and reached base in half of his at-bats.

He successfully stole 22 of 23 bases and had one of the three home runs on the team. He also hit six doubles.

Outfield: Keontae Luckett, Junior, New London: Keontae Luckett continued to be a pesky hitter in the lower part of New London’s lineup this year, using his speed on the basepaths to wreak havoc on SEISC South Division opponents.

Luckett hit .351 this season with two doubles and 11 RBIs. The junior outfielder also went 23-25 in stolen base attempts and was one of four Tigers to score 20 runs or more.

Outfield: Colby Aschenbrenner, Cardinal: The sophomore speedster stole 25 bases and also led the team in batting average (.420), slugging percentage .(545) and hits (37) while finishing in the top three in at-bats (88), doubles (seven), RBI (27) and on-base percentage (.480).

Aschenbrenner threw 15 2/3 innings of relief for the Comets and struck out 15 while walking only six batters and allowing them to hit just .185, cumulatively.

Utility: Brody Burton, Sophomore, Highland: Burton helped Highland (17-12) from his shortstop position when he wasn’t pitching. He reached base in exactly half of his 84 at-bats. He carried a .393 batting average and a .512 slugging percentage with six doubles and two triples.

He was first on the Huskies with 22 runs, 33 hits, 13 walks and 24 of 25 stolen bases. On the mound, he had one save and a 4-4 record in 44 1/3 innings pitched with 83 strikeouts to 20 walks for a miniscule 1.26 earned run average. Opponents batted .163 against him.

Utility: Brad Tornow, Sophomore, Mid-Prairie: Tornow led the Golden Hawks (12-16) to fourth place in the River Valley Conference South Division, a league that had its top two teams make the state tournament. Tornow led Mid-Prairie in at-bats (76), hits (23), triples (2), bases on balls (20), on-base percentage (.448), slugging percentage (.398) and batting average (.303).

He was second on the team in runs scored (16), RBI (11) and third in doubles (3) and stolen bases (10 of 11 attempts). Tornow also fashioned a 4-4 record in 10 starts and four appearances. He struck out 70 and walked 27 in 45 2/3 innings pitched with a 1.69 earned run average. opponents batted just .165 against him.

Utility: Wyatt Gatton, Senior, Cardinal: For pitchers, strikeout to walk ratio is a good predictor for success because it shows both your dominance and your ability to work the zone. Gatton had a K/W ratio of more than 9-1 with 66 and seven, respectively, over a team-high 52 2/3 innings.

Gatton showed poise, only hitting five of his 204 batters faced while allowing just 19 earned runs for a 2.53 ERA. The senior also hit .301 with team-high’s in doubles eight, RBI 28 and walks drawn 22 along with 26 stolen bases and an OBP of .463 and slugging percentage of .438.

The All-GTNS small school baseball team was selected by Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News, Doug Brenneman of the Washington Evening Journal and Justin Webster of the Fairfield Ledger.

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