(KMAland) -- Day 85 of blogging with no sports. This is the 79th consecutive blog and the 83rd during this period.
Less than a week. That’s the timeframe we have before we finally get to report on actual sports that are happening. Yesterday, I gave you the KMAland Softball Offensive Player of the Year Watch List. Today, it’s the KMAland Baseball Offensive Player of the Year Watch List.
As a reminder, schools eligible for this award are those from the Hawkeye Ten, Corner, Western Iowa, Pride of Iowa and Rolling Valley conferences plus Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Lamoni, Murray and Orient-Macksburg.
This list was compiled based on total hits from last year. My plan, as I did yesterday, was to go to the 40th-ranked player in hits and then continue with those that had the same number of hits. Instead, I looked down, and I was at 43 so I finished out that hit club. The list has 49 total. Here we go...
Stephen Ansong, Senior, Lamoni – This isn’t the last you will see of Lamoni on this list. The multi-sport star had a strong junior year with seven doubles and a triple among 36 total hits while driving in 28 and scoring 34. He hit .404/.500/.506 in a dominant offensive season for the Demons.
Kyle Berg, Senior, Kuemper Catholic – One of the best back stops in the area, and he can really swing the stick, too. Berg had 42 total hits last year, including 11 extra-base hits (six doubles, four triples, a home run). He drove in 20, scored 24 and finished with a .400/.454/.562 triple-slash.
Tyler Boothby, Junior, Underwood – Boothby is the first in a long line of Western Iowa Conference players on this list. He had eight doubles, three triples and 26 RBI last season, finishing with 34 total hits and a .3382/.481/.539 slugging percentage.
Connor Bruck, Senior, Harlan – Bruck was this close to winning our pitcher of the year award last season. He also had a fine offensive season in smacking 39 total hits with eight doubles and a home run. He drove in 32, scored 35 times and took 26 walks to post a .368/.511/.472 batting line.
Kasey Carter, Sophomore, Martensdale-St. Marys – Forewarning: There are going to be several MSTM names on this list. Carter had a nice freshman campaign with seven doubles among 42 total hits, driving in 29 and scoring 39 while hitting .393/.504/.458. This is the top-returning sophomore among our area conferences.
Cael Cassady, Junior, Martensdale-St. Marys – Cassady had 37 total hits with 34 of them going for singles and three for triples. He also had 26 RBI, scored 30 runs and had a solid .385/.469/.417 batting line for his sophomore summer.
Cole Cassady, Senior, Martensdale-St. Marys – The top-returning hitter in the Pride of Iowa Conference (in total hits), Cassady is an on-base savant. He had 45 hits, but he also had 26 walks and 22 HBP. That all led to a .581 on-base percentage, which went well with a .402 batting average and a .438 slugging mark.
Andrew Christensen, Senior, Abraham Lincoln – Christensen had seven doubles among his 33 total hits last season and drove in 25 runs while hitting .273/.321/.331. He figures to be a key two-way player for the Lynx this summer.
Easton Dermody, Senior, Lewis Central – Dermody is probably best known for his pitching, but he could swing the stick a bit, too. Last year, in his junior season, Dermody had seven doubles and a home run among 37 total hits while scoring 26 runs and hitting .319/.401/.405.
Carson Elbert, Junior, Martensdale-St. Marys – Another from the Blue Devils that had a big year last season. Elbert pounded out six doubles and five triples among 44 hits while driving in 35 and scoring 44. He also walked a ridiculous 31 times to finish with a .419/.549/.571 line.
Javin Evans, Sophomore, Lamoni – One of the top two players in the sophomore class when it comes to returning total hits. He had 39 total last year with seven going for doubles and one going for a triple. Evans hit .433/.474/.533 while driving in 26 runs and scoring 29 times.
Michel Evertsen, Senior, Central Decatur – He’ll play basketball and golf at the next level, but he can also hit it around the park. Evertsen had five doubles and a triple among 32 total hits, drove in 23, scored 28 and finished with a solid .360/.491/.438 batting line.
Alec Fichter, Junior, Missouri Valley – A strong season for Fichter during his sophomore year should lead into another solid summer this season. He had 37 total hits, including four doubles, and finished with 23 runs scored and 15 RBI while hitting .381/.466/.423.
Ben Fichter, Senior, Abraham Lincoln – Another Fichter checks in here for his senior season. He had 10 doubles, four triples and a home run among 36 total hits last season, scoring 34 times and driving in 17. In all, he put up a .330/.451/.523 triple-slash for a strong junior year.
Jack Franey, Junior, Martensdale-St. Marys – Another Blue Devil that had a big offensive season, Franey had 29 walks and 14 hit by pitches to help him to a .523 on-base percentage. That’s not all, though, as he also hit .343 with 37 total hits, including six doubles and a triple, and scored 52 runs with 29 RBI.
