Beasts of the east: Cloverbelt East announces all-conference baseball, softball teams
By Paul Lecker
The Cloverbelt Conference East Division all-conference teams for baseball and softball were released earlier this month.
Marshfield Columbus Catholic senior Tyler Fuerlinger and Spencer junior Hunter Luepke were among the 10 first-team selections to the 2017 All-Cloverbelt Conference East Division Baseball Team, as voted on by the conference coaches.
Spencer junior Caden Schillinger was a second-team selection, and both the Dons and Rockets had a pair of honorable mention choices: Bryce Fuerlinger and Charles Payant for Columbus and Dom Wichlacz and Carson Hildebrandt for Spencer.
Tyler Fuerlinger hit .390 and was 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts for the Dons; Payant was the Dons’ top pitcher, going 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA; and Bryce Fuerlinger hit .354.
“Tyler’s a great young man both on and off the field and a true leader,” Columbus Catholic coach Joe Seitz said. “Charles has a good curveball and was able to keep hitters off balance. He always has a smile on his face and never let anything bother him while he was on the mound. Bryce played centerfield and pitched, having never pitched before, but he is an excellent athlete who I knew could handle it. He gives 100 percent effort every day.”
Luepke was the Rockets’ top hitter and also picked up seven of the team’s 11 victories on the mound, helping Spencer reach the WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinals.
“Hunter is one of the best athletes around,” Spencer coach Tim Buttke said. “He did it all for us: pitched, hit for average, hit for power. He’s as mentally tough as they come and a great leader.
“Caden was big for us all year. He’s extremely talented. His bat was huge for our offense all season.”
Loyal senior Riley Geiger was named conference Player of the Year.
Conference champion Spencer had seven players named to the 2017 All-Cloverbelt Conference East Division Softball Team, including four first-team selections.
Seniors Jenna Schober, Katie Fleischman, and Cinnamin Harwood and sophomore pitcher Tiffany Meinders were first-team picks for Spencer, which won its third-straight Cloverbelt East championship with a perfect 14-0 record.
Schober batted .414 with 21 RBIs, Harwood scored a team-high 26 runs scored while batting .455, and Meinders hit .404 with a team-best 32 RBIs and two home runs. Meinders also pitched all but 11 innings all season, compiling a 13-3 record with a 1.81 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 81 innings.
Senior Courtney Buss and juniors Lexi Baehr and Sadie Mercier were second-team selections for the Rockets.
Mercier led the Rockets in batting with a .482 average and scored 25 runs, Baehr had one home run and 17 RBIs, and Buss hit .348 with 19 runs scored and 12 RBIs.
“We had a very good season overall,” Spencer coach Jason Gorst said. “I was really proud of all of our girls. Tiffany was certainly one of the best players in the conference. The combination of her pitching and hitting really was remarkable. Jenna, Cinnamin, and Katie all really came through to have big senior seasons. This was the first time we have had four players make first team. Courtney Buss also had another great season to finish out a stellar career, and Sadie and Lexi will be back along with Tiffany to lead a promising team in 2018.”
Marshfield Columbus Catholic’s lone all-conference representative was sophomore Maren Seefluth, who was a second-team choice.
Seefluth hit .471 (16-for-34) with 11 runs scored and eight RBIs.
“I witnessed before the season got underway that Maren Seefluth acted like a very confident player in her ability,” Columbus Catholic coach Arnie Neubauer said. “I was proud of how she carried it onto the field of play for the Dons. I stressed during the season to Maren that she has the next level ability in her arsenal, and she performed to that level in conference play. I’m very happy how she executed the new style I was applying to get the best out of her ability.”
Greenwood junior Kaylee Learman was chosen as the conference’s Player of the Year after an impressive campaign in which she was also named the Wisconsin Softball Coaches Association Division 5 State Player of the Year.
Learman hit a whopping .727 (48-for-66) with 16 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 54 runs scored. In addition to her hit total, she was walked 30 times and had an on-base percentage of .783 and a slugging percentage of 1.742. She also went 13-6 as a pitcher with a 2.58 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched.