By Paul Lecker
Stratford senior pitcher/shortstop Cole Hoffman was named the Player of the Year and was one of three Tigers to earn unanimous first-team honors on the 2017 All-Marawood Conference South Division Baseball Team.
Hoffman was fifth in the conference in hitting with a .405 average (15 of 37) and tied for first in runs scored with 15. He also hit one home run, had 12 RBIs, stole six bases, and was 3-1 pitching with a 2.78 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings.
Joining Hoffman on the first team for Stratford were sophomore Kade Ehirke and senior Lucas Heidmann.
Heidmann had a 2.47 ERA and a 2-1 record on the mound for Stratford, and Ehrike was second in the conference in batting at .452 (14-for-31) with one home run, seven RBIs, and 15 runs scored to tie Hoffman for the conference lead.
“Cole’s offense really made teams stay away from pitching him anything over the plate,” Stratford coach Brad Grube said. “He did a nice job as our shortstop and pitched for us as well. Lucas was our team leader in ERA and did a really good job keeping hitters off-balance.”
Auburndale sophomore Colton Wright was also a unanimous first-team pick after hitting .333 with six RBIs and eight runs scored. Wright was 1-1 on the mound with a 1.77 ERA, 19 strikeouts, and 23 2/3 innings pitched.
Auburndale seniors Logan Willfahrt and Caleb Weinfurter and Stratford senior Dakota Singer and sophomore Dylan Schoenherr were second-team selections.
“(Colton) is a future player of the year candidate in the conference,” Auburndale coach Mark Brost said. “Caleb had the best changeup in the conference, and Logan was the best blocking catcher I’ve ever coached.”
Weinfurter was 2-2 with a 1.64 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings pitched. Willfahrt hit .250 with seven runs scored, seven RBIs, and tied for the conference lead with nine steals.
Singer batted .289 with a league-high 14 RBIs, and Schoenherr tied for fourth in RBIs with 12 and hit .375 for the Tigers.
Earning honorable mention status for Auburndale were senior Dylan Altmann and junior Cam Ertl and for Stratford were junior Mark Handrick and sophomore Lance Heidmann.
“Dakota and Kade were offensive threats, and both players did a good job hitting to all fields and working pitchers to help our team succeed,” Grube said. “I am really looking forward to having Mark and Lance — among the others — back, and I will miss this senior group.”