2016 All O-Zone Baseball Team

It was a tremendous year of baseball in the Ozarks and this list is loaded with the best of the best players.  We asked area coaches for nominations and narrowed the list to this very deserving group. 

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TOP 100 PHOTOS OF 2015-16

PITCHERS
 
Hunter Dame, Sr, Conway – Good luck putting the ball in play against Dame!  The Missouri State signee struck out a mind-boggling 132 batters in 69.2 IP (13.26 K/7 IP).  He went 10-3 with a 1.11 ERA, including eight complete games.  He also hit .371 with 44 RBI for the district champ Bears.

 
Alex Moore, Sr, Mtn Grove – The 6’7”, 240 lb righty saved his best for last.  The Missouri State signee put the Panthers on his back to win the Class 3 state title, throwing 10 innings in two days with 16 strikeouts and just one earned run.  The All-SCA 1st teamer finished 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA, 96 strikeouts in 68 innings, and most importantly…a ring.

 
Eli Hubbard, Sr, Stockton – Hubbard really couldn’t have been much better than he was this season.  The 6’3” senior went 10-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 59 IP while walking just eight batters.  At the plate, he hit .429 with 28 RBI and 17 runs.  He also played solid defense at several positions when not on the mound.

 
Justice Hylton, Sr, Carl Junction – You can’t have one without the other.  Hylton one-upped his fellow Bulldog ace with an 8-1 mark and a school record/area best .399 ERA to go with 72 strikeouts in 52.2 IP.  Hylton will join Frack at Pitt State this fall.

 
Kaleb Schmidt, Sr, Kickapoo – Schmidt backed up his Ozark Conference Pitcher of the Year performance as a junior with an even better senior campaign.  The Central Arkansas signee was named the Springfield Leadoff Club Pitcher of the Year, going 8-0 with a .724 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 58 innings. 

 
 
INFIELDERS
 
Layn Hurst, Sr, Forsyth – Hurst might have been the area’s triple crown winner with a .537 avg, 7 HR and 45 RBIs.  He unofficially set the national career RBI record (293 RBIs) late in the season, surpassing former Michigan QB and NY Yankees third baseman Drew Henson.  When he wasn’t manning the hot corner, the Mineral Area CC signee went 8-2 with a 1.55 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched.

 
DJ McNew, Sr, Mtn Grove – The SCA Player of the Year did it all for the state champs.  The slick-fielding shortstop (.889 fielding %) and 3-hitter batted .405 with 3 home runs and 30 RBI while swiping 26 bases.  He also tossed a scoreless 7th inning in the Panthers’ semifinal win over Scott City.

 
JD Murders, Sr, Bolivar – Murders caught the eye of the highly-successful Texas Tech staff two summers ago and the Red Raider signee hasn’t disappointed since.  The slick-fielding shortstop (.947 fielding %) hit .463 for the COC Small champ Liberators this season, including 6 bombs and 36 RBI.

 
Ethan Frack, Sr, Carl Junction – The Pitt State signee was a standout shortstop for the Bulldogs, hitting .358 with 36 runs.  He was also co-ace on the mound for the district champs with an 8-2 record, 1.01 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 69.1 IP. 

 
 
OUTFIELDERS
 
Riley Herron, Sr, Kickapoo – Herron won the Springfield Leadoff Club Offensive Player of the Year after hitting .402 with 7 home runs and 28 RBI.  The Drury signee showed great range in center field for the most talented roster in the Ozarks.

 
Justice Jones, Sr, Hurley – Jones was a key cog to the Tigers’ playoff runs the last two years.  The Ecclesia College signee hit .469 this season with 48 hits and 41 RBI.  He was also the Tigers’ ace, going 8-4 with a 2.14 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 62 innings.  He led the area with 15 pickoffs at 1st base.

 
Chad Reusch, Sr, Branson – The Pirate’s senior earned COC Large Player of the Year with a combination of pitching, hitting and fielding.  The C of O signee hit .513 with 20 RBI and 29 runs.  With a fastball touching the 90s, Reusch went 6-0 on the hill with a 1.26 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 44 innings.  His outfield play has earned him conference honors each of the past three seasons.

 
 
CATCHER
 
Alex Wheeler, Sr, Stockton – Wheeler pummeled Mid-Lakes pitching to the tune of a .467 avg this season, including three home runs, 26 RBI and a whopping 45 runs scored, but it was the Missouri Southern signee’s defense that elevated the Tigers to a top 3 team in Class 3 all season.  Also great speed on the bases, I would be surprised if Wheeler doesn’t earn 1st team All-State honors this season.

 
 
UTILITY/DH
 
Jacob LaSalle, Sr, Marionville – Talk about the secret weapon!  LaSalle hit over .400 for the third straight year (.427) while committing just three errors while playing EIGHT different positions for the Comets.  Throw in 22 stolen bases and it’s clear why LaSalle has earned All-State distinction in both the infield and outfield.  Also the Comets’ start QB/LB and starter on the district champ basketball team, LaSalle is certainly one of the best overall athletes in the Ozarks.

 
Andrew Huckaby, Sr, Conway – Dame got a lot of the attention, but Huckaby was just as dominant as his senior teammate the last two seasons.  Huckaby went 7-0 with a .80 ERA while striking out 50 batters in 43.2 IP.  When he wasn’t on the mound Huckaby hit .350 with 26 RBI.  Replacing this class will be no easy task for Coach Bilyeu.

 
Cameron Witt, Sr, Monett – Witt has been one of the most successful and versatile athletes in the Big 8 in recent memory.  The Crowder College signee hit .373 his senior year with a 7 extra base hits, 25 RBI and 31 runs.  He was also one of the Cubs’ most productive pitchers, going 7-2 with a 3.57 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched.

 
Cody Malan, Sr, New Covenant – Nicknamed the "Minnesota Moose", Malan made the most of his only season at New Covenant.  The Minnesota transfer led the Warriors to the final four with a 9-0 record, 1.03 ERA.  He struck out 85 batters in 69 innings, including a spectaular playoff stretch in which he threw 247 pitches in a nine day span.  The Springfield Leadoff Club Player of the Year also hit .387 with 24 RBI and 22 runs.

 
HONORABLE MENTION
 
Kyle Smith, Sr, Willard (signed w/ Ft Scott CC) – 8-1, 2.09 ERA, 1 save
Zac Shoemaker, Jr, Aurora – 9-2, .568 ERA, 77 K, .160 opp. avg
Andrew Meier, Sr, Dixon (signed with SBU) – 4-1, 1.42 ERA, 39.1 IP, 69 K; .588 avg, 1.564 OPS
Chandler Coates, Sr, Republic (signed w/ New Mexico) – 5-2, 1.28 ERA, 98 K, 71 IP
Luke Hauswirth, Sr, Nixa (signed w/ Kansas St) – 5-4, 1.79 ERA, 54.2 IP, 66 K
Connor Sechler, Jr, Bolivar (MSU verbal) – 6-2, 1.5 ERA, 54.2 IP, 71 K
Logan Thomazin, So, Walnut Grove – .462 avg, 3 HR, 11 2B, 28 RBI; 3-3, 1.69 ERA, 29 IP, 46 K
Hayden Jeffryes, Jr, Walnut Grove – 7-1, 1.23 ERA, 51 IP, 68 K; .386, 42 runs
Gage Atchley, Sr, Licking – .430 avg, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 34 runs; 4 wins, 1.82 ERA, 84 strikeouts in 46.2 IP
Jake Baker, Sr, Galena (signed w/ C of O) – 8-1, .79 ERA, 80 K, 62 IP; .325 avg, 16 RBI, 15 SB
Logan Sorrell, Jr, Galena – 8-3, 1.32 ERA, 94 K, 63.1 IP; .337 avg, 21 RBI
Blake Lutgen, Sr, Strafford (signed with Valparaiso) – .356 avg, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 20 SB
Carter Prewitt, Sr, Diamond – .451 avg, 22 runs, 22-22 SB; 5-4, 2.59 ERA, 78 K, 57 IP
Payton Oehlschlager, Sr, Mt Vernon – .407 avg, 15 RBI, 18 SB, 0 errors in outfield
Mason Dickemann, Jr, Catholic (verbal to Missouri St) – .402 avg, HR, 23 RBI, 14 SB; 5-1, 2.33 ERA, 60 K, 48 IP
Jacob Dermott, So, Liberal – 4-3, 1.01 ERA, 48 IP, 36 K, 1.22 WHIP; .427 avg, 32 runs
Ty Lumley, Sr, Fair Grove – 3-5, 1.57 ERA, 62 IP, 83 K (13.2 inning hitless stretch)
Jon Arzt, Jr, Salem – 6-1, 1.14 ERA, 67.1 IP, 63 K; .402 avg, 4 HR, 23 RBI
Wiley Miller, Jr, Plato – .427 avg, HR, 34 RBI; 8-2, 2.62 ERA, 68 K
Conner Hathaway, Sr, Plato – .389 avg, 4 HR, 40 RBI; 7-1, 1.19 ERA, 98 K
Brant Schaffitzel, Jr, Hillcrest – .433 avg, .972 fielding % at 2B
Wyatt Sparks, So, Aurora – 9-1, 1.98 ERA, 92 K, 63.1 IP; .376 avg, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 29 runs
Dustin Videmschek, Sr, Purdy – .494 avg, school record 43 hits; Ozark 7 Player of the Year
Cameron Charlton, Jr, Macks Creek – .494 avg, 28 RBI, 5 strikeouts in 100 PA; 35% caught stealing
Bryston Hooten, Jr, Crane – .451 avg, 10 2B, 2 3B, HR, 19 RBI, 20 runs, 15-15 SB
Mason Sanders, Jr, Lincoln – .462 avg, HR, 30 RBI
Chris Amtower, Sr, Clever (Evangel signee) – 7-3, 1.71 ERA, 65.1 IP, 65 K
Ian Meyer, Jr, Monett – .418 avg, HR, 33 RBI, 9 SB; 5-0, 1.67 ERA, 37.2 IP, 39 K
Zach Burgherr, Jr, Monett – .446 avg, 33 runs, 24 SB
Clayton Engel, Sr, Ozark (signed w/ Drury) – .337 avg, .605 slug, 1.054 OPS, 27 RBI; 2-0, 4 saves, .15.2 IP, .894 ERA, 26 K