Ryan Genereux, Senior, St. Albert – Genereux had eight doubles and a home run last season, finishing the year with 39 total hits and 43 runs scored. He hit .348/.444/.446 and drove in 24 runs for the Falcons – another team quite prominent on this list.
Gavin Gillam, Senior, Creston – The Creston standout had a really nice season with 42 total hits, including eight doubles, four homers and a triple. He drove in 28 runs, scored 19 and finished the year with a .420/.517/.640 batting line.
Landon Gilliland, Junior, Lamoni – Gilliland led the entire state in batting average last season. The Lamoni backstop finished with 46 total hits, including 14 doubles and seven triples while driving in 36 and scoring 39. His .582/.664/.937 is some kind of sick.
Blake Hall, Junior, Underwood – The super-utility player is likely to play five or six positions this year. No matter where he goes, hits will follow. He had 39 total last season, including eight doubles, three triples and three home runs in posting a .411/.517/.653 batting line. He drove in 37 runs and scored 38 times.
Bryce Hall, Senior, Southeast Warren – Could a Southeast Warren athlete win this award for a second straight year? Colby Page did it last season. Now, Hall will look to continue his own success at the plate after smacking 41 total hits, including seven doubles, four home runs and a triple. He drove in 44, scored 38, walked 32 times and hit .451/.618/.681 for the year.
Will Halverson, Senior, Treynor – A top-of-the-order bat that got a little bit powerful last year with seven doubles, two triples and two home runs among 44 total hits. He also scored 47 runs, drove in 26, walked 16 times and leaned into one 15 times. It all added up to a .341/.463/.473 line.
Colton Hanlon, Senior, Logan-Magnolia – Hanlon had a breakthrough in his junior summer, finishing with 37 total hits, including three doubles and two home runs. He drove in 30 runs while hitting .394/.463/.489.
Braiden Heiden, Junior, Denison-Schleswig – Heiden burst on to the scene last year in his sophomore season in finishing with seven doubles and four triples among 32 total hits. He also walked 20 times, drove in 25 and scored 32 runs while finishing with a .360/.517/.528 batting line.
Jake Hugeback, Junior, Kuemper Catholic – Hugeback’s 34 hits led to a .309/.398/.345 triple-slash last season. He had two doubles and a triple while driving in 14 runs and scoring 17 times during a strong sophomore campaign.
Eli Loudon, Senior, Creston – Loudon had an outstanding two-way season of his own last year. He will look to finish it out in style after pounding out 38 total hits with 13 going for doubles, three for homers and two for triples. He drove in 25 and scored 32 runs in hitting .342/.438/.577.
Kristian Martens, Senior, Treynor – Martens is another that put together a big two-way season during his junior season. He had six doubles, three triples and a home run among 37 total hits while driving in 32 and scoring 23 runs. More than anything, though, the dude could take a walk. He had 39(!) walks and finished the season with a .389/.587/.547 batting line.
Nate McCombs, Senior, Treynor – McCombs figures to also be on the short list for Pitcher of the Year. And yeah, he can smack it around the yard, too. The southpaw had six doubles among 39 total hits, drove in 31 and scored 27 runs in finishing with a .364/.482/.421 triple-slash.
Jack Mendlik, Senior, Denison-Schleswig – Mendlik tied for the team lead with the aforementioned Heiden last year, finishing with 32 total hits. He had five doubles and a triple, walked 20 times and finished the year with a .320/.447/.390 batting line. He also drove in 20 and scored 29 runs.
Mason Menefee, Junior, Nodaway Valley – Menefee had 35 total hits last season, including three doubles, and scored 30 runs in putting together a strong .393/.455/.427 batting line for the Wolverines. Menefee also drove in 19 runs in 26 games in 2019.
Mason Merfeld, Junior, Southeast Warren – Merfeld was all over the basepaths last season in posting a .554 on-base percentage. He had 36 hits, 20 walks, six HBP and scored 35 runs while also driving in 24.
Grant Merk, Senior, Thomas Jefferson – Merk had a big year of his own at the plate and on the mound for the Yellow Jackets. He had 32 total hits, 14 walks and a .356/.448/.367 batting line during his junior season.
Joey Moser, Sophomore, Harlan – The speedy Harlan standout ranks among the area’s top three sophomores in hits returning. He had 37 of them, including 11 doubles, while driving in 20, walking 25 times and scoring 47 runs. He hit .349/.486/.453 for the year.
Cade Nelson, Sophomore, Southeast Warren – Nelson posted 32 total hits last season with three extra-base knocks (one double, one triple and one home run). He also drove in 26 runs, walked 28 times and scored 44 total runs. In all, it was worth a .360/.544/.427.
