The two winningest prep baseball teams in the area, Minooka and Morris, own over half of the spots on the 25-man 2013 Morris Daily Herald All-Area Baseball Team.
A 23-9 Minooka team earned the highest number of selections with seven, though 27-6 Morris had Player of the Year Jake Capko among its six players chosen.
Coal City, Gardner-South Wilmington and Seneca each had four players named to the team.
Preston Miracle, Morris
Senior Pitcher/Designated Hitter
The Redskins’ leader in ERA at 1.35, strikeouts with 67, innings pitched with 51 2/3 and starts with nine, Miracle won six of his seven decisions. He allowed just 31 hits, holding opposing hitters to a .171 batting average, and walked 35. A co-captain, Miracle also hit .358 with seven doubles, two triples, 22 RBI and 25 runs and was an All-Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East selection.
“Preston was an impact player for us both offensively and on the mound,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “He spent most of the year in the cleanup spot, and he was feared by many other teams. He’s the type of player who just finds ways to get it done, which is exactly what he did for us all year long.”
Josh Mitchell, Minooka
A 68-to-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio allowed Mitchell to go 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA and a save in 49 2/3 innings for the Indians. He had a WHIP of 1.35 and allowed 39 hits.
“Josh Mitchell is a guy that we counted on a lot. He was a huge part of our team,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “He came through with a nice season.”
Mike Goodwin, GSW
Goodwin went 8-5 with a 1.90 ERA and an 82-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 88 innings as he won team MVP honors and was first-team All-Conference in the River Valley. Also a first and third baseman, Goodwin was a .384 hitter with a .494 on-base percentage, six doubles, a home run, 17 RBI and 11 runs.
“Mike has been the workhorse of the staff, pitched against top competition every outing, has an impressive ERA, stays focused and is a dedicated, hard-working player,” GSW coach Todd Grieff said. “Awesome year and awesome kid.”
Brent Bergeson, Seneca
The Aurora-bound Bergeson won Seneca’s Ace award and made the Interstate Eight Conference All-Star Game. He had a 2-6 record but a 2.66 ERA, striking out 53 in 44 2/3 innings pitched. He also hit .210 with three home runs in 76 at-bats.
“Brent pitched against our toughest competition and was a workhorse,” Seneca coach Kirk Houchin said. “He did not always get the run production to win those games, so his record is not indicative of how he pitched. Brent pitched a great game versus Somonauk in the first round of the regionals, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth.”
Brian Henry, Morris
The Illinois Wesleyan-bound Henry was named the Pitcher of the Year for Morris after winning a team-high seven games against just one loss and having a 1.56 ERA. He allowed 30 hits and walked 14 in 40 1/3 innings while striking out 43, earning him All-Conference honors in the NIB12 East.
“Even though he missed part of the season due to injury, he still put up very good numbers,” Kein said.
Nate Chapman, Coal City
A 4-2 season gave Chapman a 10-2 career varsity record. This season, he also had a 3.29 ERA in 34 innings, striking out 25. Chapman batted .194 in 36 at-bats, hitting three doubles and totaling eight RBI.
Trevor Maly, Minooka
Appearing in an area-high 17 games as a pitcher, Maly had an area-low 1.13 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He won all five of his decisions and had two saves, with a 28-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31 innings.
“As a coach, one of the nice intangible things is being able, late in the game, to have a pitcher you can turn to,” Petrovic said.
Jake Capko, Morris
The 2013 Morris Daily Herald All-Area and Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East Player of the Year led the area with a .579 OBP and 36 walks. He batted .407, slugged .535, hit five doubles and two home runs and drove in 23 runs.
“Jake was one of our anchors in the field this year. He was voted a team captain and served that role well all season,” Kein said. “He put up some really good numbers; I’m not sure if there’s anybody who works harder at consistently getting better.”
Kaidon Hibler, GSW
Leadership and catching skills earned Hibler the GSW award, and he was also first-team All-RVC. He hit .256 with a .326 OBP, eight RBI and eight runs and pitched 28 innings, going 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 23 strikeouts to 10 walks.
“It has been a privilege to see Kaiden catch,” Grieff said. “He blocks everything, throws to both first and third attempting to pick off runners with no errors, threw out 14 of 21 and calls a great game,” Grieff said. “He’s a good pitcher with limited starts because I needed him behind the plate.”
Max Brozovich, Minooka
Senior First Baseman
The area leader in batting average at .431, slugging percentage at .647, OPS at 1.116 and doubles with 11, Brozovich totaled 33 RBI for the Indians. He slugged three home runs and scored 27 runs.
“Max Brozovich is one of the best hitters I’ve ever coached,” Petrovic said. “You couldn’t get the kid out easily. He had a bunch of hard-hit balls that ended up as outs; otherwise he might have hit a hundred points higher.”
Cody Harvey, GSW
Senior First Baseman/Pitcher
A second-team All-RVC selection, Harvey was a captain and won GSW’s Scoop award for saving bad throws at first base. He hit .291 with a .391 OBP, scoring 18 runs, and was 1-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 26 innings.
“Cody is Mr. Clutch, with big hits when we needed them and two games won on his hits,” Grieff said. “Cody became our leadoff hitter mid-season because of his ability to get on base along with his aggressive baserunning. Cody is my most improved pitcher and I wish I could of worked with him for more than one year.”
Trent Nugent, Seneca
Senior Second Baseman
With a .392 average, Nugent was the batting champ for the Fighting Irish. He had a total of 40 hits, with at least one in 25 of his 32 games. Nugent also drew 12 walks, scored 22 runs and was selected for the I-8 All-Star game.
“Trent was a pure hitter who had four three-hit games. ... Only one time did he go two games in a row without a hit,” Houchin said. “His defense at second base was excellent.”
