By Lenny Sementi
Adam Carver took over the reins of a Tuscola Baseball program this year that has high expectations every single year and the newcomer to the third base coach’s box didn’t miss a beat. He leaned on a strong senior class and a pair of junior pitchers to produce a 30-3 record overall, ending their year at the Pleasant Plains Super Sectional after winning the Georgetown Regional and the Bloomington Central Catholic Sectional. Carver’s crew also posted a 14-0 mark in the Central Illinois Conference to win the league. They scored 309 runs, averaging just under 10-runs per game.
Nine players in all made the CIC All Conference team, four of which landed on the CIC’s first team. Seniors Cade Kresin and Brayden VonLanken were joined by juniors Lucas Kresin and Logan Tabeling as first team All CIC honoree C. Kresin was one of just two players garnering Unanimous Choice honors. The Warriors’ third baseman hit third all season long for coach Carver, ending the year near the top of all offensive lists in the area. He stepped to the plate 129 times this season, posting a .509 batting average producing 57 hits, including nine homeruns, scored 43 runs and pushed a team and area best 51 runs across the plate.
Vonlanken, the Warriors’ MVP and a 1st team All Area News Gazette selection, pounded out 47 hits, an area best 11 homeruns and 46 RBI’s while holding down first base on defense. He also set up behind the dish down the stretch when L. Kresin was on the mound. Kresin was the Warriors’ starting catcher most of the time but also served as Carver’s number two on the hill. The junior letter winner threw 59.1 innings ending the year with a 9-2 record overall striking out 79 while walking a mere three batters the entire year. Tabeling, the club’s ace, was nearly unhittable and was unbeaten going 8-0 striking out an area best 126 batters earning him 1st Team All Area News Gazette accolades. He also provided some punch to the lineup ending the year with a .338 batting average.
Senior Will Little moved to the infield for his fourth and final year as a Warrior, residing at second base. Little donated a .347 batting average to the cause that included 39 hits, three homeruns, 37 runs scored and 29 RBI’s to grab 2nd Team All CIC honors and the team’s Most Improved Player award. His classmate Haden Cothron patrolled center field, posting a .950 fielding percentage committing just two errors on more than 40 chances. He went yard twice for the first year coach and flashed some speed on the bases. Another fourth year player Cameron Ochs was in left all season long and hit .354, scored 29 runs and drove in 19 RBIs, hauling in All CIC honorable mention honors.
Another senior letter winner Michael Ludwig served as a utility player for Carver. He appeared in 10 games throwing 16 innings and was 1-0 on the year. He also saw time in the infield and was big on the base paths as a pinch runner. Ludwig scored the walk off run to beat St Joe Ogden in the Sectional Championship following a single to left by junior Ryan Bartley. Bartley, an honorable mention All CIC player, also threw the pill ending the year with a 5-0 record. He accumulated 36 hits and 13 RBIs while batting .367 during the spring. Max Wyninger, another third year and All CIC honorable mention player, served as the DH hitting three homeruns and 10 doubles. Jonah Pierce was part of the battery at times throughout the year behind the dish earning him a varsity letter.
Sophomores Cole Cunningham and Nate Koester both spent time on the varsity diamond and will be big for coach Carver in the future. Koester will be a big arm on the hill for the Warriors while Cunningham will help both on the mound and in the middle infield. Freshman Jalen Quinn secured a varsity letter and an All CIC honorable mention nod, flashing the leather at shortstop. He hit leadoff most of the season hitting .404 on the year with 38 hits, five homeruns, 25 RBIs, scored 40 runs and stole a team best 25 bases.