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2018 Tribune All-Area Baseball Team

It seemed to take forever for the winter season to end and the prep baseball season to begin. But once the boys got outdoors, they provided area fans with some of the best ball they've seen in some time.

Willmar (14-8) and Paynesville (19-6) both won section championships and advanced to the Minnesota State Baseball Tournament, Willmar for the first time since 1987.

BOLD had the most bittersweet season of any area team. The powerful Warriors blew by opponents all season and posted a 19-2 mark. But both those losses came in the playoffs to Class A state runner-up Sleepy Eye, the second time in the Section 2A finals.

KMS finished 20-4 and reached the Section 3A finals before bowing out to Wabasso, which placed fifth in the Class A state tourney.

Litchfield ended the spring 16-10 with four of those wins coming in the postseason, and Minnewaska (16-8) also posted 16 wins, with two of them coming in the playoffs.

And Lac qui Parle Valley (15-9) once again played deep into the Section 3A playoffs, winning four postseason games before losing to KMS in the section semifinals.

Those teams needed some pretty heady talent to achieve those successes, and the cream of that talent is found on the First Team of the West Central Tribune's 2018 All-Area Baseball Team.

Rarely have so many players on the All-Area Honorable Mention team put up the kind of numbers that, in other years, would have easily earned them spots on the First Team. The First Team standards this year are that high.

All-Area First Team

Owen Boerema

Litchfield, Jr., P/CF

Boerema put together the kind of season, on the mound and at bat, that few others have managed, this or any year. Boerema ended the season still carrying a 26-game hitting streak, which, according to state records, ranks No. 3 in state history. He his .472 with a .510 OBP, a .562 slugging percentage and a 1.072 OPS. He had 17 RBIs, scored 21 runs, had 6 doubles and a triple. On the mound, he worked 58.1 innings and posted a 7-2 record. He had a 0.72 ERA and a 0.789 WHIP while striking out 88. In his final outing, he fired a two-hit shutout, striking out 10 and walking just one. Boerema set the team record for hits in a season (42) and found his way into the program's top 10 in several single-season hitting and pitching categories.

Caleb Ditmarson

Willmar, Sr., 3B/P

While he was solid all season, Ditmarson performed his best in the playoffs as the Cards won four games and the Section 6AAA championship, the Cards' first section crown since 1987. For the season, Ditmarson hit .333 with a pair of doubles, a home run, 14 RBIs and 11 runs scored. On the mound, he worked 39 innings over seven starts and four relief appearances. He was 3-3 with 4 saves, a 1.62 ERA and he struck out 41 batters. In the playoffs, he got a save in the playoff opener, and a week later he fired a one-hitter and struck out nine in a 3-0 win over Waconia in the all-important section winners bracket final. He had a hit and drove in a run in Willmar's state-clinching 3-2 win over Benilde-St. Margaret's. At state, he took a tough loss in Alexandria's 2-1 victory in the quarterfinals. In the playoffs, he had seven hits and drove in five runs.

Jon Broman

Willmar, Sr., SS

Another stalwart, offensively and defensively for the Cardinals this season, and he's been one of the area's top shortstops in recent years. During the Cards' magical 2018 season, Broman hit .333 with a .403 on-base percentage. But while he regularly reached base, Broman also had some pop in his bat, was evident in a 1.055 OPS. His 23 hits, included six doubles, five triples, two home runs and he drove in 17 runs. Broman also scored 17 runs and stole eight bases. Broman had a couple of hits in Willmar's three state tournament games. "Jon is a great all-around player," said Willmar head coach Tom DeBoer. "His production at the plate has been outstanding while playing in one of the toughest conferences in the state."

James Woelfel

BOLD, Sr., C/P

Warriors head coach Brian Kingery said Woelfel's 2018 season goes down as one of the area's best ever. Woelfel Hit .547 with a .627 OBP, slugged .906 and had a 1.533 OPS. He had 29 hits in 53 at bats, hit nine doubles, two triples, two home runs, drove in 25 runs and scored 22 runs. On the mound, Woelfel was 6-0 in 37.1 innings, allowing just one earned run and only three runs overall. He struck out 58 and finished with a 0.19 ERA. He was equally effective behind the plate, throwing out seven of 10 base stealers and not committing an error. The Warriors were 37-4 with Woelfel leading them the last two seasons. "James has been the heart and soul of the Warriors," Kingery said. "He is one of the top hitters in the area, the top pitcher and the best catcher. He had a phenomenal year."

