Tribune announces All-Area baseball team

Published 8:42 pm Friday, July 26, 2019

Area baseball players recognized


First team

Carter Simon

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Albert Lea, senior, infielder

Simon was the driving force at the plate this season for the Tigers. He averaged a whopping .458 at the plate, good for second in the area. He also hit in 12 runs on the season. His .722 slugging percentage, seven doubles and six triples landed him a unanimous All Big Nine Conference selection as well.

“Heart of our team from an offensive standpoint while manning shortstop and even pitching some,” said head coach Sean Gaston. “Carter played a huge role in driving our offense accounting for 28% of our offense by himself. He is a great teammate, leader and role model for how hard work can lead to success.”


Cael Boehmer

Lake Mills, senior, pitcher

Boehmer not only led his team in nearly all major statistical categories, he also ranked near the top when adding in the other area teams. He led the area in batting average with .469, RBIs with 29, hits with 38 and walks with 22. Boehmer was also a top-notch pitcher for the Bulldogs, totaling a 1.48 ERA and striking out 74 batters in only 52 innings of work.

The Bulldogs will have a tough time finding a replacement for Boehmer in the 2020 season after leading them into the district playoffs before falling to state qualifiers New Hampton.


Gavin Varner

Northwood-Kensett, senior, infielder

Varner was a near guarantee at the plate in 2019. Varner was second in the area with 36 hits and 26 RBIs; he also scored 22 times himself. Of his 36 hits, 16 were extra-base hits, including 12 doubles, two triples and two home runs. Varner also had 87 plate appearances this season and struck out just four times.

Varner was a key piece for the Vikings, who finished with their best record in over 10 years. Despite a first-round exit from the district playoffs, the Vikings finished with a 14-14 record.


Joe Bushlack

United South Central, senior, outfielder

Bushlack put up big numbers for the Rebels in 2019. The fourth and final player to finish with a batting average above .400, Bushlack had 32 hits on the season, 26 runs and 26 RBIs. He also led the area in stolen bases with 22.

The Rebels finished 14-9 on the season with a 2-2 record in Section 1A baseball. The two losses came at the hands of Lyle/Austin Pacelli.


Jake Tasker

NRHEG, junior, infielder

Tasker makes the All-Area team for the second consecutive year. He finished the season with a batting average of .360, 18 hits and 13 RBIs. He also got in 46.2 innings of work on the mound. He had an ERA of 3.00, while walking 23 and striking out 64.

“Jake was a key part of our team’s success this season,” said head coach Drew Paukert. “He was our ace on the mound all season long and he got the ball in our big games. He was also our top hitter this season. Jake has a passion for baseball, and we look for big things from him in his senior campaign.”


Mason Fritz

Lake Mills, junior, infielder

Fritz was a big part in both the offensive and defensive rotation for the Bulldogs this season. At the plate, Fritz accounted for 33 hits, 26 runs and 10 RBIs. He was also a part of a dominating pitching rotation, putting in 40.2 innings on the mound to notch 34 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.55.


Brock Hammer

Albert Lea, senior, infielder/pitcher

Hammer was one of the best relief pitchers in the area during the 2019 season. In just 37 innings of work, Hammer managed 33 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.7. He also had a consistent year at the plate, batting an average of .299 and hitting in 11 runs.

“Brock was a huge part of our late season run,” Gaston said. “His ability to be the ‘fireman’ out of (the) pen was a large factor in many of our wins. He was able to pitch in 14 of our 24 games. Down the stretch, we relied on him both as reliever and starter and he was great. Furthermore, he played a great first base and chipped in with some keys hits and RBIs.”


Zach Niebuhr

United South Central, junior, catcher

After an honorable mention nod in 2018, Niebuhr jumped into the first team with a monster year at the plate. He recorded 28 hits, bringing in 15 runs and scoring 30 more himself. He was walked 13 times and stole an area-leading 22 bases.


Casey Hanson

Lake Mills, sophomore, pitcher

Hanson dominated on the mound during the Bulldogs’ 2019 season. As the only sophomore to make the team, Hanson led the area with 81 strikeouts in just 57 innings, making his average nearly 1.5 strikeouts per inning. He also scored 17 runs this season and was walked 19 times.



Second team

Cade Hengesteg

Northwood-Kensett, sophomore, infielder

Nick Staloch

NRHEG, sophomore, infielder

Jackson Rice

Lake Mills, junior, outfielder

Sam Zebro

United South Central, senior, pitcher

Ian Ball

Albert Lea, senior, outfielder

Isaac Meyer

United South Central, junior, outfielder

Sawyer VanMaldeghem

NRHEG, senior, infielder

Dawson Dahlum

Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger, junior, infielder

Ethian Tasker

Northwood-Kensett, sophomore, pitcher

Koby Hendrickson

Albert Lea, junior, infielder


About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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