With both Waterloo and Gibault bringing home state trophies, Valmeyer winning a fourth straight regional crown and Columbia posting another 20-win season, there was baseball talent galore in Monroe County.
Here’s the Republic-Times All-Local Baseball Team for 2019, which features two strong teams and a solid honorable mention group.
Mark Branz, Gibault. This senior all-stater heads the local list. He led the Hawks to a Class 1A runner-up finish by hitting .442 with a .563 on base percentage, 14 stolen bases, 17 doubles and 49 runs and went 9-1 on the mound with 72 strikeouts in 53.7 innings.
Shane Wilhelm, Columbia. A Mizzou commit, Wilhelm finished his Eagles career by going 6-2 on the mound with a 1.14 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 61.3 innings. He also hit .311 with 29 runs.
Riley McCarthy, Valmeyer. The lefthanded-hitting catcher had a breakout junior season for the Pirates, hitting .453 with a .544 on base percentage, 36 RBIs and 36 runs.
Ty Kueper, Waterloo. A sweet-swinging senior lefty led the Bulldogs in hitting at .387 with a .525 on base percentage, 11 doubles and 27 RBIs.
Austin Sweeney, Gibault. Somewhat overshadowed by the amazing numbers put up by Branz, this senior was a consistent offensive piece of the puzzle for the Hawks. He hit .421 with 51 runs and 14 stolen bases.
Philip Reinhardt, Valmeyer. This southpaw senior-to-be makes the list yet again after going 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA on the mound and hitting .385 (.491 on base percentage) with 24 RBIs and 31 runs.
Tim Reinholz, Gibault. Another senior-to-be, Reinholz was on fire during Gibault’s deep postseason run and finished with a .404 average, five home runs, 43 RBIs, 34 runs and 21 stolen bases. He also went 3-2 as a pitcher with a 3.43 ERA.
AJ Mueller, Columbia. The big bopper of the Eagles lineup this spring, Mueller hit .394 with five home runs and 44 RBIs.
Logan Seidler, Valmeyer. This senior finished his high school baseball career in style, hitting .406 with 38 RBIs.
Dustin Crawford, Waterloo. A super sophomore season on the mound from Crawford helped lead the Bulldogs to the state tournament. He went 12-2 with a 1.51 ERA and also hit .293. He’ll be back for more in 2020.
Drake Downing, Waterloo. The Bulldogs leaned on this junior righty to win big games in the postseason and he delivered, throwing gems in both the regional and sectional title contests. He went 7-4 with a 2.05 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 68.3 innings. Look for even better numbers in 2020.
Cole Buckner, Gibault. This transfer from St. Louis turned in a solid junior season for the Hawks, hitting .392 with 37 RBIs and 29 runs.
Josh Wittenauer, Waterloo. A senior shortstop with great defense and a knack for getting on base, Wittenauer was key to the Bulldogs’ success this spring. He hit .371 with 11 stolen bases and 26 runs.
Sam Horner, Columbia. After solid seasons in football and basketball, Horner also succeeded on the diamond, hitting .388 (.500 on base percentage) with 40 runs and seven stolen bases.
Nic Horner, Columbia. The twin brother of Sam, Nic also enjoyed baseball success. He hit .349 (.520 on base percentage) with 30 runs and eight stolen bases.
Devin Similey, Dupo. Following a standout performance in football in the fall, Similey led the Tigers in hitting this spring at .348 with 11 runs.
Josh Marion, Columbia. He hit .352 with 43 runs and 18 stolen bases for the Eagles.
Tate Schilling, Gibault. A super sophomore season resulted in a .365 average and 17 stolen bases.
Jacob Rowold, Valmeyer. Another talented sophomore, Rowold went 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA and also hit .326 with 39 runs and 19 stolen bases.
Tyson Roedl, Waterloo. A three-year starter, this junior turned in solid middle infield defense and was the leadoff hitter for the ‘Dogs. He hit .295 with 33 runs and 12 stolen bases.
Logan Denison (Columbia), Ian Metcalf (Gibault), Marcus Heusohn (Waterloo), Sam Fitzwilliam (Valmeyer), Nick Weilbacher (Gibault), Trey Kueper (Waterloo), Noah Riley (Columbia), Brandon Kuchinski (Columbia), Tyler Kyle (Dupo), Nate Albrecht (Waterloo), Graham Baker (Waterloo), Josh Papenberg (Gibault), Cam Kincheloe (Gibault), Max Kostelac (Gibault), Brad Hausmann (Waterloo)