Kolby Nelson, Senior, CAM – This is the top-returning hitter in the Rolling Valley Conference as it pertains to total hits from a year ago. He had 38 of them in finishing with a .345/.424/.382 batting line. In all, 34 of his 38 hits were singles with the other four landing for doubles. He drove in 19 and scored 27 runs.
Cael Ogier, Junior, Lamoni – The Demons have some dudes. That’s pretty evident on this list. Ogier had 33 total hits and 21 walks last season, leading to a terrific .509 on-base percentage. He had four doubles, drove in 19 and scored 42 runs.
Cy Patterson, Junior, St. Albert – Patterson continued his terrific career last season with a big 43-hit campaign that included 17 doubles, three homers and two triples. He drove in 37, scored 34, took 22 walks and finished with a .500/.612/.849 line.
Drew Petersen, Senior, Treynor – Petersen is one of the aces of the Treynor pitching staff, but he can also help his own cause. Last year, he hit .330/.500/.447 for the Cardinals, pounding 12 doubles among 34 hits, walking 29 times and finishing with 26 RBI and 24 runs scored.
Jonah Pomrenke, Junior, Lewis Central – The top-returning hitter in the junior class and in the Hawkeye Ten Conference, Pomerenke had 50 knocks last year. Ten of those were doubles, two were homers and one was a triple. He also scored 41 runs, drove in 29 and posted a .417/.521/.567 hitting line.
Sam Porter, Senior, AHSTW – Porter had a big year of his own with 13 of his 32 total hits going for extra bases – nine doubles and four triples. The Vikings senior drove in 22 runs, scored 22 times and posted a .457/.545/.700 triple-slash.
Nick Ravlin, Senior, Underwood – Ravlin is the top-returning hitter (in total hits) in the senior class. The shortstop pounded out 47 hits last year, including 13 doubles and five triples to go with 44 runs scored and 22 RBI. He finished the season with a .443/.504/.660 triple-slash in leading the Eagles to the state tournament.
Parker Rock, Senior, Clarinda – Rock led the way for a young Clarinda team last year, hitting .368/.456/.448 for the season. He posted seven doubles among 32 total hits, drove in 16 and scored 21 runs.
Jaxon Schumacher, Freshman, Treynor – There wasn’t a freshman on the list yesterday, but Schumacher is actually the top-returning hitter (in terms of total hits) eligible for this award. He had 53 during his 8th grade summer, including 12 doubles, five triples and four home runs while driving in 46 and hitting .421/.469/.690.
Bryson Sharon, Senior, Lewis Central – There are an impressive number of seniors on this list, and Sharon is yet another that had a strong year for the Titans in the Hawkeye Ten. Sharon hit .419/.469/.523 with nine doubles among 36 total hits while driving in 15 and scoring 16 times.
Isaac Sherrill, Junior, St. Albert – A big breakout sophomore season for Sherrill leads him into this list. He had 15 doubles and four triples among 43 total knocks while driving in 36 and scoring 26 times. He hit .381/.432/.584 for the entire year.
Lane Spieker, Sophomore, CAM – Spieker is one of the top four hitters in the sophomore class, finishing with 35 total hits last year. Of those, eight of them were doubles and four were home runs as he hit .422/.559/.663 in a big summer. He also scored 37 runs and drove in 22.
Ryan Steinspring, Senior, Thomas Jefferson – Steinspring brings back the most hits in the city of Council Bluffs. The two-way standout had 37 total hits, including six doubles, three triples and two home runs while hitting .378/.474/.561.
Zach Teten, Senior, Underwood – Yet another from Underwood, as the pitcher/catcher makes an appearance for the Eagles. Teten had 11 doubles and a triple among his 36 hits last season, driving in 29 and finishing with a .356/.416/.485 batting line.
Tyler Vandewater, Senior, Nodaway Valley – Look at these numbers and tell me how they were only good for second-team All-POI: 11 doubles, three homers, two triples among 43 hits, 30 RBI, 30 runs scored and a .506/.570/.788 batting line. Come on, people. I understand there were some big-time catchers in the POI, but you can find room for those numbers.
Lance Wright, Senior, St. Albert – The Iowa Central commit had a really nice junior season and will look to cap a great career this summer. He had 39 total hits last season with nine doubles, five triples and two home runs. He drove in 34 runs, scored 43 times and had 41 free passes (22 walks, 19 HBP). That all adds up to a .371/.541/.610 batting line.
If I counted correctly, that's a 49-person list with 28 seniors, 15 juniors, five sophomores and a freshman. It also includes 16 from the Hawkeye Ten, 12 from the WIC, 11 from the POI, four each from the Missouri River and Bluegrass and two from the Rolling Valley.
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