Jordan Sagedahl

BOLD, So., SS/C/P

If Woelfel is the face of BOLD's most recent success, Sagedahl could be the future. He's very much a part of the now. As a sophomore this season, Sagedahl hit .431 with a .522 OBP, a .655 slugging percentage and a 1.177 OPS. He hadad 25 hits, including eight doubles, a triple, a home run, 16 RBIs and he scored 24 runs while stealing 10 bases. On the mound, he was 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. "Jordan is a sophomore phenom who can play every position at a high level," BOLD head coach Brian Kingery said. "Offensively, he had a great year He has the ability to hit the ball to all fields. Jordan is a very good ballplayer."

Dylan Rudningen

KMS, Jr., OF/P

Rudningen has worked his way into being the offensive leader of a Saints team that has won Camden Conference titles in 2016 and 2018. Rudningen hit .358 with a .539 OBP and a 1.087 OPS. He had 5 doubles, a triple, a home run, 18 RBIs, 25 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. He was equally lethal on the mound, he was 5-0 with a save, a 2.28 ERA and he almost averaged two strikeouts per inning, with 55 Ks in 27.2 innings. "Dylan has blossomed into our leading offensive player," said KMS head coach James Cortez, noting that Rudningen led the team in OPS, runs scored and stolen bases. "He's an aggressive kid who loves to get dirty on the field."

Matthew Gruber

Minnewaska, Sr., SS/P

Gruber has committed to play at Augustana, the 2018 NCAA Division II national champion. Joining a squad like that requires not only skill but confidence, and Gruber has both. He hit .317 with a .476 OBP and a 1.063 OPS this season, and he had 6 doubles, 4 triples, a home run, 20 RBIs and 21 runs scored. On the mound, he was 7-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 49.2 innings. "Matthew is a talented and gifted athlete, said Minnewaska head coach Brian Gruber. "His power and speed make him a very special player. He has the ability to hit for average and power to all fields."

Peyton Mortenson

LQPV, Sr., P/2B

Mortenson is a prime example that, through dedication, a player doesn't need to wait long for results. He improved from 2 extra base hits last year to nine this year, including 4 home runs, 4 doubles and a triple. He hit .333 with a .465 OBP and he finished with 18 RBIs and he scored 29 runs. He also was the Eagles' workhorse on the mound, logging 46 innings and posting a 6-1 record with a 2.73 ERA. "Peyton is just a tremendous competitor and really improved his defense this year," said Lac qui Parle Valley head coach Bart Hill. "Through his hard work in the weight room, he also made a huge jump is his power hitting.

Grant Ludwig

Paynesville, Sr., 3B/P

He was Paynesville's top hitter, a key defensive player at third base and a top arm on the mound for a team that won a Section 3A championship. Entering the Class AA state tournament, he was hitting .391 with 25 hits in 23 games. He also drove in 13 runs. On the mound, he worked 43 innings—second on the team—and he posted a 4-2 record and a 1.68 ERA with 32 strikeouts.

All-Area Honorable Mention

Kobe Holtz

ACGC, Sr., P/OF

He hit .333 with 10 of his 19 hits being doubles. Led the Falcons with 12 RBIs and had a .509 slugging percentage. He has a strong outfield arm and, while arm troubles limited his pitching, he finished with a 1-2 record and 2.19 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. Allowed just nine hits and a .114 opponents' batting average.

Josh Kingery

ACGC, Fr. P/OF

He hit .340 and was second on Falcons in RBIs (9) and doubles (5). He had just 3 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances, scored 8 runs and was 6-for-7 stealing bases. He was 1-1 with a save, a 1.85 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.

David Kingery

ACGC, Sr., SS/P

He hit .288, led the team in runs scored (14) and stolen bases (10). His 17 hits were second on the team. He had a 2-3 record, a 1.35 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 26 innings. He had 15 strikeouts in one game and threw a 1-hitter with 8 strikeouts in another victory.