D.J. Budde, Coal City
Sophomore Second Baseman/Catcher
Budde hit .353 in 68 at-bats, drawing team-high 22 walks while being hit by five pitches. He hit four doubles, scored 17 runs and added 16 RBI.
Matt Bernickus, Morris
Junior Second Baseman
A batting average over .400 in NIB12 East play helped Bernickus earn a spot on the All-Conference team. Overall, he hit .378, scored 25 times and had 16 RBI.
“Matt is a bulldog. You have to love how he plays the game. He has natural baseball instincts, and when you watch him play, that’s pretty easy to realize,” Kein said. “Not only was he solid at second for us, but offensively he was a guy who many time either got things going for us or kept innings alive.”
Neil Tyrell, Minooka
Minooka received a .385 batting average, a .438 OBP and an area-high 36 runs scored from Tyrell atop its lineup. He also totaled eight doubles, two home runs and 18 RBI.
“Neal Tyrell, he was our leadoff hitter. He did a great job of getting us going,” Petrovic said. “He is smart, a great kid and a hard worker.”
Trevor Lines, Morris
The Morris leader in runs scored with 34 and stolen bases with six, Lines worked his way up to the top of the lineup by hitting .405 on the season. He hit six doubles, had 20 RBI and was All-Conference in the NIB12 East. Lines won all three of his decisions on the mound, recording a 1.75 ERA in 16 innings.
“Trevor made key plays for us all year long, but one question we had coming into the season involved how productive he was going to be for us offensively,” Kein said. “He caught fire from the start and consistently put the ball in play all season. Hitting over .400 as a junior is quite an accomplishment.”
Chris Lardi, GSW
Senior Shortstop/Second Baseman
A .274 batting average, a .346 OBP, 17 runs and 13 RBI were enough to land Lardi on the second All-RVC team. He went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run his final game, the Class 1A GSW Regional championship.
“Chris came on strong at the middle of the season and had several game-saving plays at second base and a handful of key hits in key situations,” Grieff said. “Chris covers a lot of area in the field and played a solid second base for us.”
Joe Carnagio, Minooka
Senior Third Baseman
The Indians’ home run leader with four, Carnagio batted .333 with a .392 OBP and a .519 slugging percentage. He had eight doubles, 20 RBI and 30 runs.
Tyler Desmairais, Minooka
Junior Outfielder/Designated Hitter
Desmairais batted .385 with a .484 OBP and a 1.010 OPS for the Indians. He hit six doubles, a triple and a home run, had 17 RBI and scored 25 times.
“Every year it seems as a coach you have one surprise player, and this year, Tyler may have been the guy that surprised us,” Petrovic said. “I knew he was going to hit, but he was a kid who ended up growing into a bigger role than we may have expected. He ended up hitting second and doing a nice job there for us.”
Grant Davis, Morris
Voted Morris’ Most Valuable Player by his teammates, Davis had a team-high 33 RBI and tied for the team lead with two home runs while batting .345 and getting on base at a .447 clip. The co-captain was All-Conference in the NIB12 East and will play baseball at Concordia.
“I have never coached a player that has been as clutch as Grant. He got timely hits and game-winning hits for us all season,” Kein said. “The most underrated aspect of his game is his defensive ability. Great arm in the outfield and a solid fundamental player all around.
Brian Bergeson, Seneca
Bergeson was named Seneca’s MVP and All-Conference in the I-8 for a second straight season while also playing in the I-8 All-Star game. He hit .337 with five doubles, an area-high eight home runs and 39 RBI. Bergeson also made nine appearances as a pitcher, going 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA but compiling a 20-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
“He was awarded a gold glove award for his outfield defense this season,” Houchin said.
Nate Natyshok, Coal City
Four triples in one game earned Natyshok an IHSA state record. He batted .367 to lead the Coalers with a home run, 14 RBI, 26 runs, 11 walks and seven stolen bases and was All-Conference in the I-8 for a second time.
“Always gives a hundred percent,” Coal City coach Jerry McDowell said. “A great work ethic.”
Austin McLuckie, Coal City
After stealing 15 bases in 17 attempts this season, McLuckie finished with 43 for his career, ranking second in Coalers history. He made a third straight I-8 All-Conference team by hitting .289 with 23 runs and pitching 38 innings, striking out 19 while going 1-6 with a save and a 4.98 ERA.
“Loves to play the game,” McDowell said. “Has saved many games with his defensive play in center field.”
Steve Wittkamp, Minooka
Wittkamp batted .356 with a .444 OBP and a .989 OPS. He also gave the Indians four doubles, two triples, three home runs, 24 RBI and 23 runs.
Logan Pifer, Seneca
An All-Conference pick in the I-8 and I-8 All-Star game participant, Pifer hit .365, drew 13 walks and stole 22 bases this season. He scored 34 runs and will play baseball at Illinois Valley Community College next year.
COAL CITY — Freshman pitcher Brad Littleton, who had a 1-3 record but an ERA of 2.00 in 35 innings, striking out 32. MORRIS — Junior pitcher Nick Evola, who had a 33-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a 4-2 record and a 3.15 ERA. “Nick is the rising star of our pitching staff,” Kein said. ... Junior pitcher Tim Smyk, who was 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings before his season was cut short by injury. SENECA — Senior infielder Daniel Hamilton, an I-8 All-Star and Gold Glove winner who hit .313 with nine doubles, 19 RBI and 15 walks. ... Senior outfielder and pitcher Ryan Schuetz, who will play baseball at Illinois Valley Community College and was an I-8 All-Star after hitting .278 with 10 stolen base and going 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. “Ryan came on strong as one of our top pitchers at the end of the season,” Houchin said.