It was another banner year on the diamond. All five county teams qualified for the state playoffs, with Whitewater and Starr’s Mill getting out of the opening round and the Panthers advancing to the Elite Eight.
Leading the charge were a trio of tremendous individual performances.
Kaden Brown of Sandy Creek is the Player of the Year. Brown tore the cover off the ball for the Patriots, hitting .596 with 9 home runs and 42 RBIs.
Bo Walker of Starr’s Mill is the Hitter of the Year. Walker was a five-tool talent, sparking the Panthers to a berth in the quarterfinals while hitting .416 with 3 home runs and a .511 on-base percentage.
Garrett Arrington of Whitewater is the Pitcher of the Year. Arrington compiled a 5-0 record with sparkling 0.63 ERA with 35 strikeouts and just 7 walks over 33 innings.
The All-County First Team starts off behind the dish with Tate Morris of McIntosh. The Chiefs catcher hit .455 with 2 home runs and 16 RBIs.
The infield is composed of Fayette County’s Dee King, McIntosh’s Trey King, and Sandy Creek’s Jonathan Little and Chance Izzo. Dee King hit .429 with 29 RBIs. Trey King hit .293 with 1 home run and 6 RBIs. Little hit .413 with 4 home runs. Izzo hit .493 with 1 home run, and 35 RBIs.
The outfield is made up of Fayette County’s Keion Bryant, Sandy Creek’s Kaleb Cost, and Whitewater’s Dexter Benoit. Bryant hit .539 with 2 home runs, 18 RBIs, and 52 stolen bases. Cost hit .533 with 3 home runs and 32 hits. Benoit hit .317 with 11 RBIs.
The designated hitter is Starr’s Mill’s Alex Ukleja. Ukleja hit .313 with 1 home run and 6 doubles.
The pitchers are McIntosh’s Owen Thomas, Sandy Creek’s Hunter Maddox, Starr’s Mill’s Jack Ryan, and Whitewater’s Shawn Sower. Thomas posted a 4-3 record with a 2.66 ERA and 78 strikeouts over 44 innings. Maddox notched a 2.82 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 32 innings. Ryan tallied a 4-0 record with 3 saves and a 3.28 ERA. Sower put up a 5-0 record with a 1.12 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Rounding out the team are multi-position players Sean Bailey of McIntosh, PJ Green of Sandy Creek, and Fayette County’s Jack Brady and Erick Rivera. Bailey manned both corners of the infield while hitting .439 with 1 home run and 10 RBIs. Green was a stellar outfielder who hit .471 with 3 home runs and 28 RBIs, and he notched a 2.40 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 14 innings as a pitcher. Brady played catcher, infield, and pitcher, hitting .383 with 29 RBIs and posting a 3.68 ERA in 19 innings. Rivera, an infielder and pitcher, hit .346 with 2 home runs and 25 RBIs, adding a 4.04 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.
The All-County Second Team opens up with catcher Blake Elsenpeter of Whitewater. Elsenpeter hit .258 with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs.
The infield is composed of Starr’s Mill’s Ben Moseley and Austin Sellers and Whitewater’s Ty Ellington and Landon Moran. Moseley hit .277 with a .434 on-base percentage. Sellers hit .254 with 1 home run and 5 doubles. Ellington hit .366 with 1 home run and 11 RBIs. Moran hit .310 with 13 RBIs.
The outfield is made up of McIntosh’s Joe Glozer, Starr’s Mill’s Heath Whitlock, and Whitewater’s Logan Griffith. Glozier hit .309 with 7 RBIs. Whitlock hit .277 with 1 home run and 5 doubles. Griffith hit .303 with 5 RBIs.
The designated hitter is Braxon Mueller of Whitewater. Mueller hit .283 with 13 RBIs.
The pitchers are McIntosh’s John Peters and Whitewater’s Noah Smith. Peters posted a 4-3 record with 1 save and a 4.23 ERA in 43 innings. Smith notched a 0.58 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Rounding out the team are multi-position players Connor Soper of McIntosh, Xavier Campbell of Whitewater, and Fayette County’s Seth Wash and Alex Thompson. Soper, a utility piece, hit .268 with 14 RBIs and 15 hits. Campbell, an infielder and pitcher, hit .259 with 7 RBIs and posted a 3.80 ERA in 16 innings. Wash, an outfielder and pitcher, hit .315 with 27 RBIs, along with a 4.16 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 38 innings. Thompson, a catcher and pitcher, hit .296 with 1 home run and 34 RBIs and tallied a 3.42 ERA in 28 innings pitched.
Honorable Mentions are Blake Hiley, Jaiden Jones, and Luke Meszar of McIntosh, Evan Harrah and Ariston Veasey of Starr’s Mill, and Jake Carter and Dalton Bonner of Whitewater.