The Tribune’s 2002 All-Area Baseball Team

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2002

Adam Highum

Albert Lea

Senior, Pitcher/Outfield

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Highum had excellent numbers on the mound and at the plate. He pitched 36 1/3 innings, fanning 29 and walking nine while compiling an ERA of 2.31. His record was 2-2. Highum batted .317 with four doubles and nine RBIs. His on-base average was .403. &uot;He was our second best pitcher all season long and, considering he had never pitched before, he showed great poise and moxie on the mound,&uot; said Tigers coach Joe Sczublewski. &uot;He came up with some timely hits for us and was a great fielder.&uot;

Jay Link

Albert Lea

Senior, First Base

Link, a three-year letterwinner who played mostly first base this year, led the Tigers with a batting average of .338 and 24 hits, with a team-high 16 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .436. He had five doubles, one triple and seven RBIs, leading the Tigers in stolen bases while going 6-for-7. &uot;Jay showed great improvement from his junior to his senior year,&uot; said Albert Lea coach Joe Sczublewski. &uot;He was extremely versatile in the field. He could play any outfield position and finished the season as one of the best fielding first baseman we’ve had. He had an outstanding season.&uot; Link plans to play baseball at Riverland Community College.

Isaac Walton

Albert Lea

Senior, Pitcher/Outfield

Walton is a four-year varsity letterman whose pitching statistics don’t reflect his performance this season. He pitched 52 2/3 innings, striking out 75 and walking 21 with an earned run average of 2.26, but his record was only 3-6. He hit .250 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and 11 RBIs. &uot;Isaac has been one of the dominant pitchers in the Big Nine the last three years,&uot; said ALHS coach Joe Sczublewski. &uot;He was overpowering at times this year and, when he had his curve ball working, was nearly unhittable. He’s a great outfielder, and as a sophomore he led Section 1AAA in hitting at .460.&uot; Walton was also selected to play in the Lions All-Star Series June 21-22 at Chaska Athletic Park. He plans to continue his baseball career at Des Moines Area CC, which Sczublewski called a top-notch baseball school.

Nick Flatness


Senior, Catcher

Flatness was an important part of a Wolverines team that set a school record with 19 wins while reaching the section tournament. He hit .347 with 26 hits, four doubles, three triples, 10 runs and 15 RBIs. His on -base average was .484 and his fielding percentage was .982. He also pitched 11 innings, compiling an ERA of 0.55 with 12 strikeouts. &uot;Paul was kind of a silent leader for us,&uot; said Glenville-Emmons coach Louie Toulouse. &uot;He was one of our captains and led by example. He had a real good year throwing out baserunners, he hit well and he was strong defensively at catcher.&uot;

Paul Kleven


Senior, Center Field

Kleven made his mark in the school record book, tying Josh Delger’s single-season mark with 34 hits while batting .374. He had six doubles, one triple and 11 RBIs with a team-best 21 stolen bases. His on-base percentage was .490. &uot;Paul had a real good year offensively and was really kind of the catalyst for a lot of rallies,&uot; said Wolverines coach Louie Toulouse. &uot;He had excellent speed and good power for a leadoff man. After (going out for golf) for two years, he came back and had a real great season for us.&uot;

Richie Mathis


Senior, Infield/Pitcher

Mathis played where needed for the Wolverines and performed well at shortstop, second base and pitcher. A three-year letterwinner, Mathis was second on the team with 56 innings pitched and compiled a 2.36 ERA, with 52 strikeouts and 19 walks. His on-base percentage was .461 and he had only six errors. &uot;He was one of our best defensive players, his on-base percentage was good and he pitched well for us,&uot; said Wolverines coach Louie Toulouse. &uot;He’s also a good defensive catcher and outfielder, but he’s so strong in the infield you can’t take him out of here. He has grown up playing baseball. He’s kind of like a coach on the field.&uot;

Mitch Meier


Junior, Pitcher

The Tribune’s Player of the Year was nothing less than dominating on the mound, registering a record of 10-1 with one save and an ERA of 0.81. The left-hander struck out 108 batters and walked 13 in 81 innings. His 10 wins tied a school record set by Jamie Beck in 1990. &uot;When he pitches, the kids have a lot of confidence we can come out with a win,&uot; said Wolverines coach Louie Toulouse. &uot;He also improved offensively and was a much tougher out than last year.&uot;

Jay Wadding


Senior, First Base/DH

Wadding was another two-way standout for the Wolverines, at the plate and in the field. He hit .352 with 26 hits, nine doubles, 10 runs and 12 RBIs, with an on-base average of .582 and a fielding percentage of .979. &uot;Jay has excellent power and he really improved from last year to this year,&uot; said Wolverines coach Louie Toulouse. &uot;He was much more disciplined at the plate, and he played real good defense for us at first base when he did play there.&uot;

Clark Field


Senior, Catcher

One of three players to earn All-Gopher Conference honors for the 14-11 Panthers, Field played mostly catcher but also some shortstop and pitched 30 2/3 innings. He hit .367 with 27 hits, five doubles, three triples, one home run, 25 RBIs, 25 runs and 12 stolen bases. Defensively, he had a .940 fielding percentage with 151 chances. He had a 3-3 pitching record, with 26 strikeouts and 15 walks. “Clark was a very good leader, a captain the last two years,” said Panthers coach Jeff Reese. “He’s a good hitter, batted No. 3 for us, and he’s just a great individual, always willing to do the little extra things.”

