County players, coaches grab HHC, MEC baseball, softball honors

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As they celebrate their sectional win, New Palestine players douse coach Shawn Lyons. New Palestine defeated Franklin Central to win the IHSAA Baseball 4A Sectional 11 at Roncalli on Monday, May 30, 2022. Lyons was recently named the Hoosier Heritage Conference Co-Coach of the Year.

Richard Sitler | For The Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY — High batting averages, low earned run averages, home runs and strikeouts — along with a pair of county coaches — were recently recognized for outstanding seasons by their affiliated conferences.

Eleven of the 20 members of the Hoosier Heritage Conference baseball team came from Hancock County schools. Additionally, Mt. Vernon’s Brad King and New Palestine’s Shawn Lyons were selected the league’s Co-Coaches of the Year.

County players made up seven of the 20 chosen for the HHC softball team.

Eastern Hancock, a member of the Mid-Eastern Conference, had the most players on its all-league softball team with five. The Royals had one player on the MEC baseball squad. The conference did not pick coaches of the year.

King’s Mt. Vernon club won the HHC title with a 12-2 conference mark. They were 17-10 overall and reached the Mt. Vernon Sectional championship game.

Lyons’ Dragons finished one-game back at 11-3, but had an overall mark of 24-7, which included a sectional title, berth in a regional championship game and a stretch of winning 18 of 19 games.

“Anytime your peers feel like you’re worthy of conference coach of the year (it’s an honor),” Lyons said. “We finished one game behind Mt. Vernon, but had a really good season and got hot at the end and made a good run to the final eight. That seemed to resonate with the other coaches. It’s a testament to the players I have and our coaching staff.”

Mt. Vernon and New Palestine had four players each selected to the all-conference team.

Senior outfielder/pitcher Landon Clark joined junior pitcher/shortstop Eli Bridenthal, junior infielder Gavin Johnston and junior third baseman Russell Weaver as Mt. Vernon representatives.

Clark hit .339 with a pair of home runs, three triples, 10 stolen bases and 22 RBI. On the mound, in nine appearances, he had a 0.54 earned run average. He struck out 20 in 13 innings pitched.

Bridenthal was 5-0 on the hill with a 1.59 ERA. He had 69 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched. At the plate, he hit .354 and had a team-best 22 stolen bases.

Johnston hit .343 with eight doubles and two triples. He also stole 10 bases. Weaver hit a team-best .362.

All four New Palestine selections were seniors. The group included second baseman Luke Legault, pitcher Maddox Manes, catcher Zayden Stiller and outfielder Carter Stogsdill.

Legault led the Dragons with a .418 batting average. He had nine doubles, five home runs and 34 RBI.

Manes hit .355 with three home runs and 23 RBI. As a pitcher, he was 8-1 with a 1.45 ERA, striking out 76 in 53 innings.

Stiller hit .375 with six doubles and 18 runs knocked in.

Stogsdill had a .388 average with team highs in hits (40), runs (40) and triples (5). He also led the team with 17 stolen bases. On the mound, he had three saves and a 1.58 ERA.

Greenfield-Central had three members recognized. The Cougars finished tied for fourth with a 7-7 record. They were 12-15 overall.

All three Cougars, third baseman A.J. Oden, outfielder Grant Shepherd and outfielder/pitcher Conner Sims, were juniors this past season.

Oden led the Cougars in batting average (.414) and home runs (five).

Shepherd hit .373 with a team-best nine doubles.

Sims hit .333 with four homers and had a 1.48 earned run average. In 33 innings pitched, he struck out 72 and gave up just 14 hits.

Eastern Hancock had one player on the MEC baseball team, senior shortstop Wyatt Sutton.

Sutton hit .649. He had 37 hits in 57 at-bats. He had 13 doubles, 19 RBI and 23 runs scored. The team finished 7-21 and 1-7 in the MEC.

New Palestine had three players, while Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon each had two, named to the HHC softball team.

Senior second baseman Alaina Miller, junior catcher Agaia Rudd and sophomore shortstop Allie Blum were the all-league selections from New Palestine.

Miller, a University of Illinois signee, hit .337 with 10 doubles and 14 RBI. Rudd did not strike out in 90 plate appearances. She hit .488 with 12 doubles, six homers and 41 RBI. Blum hit .371 with nine home runs and 29 RBI. She added seven doubles and 11 stolen bases. Both Rudd and Blum were Softball Coaches Association of Indiana second team all-state selections. Miller was an academic all-state choice.

The Dragons finished third in the conference with a 5-2 record. They were 23-4-1 and finished ranked No. 4 in Class 4A. They were eliminated in their sectional championship game by eventual state champion Roncalli.

Greenfield-Central was represented by senior second baseman Megan Wineinger and senior third baseman Ella Redman.

Wineinger, a third-team SCAI all-state selection and University of Indianapolis recruit, hit .506 with three doubles, 16 RBI and 36 runs scored.

Redman hit .459 with 10 doubles, four homers and 37 RBI.

The Cougars finished tied for fifth in the HHC at 3-4. They were 15-8 overall.

Mt. Vernon had two All-HHC players, freshman pitcher Graci Hines and sophomore catcher Easton Wampler.

Along with having three home runs and hitting .368, Hines was 10-6 in the circle with a 1.45 ERA. She had 127 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched.

Wampler had team-best numbers for home runs (5) and RBI (21). She also had eight doubles and hit .397.

The Marauders tied the Cougars for that fifth spot at 3-4. They were 13-9 overall and reached the championship game of the Pendleton Heights Sectional.

Winners of the MEC, Eastern Hancock’s softball team had five players of the 25 selected.

Royals named to the All-MEC team were senior outfielder Caroline Stapleton, junior catcher Kaylee Kline, junior pitcher Madison Stephens, sophomore infielder Sammie Bolding and sophomore outfielder Brooklyn Willis.

Stapleton, a University of Southern Indiana recruit, hit .543 with 47 runs scored and 38 stolen bases.

Kline hit nine home runs, had a .380 batting average and drove in 29.

Stephens was the ace of the 21-win team’s staff. She went 15-3 with a 2.00 ERA. In 94.1 innings pitched, she fanned 120.

Bolding hit .579 in 27 games with a school-record 17 home runs and 40 RBI. She also scored 47 runs and stole 33 bases.

Willis hit .519 with 10 homers and 39 RBI. She scored 42 runs, had nine doubles and 27 stolen bases.

The Royals won sectional and regional titles this past season before being eliminated in a semifinal game of the Forest Park Semi-State. They were 21-5-1 overall and 8-0 in the conference.

Bolding, Willis and Stapleton were SCAI all-staters. Bolding was named to the first team. Willis and Stapleton were selected to the second team.

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