Five Trojans selected to All-GTNS baseball teamPekin pitcher Winn selected
A 30-win season and its first state tournament berth since 1979 led to five Fairfield Trojan representatives making the All-GTNS baseball team for the 2014 season, along with a total of seven area players who have made the team in past years.
Leading the All-GTNS squad for 2014 is Fairfield coach Josh Allison. Allison led the Trojans to a 30-8 season and the state quarterfinals before Dallas Center-Grimes eliminated them in an extra inning thriller. Boasting a career record of 237-197, Allison will attempt to make a repeat trip to Principal Park and the state tournament in 2015 without the eight seniors that helped win 13 of Fairfield’s last 15 games this season.
One of those seniors, Joe Hietpas, has been selected as the Southeast Conference MVP and the All-GTNS team captain for the second year in a row. Hietpas pitched Fairfield into the state tournament with a complete game two-hitter over Centerville, and then spun a one-hit gem over eight innings against the Mustangs at Principal Park. He finished his senior campaign with a 10-0 record, 116 strikeouts and a 0.58 ERA over 73 innings pitched. Just six earned runs crossed the plate when Hietpas stood on the mound this year.
Joining Hietpas is Trojan centerfielder and pitcher Austin Gridley. The senior lefty bombed 11 home runs and drove in 34. Gridley batted .417 and helped pace an offense that produced 258 runs this season. Joining Gridley is first baseman Mason Ellis, who batted .404, smacked 44 hits and drove in 22 runs in his senior campaign. Ellis batted in the three-spot most of the season and makes his second straight All-GTNS team.
Playing with Ellis on the All-GTNS infield is Walker Breard of Washington and teammates Garrett Saunders and Robby Laughlin from Van Buren. Each of these players made the team last season as well.
Breard was the offensive leader of the Demons this season. His team-high nine homeruns broke the single season record for Washington, in addition to the career homeruns record. He picked up 43 RBIs on the year (25 more than the next highest on the team), scored 30 runs and batted .438 on the year. Breard also stole 16 bases. Those numbers earned him first-team All-District and All-Conference honors, as well as being named team MVP.
Saunders batted leadoff and played shortstop for the Warriors. The junior led the state in stolen bases with 52, along with topping his own team with eight home runs, 47 RBIs, 64 runs scored, 63 hits and a .504 batting average. Laughlin had a quality season of his own for the 33-win Warriors, drumming up five home runs, 31 RBIs and a .443 batting average.
Making the All-GTNS team as pitchers is Pekin’s Keaton Winn and Washington’s Elijah Wood. Winn finished his sophomore campaign with a 0.66 ERA over 53 1/3 innings of work. Just five earned runs crossed the plate against the Panther ace, and he struck out 73 batters. Winn also had a great year at the plate, leading Pekin with a .417 batting average and 27 RBIs.
Wood makes his second appearance on the All-GTNS team as a pitcher. The senior southpaw went 5-2 on the season with three saves, setting Washington’s single season ERA record with a 0.99 mark over 56 2/3 innings. He struck out 82 batters, while opponents batted .152 against him on the season. Wood also had a nice year at the plate in the middle of the lineup, batting .262 with 15 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Van Buren’s Noah Whitten earns a selection as the team catcher. Whitten batted .341 and drove in 25 runs for the Warriors. He finished with a .504 on-base percentage due to 30 hits and walking 27 times. Only a junior, Whitten will join Saunders next season to attempt another deep postseason run.
Dallas Nye had a great year leading Iowa Mennonite to a district semifinal and has earned recognition in the All-GTNS outfield. Nye led IMS with a team high on-base percentage of .529, 22 RBIs, four homeruns, and second on the team with 20 runs. He also finished the year with a .646 slugging percentage and .392 batting average.
Mt. Pleasant’s Austin Smith rounds out the All-GTNS outfield. Making the team for the second year in a row, Smith led the Panthers in many offensive categories, including hits (42), runs scored (32) and batting average .389.
The final Trojan to make the team is Jordan Reid, who makes the squad as a utility player. Reid finished tied for the team lead in hits (44) and runs scored (30). The Trojan sophomore batted .373 and was clutch in postseason play. He tallied two hits in Fairfield’s substate game against Centerville and got a single in the state quarterfinals. Reid also played a solid third base and made two game-changing plays at Principal Park.
Rounding out the team is Winfield-Mount Union sophomore Darren Hunter. The sophomore batted .405 and scored 29 times for the Wolves. His three home runs and 34 hits helped Winfield-Mount Union grab eight victories this season.
The All-GTNS baseball team was selected by Allyus Fritz of the Fairfield Ledger, Aaron Viner of the Washington Evening Journal and John Rohlf of the Mt. Pleasant News.
Fairfield, Pekin and Van Buren player photos courtesy of Sue Buch, Lee’s Photography–Ottumwa and David Barnes, respectively.
2014 All-GTNS Baseball Team
Josh Allison, Coach Fairfield
Joe Hietpas, Captain Fairfield
Walker Breard, INF Washington
Garrett Saunders, INF Van Buren
Mason Ellis, INF Fairfield
Robby Laughlin, INF Van Buren
Elijah Wood, P Washington
Keaton Winn, P Pekin
Noah Whitten, C Van Buren
Austin Smith, OF Mt. Pleasant
Austin Gridley, OF Fairfield
Dallas Nye, OF IMS
Jordan Reid, UT Fairfield
Darren Hunter, UT Winfield-Mount Union