Brett Shultz


Senior, Pitcher

The Panthers’ mainstay on the mound, logging 56 1/3 innings, Shultz played first base when not pitching and batted .367, totaling 22 hits, two doubles, one home run, 14 RBIs, 13 runs and 10 stolen bases. He had a pitching record of 5-4, striking out 40 batters and walking 25 with an earned run average of 3.26. Shultz had a .912 fielding average, with 136 defensive chances. “He was our No. 1 pitcher. All the toughest games, we put him on the mound,” said Panthers coach Jeff Reese. “His success was location and off speed, and it was real effective for him. He also has one of the best pickoff moves I’ve ever seen by a right-hander.”

Seth Tukua


Senior, Third Base

In a lot of years Tukua could have been the Player of the Year and there was considerable debate and deliberation this year. He set a school record with a remarkable 47 RBIs in 25 games. He hit .488 with 39 hits, 11 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 21 runs and nine stolen bases. His fielding average was .871, with 11 errors in 85 fielding plays. In 14 innings on the mound he struck out 12 and walked four, with an ERA of 0.46. &uot;Seth is a very smart ballplayer and he’s very competitive,&uot; said NRHEG coach Jeff Reese. &uot;He really knew how to go to the right side and had a lot of extra base hits to the right center field gap. He was also an expectedly strong pitcher at the end of the year and really shut some teams down.&uot;

Jens Wyrum


Senior, Center Field

Wyrum got on base a lot and scored a lot, batting .443 while crossing the plate a team-high 34 times and stealing a team-best 25 bases. He had 31 hits, three doubles, five triples, one home run and 20 RBIs. &uot;Jens made a big switch from being a No. 3 or 4 hitter his whole career to leading off for us,&uot; said Panthers coach Jeff Reese. &uot;He has good power for a leadoff hitter and good speed. His 25 stolen bases may be a school record.&uot;

David Hove

United South Central

Senior, Pitcher/Third Base

Hove was All-South Central Conference for the second year in a row as the Rebels finished 5-15 overall and 3-9 in the SCC. He hit .434 and had an on-base average of .524, scoring nine runs and driving in 13 runs. In 50 2/3 innings on the mound, he had 50 strikeouts and 17 walks with a 2.49 ERA; opponents batted .268 of him. &uot;He’s a hard working individual,&uot; said Rebels coach Thomas Williams. &uot;He definitely put in extra time outside practice and outside the season. He showed great leadership and all around good character as a person.&uot;

Cole Iverson

United South Central

Senior, Center Field

Iverson finished a standout three-sport career with an all-conference baseball season in which he hit .345 and had an on-base average of .409, with six doubles, one triple and 11 RBIs. He also led the Rebels with six sacrifices. &uot;Offense was his strong suit,&uot; said Rebels coach Thomas Williams. &uot;Defensively, he could cover a lot of ground and he made a lot of great plays. He’s an all around good athlete. He’s put in a lot of time and effort. He’s just a good kid.&uot;

Dan Voigt

United South Central

Junior, Left Field

Voigt had an exceptional offensive season, setting school records with seven home runs and 27 RBIs while leading the team with a .724 slugging percentage. He batted .310 with three doubles and his on-base average was .359. &uot;His offensive numbers and run production was outstanding, and he was solid in left or center field,&uot; said USC coach Thomas Williams. &uot;Dan’s a fun and energetic kid to coach. He has a good attitude. If you put a team of nine guys like Dan together, you’d have as good a season as you’d ever want to have just because of the attitude of the kids.&uot;

Honorable Mention

Albert Lea &045; Andy Drenth, sr., third base;

Alden-Conger &045; Brett Penning, jr., pitcher/left field;

Glenville-Emmons &045; Matt Learn, sr., third base/pitcher;

United South Central &045; David Neubauer, jr., first base/third base; Trent Ulrich, sr., catcher.

Player of the Year

2002 &045; Mitch Meier, Glenville-Emmons

2001 &045; Seth Stadheim, Glenville-Emmons

2000 &045; Dominic Schultz, United South Central

1999 &045; Jeff Schulz, Albert Lea

1998 &045; Erik Goodmanson, Albert Lea

1997 &045; Adam Benson, Albert Lea

1996 &045; Kyle Goslee, NRHEG

1995 &045; Brody Richards, NRHEG

1994 &045; Andy Stockinger, Albert Lea

1993 &045; Dave Ricke, United South Central

1992 &045; Wade Hammer, Albert Lea

Coach of the Year

2002 &045; Louie Toulouse, Glenville-Emmons

2001 &045; Jeff Reese, NRHEG

2000 &045; Louie Toulouse, Glenville-Emmons

1999 &045; Neil Pierce, Alden-Conger

1998 &045; Neil Pierce, Alden-Conger

1997 &045; Jeff Reese, NRHEG

1996 &045; Jeff Reese, NRHEG

1995 &045; Jeff Reese, NRHEG

1994 &045; Joe Sczublewski, Albert Lea

1993 &045; Jeff Reese, NRHEG

1992 &045; Joe Sczublewski, Albert Lea