Jackson Peter

BBE, So., P/OF/C

He hit .408 with a .482 OBP, he slugged .592 and had a 1.074 OPS. He drove in 22 runs and scored 21 runs, he had seven doubles and 3 triples. He also logged 26 innings on the mound, posting a 3-3 record with 3 saves, 23 strikeouts and a 2.69 ERA.

Adam Jaeger

BBE, Sr., P/C

He hit .286 with a .444 OBP, slugged .386 and had a .830 OPS. He drove in 7 runs and scored 26 runs. On the mound, he worked 36 innings with a 6-2 record, a 2.72 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP and 42 strikeouts.

Luke Ryan

BOLD, Jr., CF

Hit .450 with a .521 OBP, he slugged .633 and finished with a 1.154 OPS. He had 27 hits with five doubles, three triples, scored 29 runs and drove in 12 while also stealing 25 bases. Didn't commit an error in centerfield.

Hayden Tersteeg

BOLD, Jr., P/SS

Hit .385 with a .459 OBP, a .596 slugging percentage and a 1.055 OPS. He had 20 hits, including six doubles, a triple and a home run, and he scored 17 runs, drove in 14 and stole 7 bases. On the mound, he was 5-0 in 31.1 innings, striking out 28 and posting an 0.89 ERA.

Riley Weis

BOLD, Jr., 1B/DH

Hit .386 with a .420 OBP, slugged .568 and had a .988 OPS. He had 17 hits, including 8 doubles. He scored 8 runs and drove in 13. He picked up a win in 3 innings pitched, striking out two and allowing no runs.

Jack Peppel

BOLD, Sr., 1B

Hit .296 with a .400 OBP, he slugged .512 and had an OPS of .919. Among his 16 hits, he had 2 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs. He drove in 12 runs, scored 15 runs and stole 5 bases.

Caleb Collins

KMS, Sr., C/P

Hit .323 with a .430 OBP and a .785 OPS. He had 2 doubles, scored 19 runs and had 23 RBIs. In 12.1 innings on the mound, he had a 1-1 record and a 2.27 ERA, striking out 14. He also had a .982 fielding percentage in 166 chances at catcher.

Ryan Torkelson

KMS, Sr., 2B/P

Hit .302 with a .380 OBP and a .729 OPS. He had 3 doubles, drove in 15 runs and scored 13 runs. In 20 innings pitched, he posted a 4-0 mark with a 1.05 ERA and 16 strikeouts.

Brandon Rasmusson

KMS, Sr., CF/P

He had a 5-0 pitching record with 29 strikeouts in 27.1 innings and a 2.05 ERA. He hit .245 with a .464 OBP and an .811 OPS. He hit 2 triples, a double, drove in 11 runs, scored 11 runs and stole six bases.

Regan Carlson

KMS, Jr., OF/P

Hit .373 with a .486 OBP and a .910 OPS. He had 3 doubles, 16 RBIs, he scored 19 runs and stole 4 bases. On the mound, he was 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 23 innings.

Weston Gjerde

KMS, Jr., SS/P

He hit .357 with a .493 OBP and an .886 OPS. He had 2 doubles, 10 RBIs, 21 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. On the mound, he was 1-0 with 2 saves and a 3.05 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.

Braiden Kittelson

LQPV, Sr., 3B/P

He hit .362 with a .474 OBP, he hit 6 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, and he had 23 RBIs and scored 23 runs. On the mound, he worked 14.1 innings, posted 2 wins and a 2.44 ERA.

Evan Benson

LQPV, Sr., C/P

He hit .342 with 5 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs and he had a .489 OBP. He also was 19-for-20 on steals. On the mound, he worked 20.2 innings, had 21 strikeouts and posted a 3.38 ERA.

Korbin Kells

LQPV, Sr.,

He hit .365 with a team-high 26 RBIs and he had a .402 OBP. He had 7 doubles and scored 17 runs while stealing 10 bases in 12 attempts.

Andrew Loch

Litchfield, Sr., SS/P

He hit .356 with a .400 OBP, he slugged .456 and had an .856 OPS. He had 15 RBIs and scored 25 runs. On the mound, he was 2-4 with a 3.93 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

Afton Kaping

Litchfield, Sr. IF/P

He hit .419 with a .463 OBP, slugged .527 and had a .990 OPS. He finished with 16 RBIs, he scored 15 runs and had 8 doubles. In 32 innings pitched, he was 2-3 with a save, a 3.19 ERA and 17 strikeouts.

