Monroe County loves its baseball, and local high schools provided plenty of excitement in the sport both individually and at the team level this past spring.
From Valmeyer’s second straight state runner-up finish, Columbia’s 28-game winning streak and regional crown, Gibault’s underdog regional title run, Waterloo’s Mark Vogel reaching 500 wins, and other collective milestones, 2018 was definitely a year to remember.
Here’s a look at the players who helped make the magic happen.
Quentin Albrecht, Waterloo. This four-year varsity player collected 100 hits as a Bulldog and was named to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 3A All-State Team for his outstanding senior season. Albrecht, who will soon play ball at Wichita State University, ranked 10th in the St. Louis area with a .505 batting average, fifth in slugging percentage (.905) and seventh in on base percentage (.615) He hit seven home runs and 15 doubles with 35 runs and 35 RBIs while playing rock solid defense behind the plate.
Philip Reinhardt, Valmeyer. Two seasons, two state runner-up finishes for this young Pirate, who was named to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A All-State Team for his amazing sophomore season on the mound and at the plate. Reinhardt hit .431 with a .503 on base percentage, 34 RBIs and 35 runs, and posted a 6-3 pitching record with a 1.81 ERA. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 3-0 victory at Steeleville early in the season.
Shane Wilhelm, Columbia. Like Reinhardt, Wilhelm led the Eagles with both his bat and arm during his junior season. The righty went 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA and a no-hitter on the mound, and hit .425 with a .515 on base percentage, 39 runs, 13 doubles, 31 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. The Mizzou commit looks to lead Columbia again in 2019.
Cole Juelfs, Valmeyer. This senior shortstop led the entire St. Louis area in runs this spring with 55, hitting .382 with a .494 on base percentage, 14 doubles, 21 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. On the mound, Juelfs went 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 44 strikeouts. He will play for Southwestern Illinois College next season.
Brennen van Breusegen, Columbia. Another important piece of the winning puzzle for the Eagles in 2018, van Breusegen tied for fourth in the St. Louis area with 46 runs. The University of Central Missouri commit hit .405 with a .522 on base percentage, 10 doubles and 23 RBIs.
Jordan Holmes, Columbia. He already made our All-Local First Team in football and basketball his senior season, so why not baseball? Holmes is very deserving with his .449 average and .529 on base percentage with 36 runs, 31 RBIs, six triples and 11 stolen bases to go along with stellar outfield defense.
Mark Branz, Gibault. The second junior to make the list, Branz led a young but talented Hawks bunch to a regional title. Branz hit .392 with a .483 on base percentage, three home runs, 24 RBIs, 34 runs and 11 stolen bases. He also posted a 3.58 ERA with plenty of mound duty. Watch for an even better senior season.
Danny Tharp, Waterloo. A sure-handed outfielder with range and speed and a good bat, Tharp put together a strong senior season for the Bulldogs. The Fontbonne University commit hit .414 with a .504 on base percentage, 33 runs, 11 doubles and seven stolen bases.
Jake Krekel, Valmeyer. One of several senior leaders for the state runner-up Pirates, Krekel got hot at the right time to lead Valmeyer’s offense in the postseason. He hit .397 with 46 runs, 35 RBIs, 10 doubles and 15 stolen bases.
Luke Watson, Columbia. This senior was as solid as could be on the mound for the Eagles, going 8-1 with a 2.76 ERA and 50 strikeouts.
Tyler Kempfer, Valmeyer. This senior catcher handled a terrific Pirates pitching staff while providing some offensive punch in the middle of the lineup. Kempfer hit .372 with three home runs, 35 RBIs and 11 doubles.
Dylan Hildebrand, Columbia. This left-handed-hitting senior catcher was a key component of the winning formula for the Eagles, hitting .386 with 37 RBIs.
Michael Chism, Valmeyer. An All-Local first teamer in basketball, Chism was a winner for the Pirates when it mattered most. The lanky lefty hit .371 with 32 runs and 21 RBIs at the top of the lineup and posted a 4-1 record on the mound with a 1.27 ERA, including a win in the state semifinal game.
Sam Spivey, Columbia. This senior infielder came through in the clutch for the Eagles, hitting .346 with 12 doubles, 33 RBIs and 35 runs.
Lucas Goodsell, Waterloo. The senior ace of the Bulldogs staff went 4-4 with a 1.96 ERA, 42 strikeouts and five complete games against many of the top pitchers in the area.
Andrew Whipple, Valmeyer. More senior leadership for the Pirates. Whipple went 6-2 with a 3.17 ERA on the mound and hit .349 with 20 runs. He will play ball at Lindenwood University-St. Charles.
Mitch Daniels, Columbia. The run on seniors continues. Daniels hit .336 with 10 doubles, 26 RBIs and 27 runs for the Eagles. He will play ball at Webster University.
Tim Reinholz, Gibault. This 6-foot-2 lefty started to find his pitching groove late and hit .311 with four home runs, 36 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and 21 runs as a sophomore.
Drew Maus, Valmeyer. Another senior leader of the Pirates. Maus hit .314 with 10 doubles and 36 RBIs and posted a 5-1 mound record with a 3.71 ERA.
Marcus Heusohn, Waterloo. The future looks bright for Heusohn. He hit .383 with 21 RBIs and posted a 2-0 record and 2.63 ERA in 21-plus innings pitched as a 6-foot-2 freshman.
Nathan Albrecht (Waterloo), Adam Bradshaw (Dupo), Austin Sweeney (Gibault), Josh Papenberg (Gibault), Kyle Steve (Columbia), John Schoentag (Columbia), Alex Von Bokel (Columbia), Logan Seidler (Valmeyer), Jacob Rowold (Valmeyer), Ryan Brinkman (Valmeyer), Dustin Crawford (Waterloo), Tommy Carr (Waterloo), Graham Baker (Waterloo), Josh Wittenauer (Waterloo), Trey Kueper (Waterloo), Sam Kreinberg (Waterloo), Cam Kincheloe (Gibault), Eric Schreder (Gibault), Robbie Smith (Dupo), Tyler Kyle (Dupo).