Scheffler, Knowles lead All-Journal team
Cooper Scheffler, sr., 2B/P, Springfield
Scheffler made his presence known this season in all three aspects of the game while helping the Tigers place fifth in the state in their first appearance since 1994. At the plate, Scheffler led the Tigers with a .460 batting average, with which he notched 40 hits and 28 RBIs – both team highs – while scoring 33 runs and stealing 43 bases. On the mound, Scheffler went 5-1 with one save. He amassed an ERA of 2.73 with a team-high 45 strikeouts. A three-year starter, Scheffler was named the 2014 Tomahawk Conference Player of the Year, was a two-time All-Conference selection and was also named to the 2014 MSHSBCA Class A All-State baseball team.
Gabe Knowles, so., OF/P, Cathedral
Knowles led the section runners-up Greyhounds in numerous facets in both pitching and hitting. At the plate, he hit from the leadoff spot and had team-highs in 35 hits and 40 runs scored while hitting .427 on the season. On the mound, Knowles was 5-1 with a team-best 0.95 ERA – six earned runs in 44 innings pitched – with 57 strikeouts and only 11 walks. Knowles earned All-Conference and All-Section honors this season.
Brandon Helget, jr., SS, St. Mary’s
Helget led the Knights at the plate batting .432 with a team-high 35 hits, 25 runs and 20 RBIs as a junior. He also had 15 extra-base hits (12 doubles, two triples and one home run). Helget, who started the entire season as the team’s shortstop, earned his second-straight All-Conference honors and was named to the MSHSBCA Class A All-State team this season.
Collin Helget, jr., 2B/P, Cathedral
Helget led the team hitting with a .473 batting average in its season as section runner-up. He tied the team high in hits with 35 while scoring 30 runs and notching 17 RBIs with 13 stolen bases. On the mound, Helget went 8-1 with a 2.60 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched. Helget earned All-Conference and All-Section honors this season.
Judd Davis, sr., SS, New Ulm
As the leadoff hitter, Davis led the team in hits (27) and runs scored (22) while hitting .397 for 13 RBIs and nine extra-base hits (four doubles and a team-high five triples). Of his 68 at-bats, Davis never struck out once. Davis, who will be playing baseball at St. Cloud State next year, was voted the Team MVP of this season and was an All-Section selection in 2012 and 2014.
Tanner Kluis, sr., IF/P, New Ulm
Kluis had nine extra-base hits (eight doubles and one home run) while hitting .352 with 25 hits and 21 RBIs. Kluis, who was voted the Team MVP in 2013 as a junior, went 5-1 on the mound with a team-high 47 strikeouts and ERA of 1.24 on the season. In his team-high 34 innings of work, Kluis allowed only six earned runs. Kluis is a two-time All-Conference selection and was nominated for All-State this year.
Dylan Wersal, sr., 1B/P, Springfield
Wersal was the ace on the mound for the Tigers, helping them to a fifth-place finish in their first trip to state since 1994. Wersal was 6-1 with a team-high four saves. He amassed a 1.55 ERA with 27 strikeouts and an opposing batting average of .226 in 49 2/3 innings pitched. At the plate, Wersal batted .300 with 12 hits, 16 runs and 10 RBIs. Wersal was an All-Conference selection in 2014.
Brody Rodning, sr., P, Sibley East
Rodning was dominant on the mound for the Wolverines, amassing a 0.66 ERA with 66 strikeouts. He allowed only seven hits and three earned runs in 31 innings pitched this season. Rodning threw four-career no-hitters in his time at Sibley East and will play baseball at Minnesota State University in Mankato next year.
John Olsen, sr., 2B, St. James Area
Olsen set the school’s single-season records in hits (37) and batting average (.520). He had 25 RBIs and 11 doubles. For his career, Olsen hit .450 with 49 hits, 38 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
Ryan Menssen, sr., C, St. James Area
A two-time All-Conference selection, Menssen set the school record in single-season runs with 35 as well as doubles with 13. He had 36 hits with a .510 batting average. For his career, Menssen hit .360 with 61 hits, 51 runs, 19 RBIs and 20 doubles. He was a two-time All-Conference selection.
Carter Erickson, jr., SS/P, Springfield
Erickson was one of Springfield’s top pitchers and defensive players in its fifth-place finish at state – its first state appearance since 1994. Erickson was 7-1 with one save on the mound, notching a team-best 1.32 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed only eight earned runs in that time. At the plate, Erickson hit .272 with 22 hits, 21 RBIs and 16 runs scored. Erickson earned All-Conference honors this season.
Mike Zinniel, sr., OF/P, St. Mary’s
Zinniel was one of the Knights’ main threats on the mound. The senior went 5-0 and allowed just eight earned runs for an ERA of 1.44 in 39 innings pitched with 24 strikeouts to earn All-Conference honors this season. In his three seasons on varsity, Zinniel recorded a 10-0 record with a 1.59 ERA with one save in 70 1/3 innings pitched.
Brandon Polesky, sr., IF/OF, Sleepy Eye
Polesky hit .406 with 28 hits and 11 RBIs from the leadoff spot for the Indians. Despite not playing baseball his first two years of high school, Polesky accumulated two-year stats of 37 hits for a .374 batting average with five doubles and 19 RBIs in 32 games played. He was an All-Conference honorable mention.
Sam Hirschboeck, sr., 1B, Sleepy Eye
Hirschboeck led the Indians with a .492 batting average – sixth-best in school history – this season with 29 hits, 16 RBIs and one home run. As a four-year starter at first base, Hirschboeck batted .309 with 55 hits and eight doubles. He was an All-Conference selection this season.
Jevan Richert, fr., C/P, Springfield
Richert played a big part as a freshman for Springfield in its fifth-place finish at state – its first state berth since 1994. Richert batted .325 with 26 hits and 27 RBIs as well as a team-high nine doubles. When not playing his primary position of catcher, Richert pitched and amassed a 3-0 record with a 2.33 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 21 innings of work. He was an All-Conference honorable mention.
Walker Froehling, sr., P, St. James Area
Froehling was the ace on the mound for the Saints, tallying an ERA of 1.38 with 61 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched. He also had 24 hits for 21 RBIs and 18 runs scored, batting .290 this season. For his career, Froehling went 12-0-2 on the mound with an ERA of 1.55 and 102 strikeouts.
Matt Christenson, sr., IF/P, Nicollet
Christenson batted .421 this season with three doubles, one triple and two home runs. On the mound, he had a 4.00 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched. A four-year starter, Christenson batted .382 with 14 doubles, two triples and six home runs at the plate as well as a 2.41 ERA and 80 strikeouts on the mound. Christenson was also the unanimous 2013 All-Journal Football Defensive Player of the Year.
Brandon Beranek, jr., OF, Cathedral
Beranek was described as one of the most improved players this season. He hit .338 with 24 hits, 23 runs scored and a team-high 24 RBIs. Beranek was named to the Section 2A All-Section team this season.