Baseball & Softball

(KMAland) -- Today is the 94th consecutive blog and the 98th in the last 100 days.

The brand new QuikStats has some neat features. Overall, it is better than the original version. You can do more things, and the navigating is a little quicker and easier. There are a few small details that bug me, but they’re few and they’re small.

The one thing that I quite enjoy is when you first click on the sport you’re looking for. Like, if you click softball or baseball it will immediately pull up the state leaders in all kinds of different categories. Today, I did that, and I saw some names that I recognized. Here are 10 stats that you should know about through eight dates of the softball and baseball season.

1 – Mount Ayr sophomore Halsie Barnes is currently hitting .800. Barnes had a really nice season in the middle of the Raiderettes order last year, but I could tell the smooth-swinging lefty had some bigger seasons ahead of her. With four of her five games reported to QuikStats, Barnes has done some serious damage.

In just 13 plate appearances, Barnes has eight hits and three walks. She’s 8-for-10 with seven singles and a double and driven in four runs while triple-slashing a cool .800/.846/.900. That’s the fourth-highest batting average in the entire state. Pretty, pretty good.

2 – Griswold senior Derek Mueller leads the state in batting average. The senior multi-sport standout is a soft-spoken dude, but he sure can mash. His .875 batting average is currently the top number in the entire state.

Sure, it’s just through three games, but it’s worth talking about. He has had eight at bats and left the batter’s box with a satisfying feeling seven of those times. Included in his seven hits are two doubles and two triples. His triple-slash is a fun and ridiculous .875/.889/1.625. Oh, that 1.625 slugging percentage also leads the state.

3 – Nodaway Valley’s Reagan Weinheimer, Stanton’s Tara Peterson and Twin Cedars’ Rylee Dunkin have all stolen 13 bases. Only two players in the entire state have stolen more bases than these three, and for the sake of full disclosure they are named Alexis Houge (Collins-Maxwell) and Olivia VonBank (North Union).

Weinheimer was actually caught stealing last night in the game that I covered. I think she was safe, though. So, she probably should have 14 steals. Regardless, she’s on the lucky number 13 along with Peterson and Dunkin, who have done it in 13 and 14 attempts. Weinheimer has played in nine games while Dunkin has done it in eight and Peterson has done it in six. So, Peterson is averaging over two steals per game. Pretty good, I’d say.

4 – East Mills senior and the reigning Jim Hughes Real Estate KMAland Athlete of the Week Nic Duysen leads the state with 16 RBI. He’s actually tied for the lead with someone named Gabe Swansen from Johnston, but who knew Johnston had a baseball program anyway? (Relax, I’m kidding.)

Duysen has driven in his 16 runs in 17 at bats, which amounts to a pretty solid ratio. He has 10 hits, including five doubles, a triple and a home run and accumulated 20 total bases. His triple-slash of .588/.650/1.176 is some kind of something.

5 – Exira/EHK sophomore Macy Emgarten is tied for the state lead with six pitching wins. But I have a secret. She actually has seven wins! Last night, the Spartans won their seventh game in seven tries in an 11-1 triumph over Glidden-Ralston, and I’m going to make a very large bet on her having pitched that game. It just hasn’t been updated in QuikStats yet.

So, maybe I should say that she leads the state all on her lonesome with seven wins. We also don’t know for sure if that’s true, though, because the other girls that have the six wins may have picked up No. 7 last night, and it hasn’t been logged in QuikStats either. You see what we’re dealing with here?

In any event, through those six games, Emgarten had thrown 35 innings, struck out 59, walked just 10 and put together a miniscule 0.80 ERA.

6 – AHSTW senior Clayton Akers has not allowed an earned run yet this season. Sure, he’s pitched just seven innings, but he’s appeared in two games, faced a pair of different lineups and given up….nothing. The interesting note about this is that he has allowed 15 baserunners in those seven innings.

What we have here in Akers is someone that has been in a little bit of trouble at times, but he’s “bowed his neck” and come through with plenty of clutch pitches for the Vikings. I wouldn’t recommend this the rest of the way, but the dude has been making it work.

7 – Wayne sophomore pitcher Sterling Berndt is the runaway leader in strikeouts so far this season. Berndt – pronounced “bent” – has pitched in all eight of the Falcons’ games this season, accumulating 84 strikeouts and just six – six! – walks in 44 innings.

Last night, in a nice win over Central Decatur, she was downright unhittable in picking up 17 strikeouts during a complete game shutout win. It’s hardly surprising that she is doing these things since we have watched her from afar the last two years, but it’s still worth noting. She’s real, real, real good.

8 – Underwood senior Nick Ravlin, Thomas Jefferson senior Grant Merk, the aforementioned Duysen, Martensdale-St. Marys junior Carson Elbert and St. Albert junior Cy Patterson are all hitting doubles at a rate among the best in the entire state. Ravlin has six doubles – tied for second in the state – in seven total games and in 27 plate appearances. So, roughly 22.2% of the time he has come to the plate so far this year, Ravlin has smacked a double.

Merk, meanwhile, has five doubles in four games played. He’s done it in 16 plate appearances, which is an even higher rate than Ravlin (31.3% of the time). Duysen has five doubles in 20 plate appearances (25%), Elbert has five in 31 (16.1%) and Patterson has five in 23 (21.7%). Lots of doubles by these guys.

9 – CAM senior Grace Kauffman has hit three triples already this season. That’s the second-highest total in the state – behind WDM Valley’s Alex Honnold, who is going to play softball at Missouri next year. There’s a few others that are tied with Kauffman, but she’s the area leader in the category.

Kauffman’s three triples have been joined by six singles, and she’s hitting .500/.474/.833. Now, how do you get a higher batting average than an on-base percentage? You hit a sacrifice fly. That’s what. But anyway, the triples. Those are pretty good, huh?

10 – Martensdale-St. Marys senior Cole Cassady leads the state in hit by pitches. And you know what else? He has also been beaned more than anybody else in the history of high school baseball….IN THE NATION!!!!

Cassady, who you might remember as the mustachioed wrestling savant for the Blue Devils, has already been hit 11 times that he’s come to the plate. This is an insane number to me. We have had EIGHT baseball dates, folks, and Cole Cassady has been hit by a pitch 11 times.

Cole Cassady has come to the plate a total of 34 times, and that silly son of a gun has been hit 11 times. ELEVEN! Seriously, nearly ONE-THIRD of the time that Cole Cassady has stepped into the batter’s box, he has been hit by a pitch. Craig Biggio is the modern leader in MLB history with 285 HBPs. That’s in 12,504 plate appearances. So, roughly 2.3% of his plate appearances ended with a plunk.

Dear Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, you are nothing compared with Cole Cassady. Signed, your friendly neighborhood blogger.

Send any questions, comments and/or concerns to dmartin@kmaland.com.

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