Ezra Kaping

Litchfield, Sr., IF/P

He hit .325 with a .354 OBP, he slugged .377 and had a .730 OPS. He drove in 11 runs and scored 12 runs. In 11.2 innings, he had a save and 7 strikeouts.

Ryan Christianson

Minnewaska, Sr., OF/P

He hit .319 with a .437 OBP and a .895 OPS. He had 4 doubles, 3 triples, 12 RBIs and 26 runs scored. On the mound, he was 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19.1 innings.

Noah Buseman

Montevideo, Jr., 3B/SS/P

He hit .523 with a .623 OBP. He scored 8 runs, drove in 8 runs, hit 6 doubles and 3 triples. He had a .987 fielding percentage at shortstop and third base.

Max Carruth

Montevideo, Jr., P/1B

He was 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 24.1 innings as a first-year varsity player who only pitched. He had a 1.19 WHIP and he recorded 21 strikeouts.

Jackson Snell

Montevideo, Jr., P/Util

He hit .268 and had a .340 OBP. He hit 1 triple, drove in 4 runs and scored 6 runs with 5 stolen bases. On the mound, he was 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 27 innings.

Paxton Nelson

New London-Spicer, Sr, 2B/SS

He hit .323 with a .417 OBP. He drove in 7 runs and scored 23 runs. He had 1 double, 1 triple, he stole 14 bases and finished with a .944 fielding percentage in the middle infield positions.

Payton Madison

New London-Spicer, Jr., DH/OF

He hit .333 with a .438 OBP. He had 5 doubles, hit 2 home runs, drove in 18 runs and scored eight times.

Will Roguske

New London-Spicer, Jr. C/1B/3B/P

He hit .423 with a .514 OBP. He hit 5 doubles, drove in 16 runs, scored 13 runs and stole 7 bases. On the mound, he worked 30.2 innings with an 0-3 record with a 2.73 ERA and 1 save and 37 strikeouts.

Luke Johnson

Paynesville,

A top defensive shortstop, he was hitting .317 with 14 RBIs and 20 hits in 23 games entering the Class AA Minnesota State Baseball Tournament.

Sam Hopfer

Paynesville,

Entering the Class AA state tournament, he was hitting . 245 with a home run and 7 RBIs. On the mound, he worked 15.2 innings with a 2-0 record, a 2.07 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

Sam Oehrlein

Paynesville,

He was hitting .245 with a home run and 12 RBIs entering the Class AA state tournament. On the mound, he posted a 3-1 record, a 1.71 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Spencer Imholte

Paynesville,

He didn't so much hitting but still had a .333 average. He did most of his work on the mound, pitching a team-high 54.1 innings. He had a 5-1 record, a 1.71 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

Levi Bast

Paynesville,

He hit a solid .357 heading into the Class AA state tournament, with 20 hits and 11 RBIs in 23 games.

Jack Baumgart

Willmar, Sr., 1B/P

Hit .297 with 8 doubles, a triple, 10 runs scored and 21 RBIs for a state tournament team. Had a .432 on-base percentage and earned Central Lakes Conference Honorable Mention.

Drey Dirksen

Willmar, Jr., C

Hit .304 with six doubles, three triples, a home run, 11 RBIs and 9 runs scored. Worked 147 innings behind the plate, throwing out nine base stealers and picking off two others. Named All-CLC

Bryan Weidemann

Willmar, Jr., SS/P

Worked 37.1 innings and posted a 5-1 record and a save with a 2.63 ERA. He struck out 33 batters and earned an All-CLC spot.

Brady Bauman

Willmar, Sr., OF/P

Logged 37 innings and had a 4-1 record with a save. Had a 1.32 ERA with 34 strikeouts. Earned spot on All-CLC Honorable Mention team.

Andy Schultz

Willmar, Jr., 1B/OF

Hit .318 with a .416 OBP. Had 21 hits, including two doubles, and drove in 12 runs and scored 10. Earned a spot on the All-CLC Honorable Mention team.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

(320) 214-4372
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