BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — The Mirror is pleased to announce its selections for its 19th All-Mirror baseball teams.
This year’s teams are comprised of 52 baseball players from Northern Lakes League schools and are divided into first, second and third teams.
Unlike all-league voting, the players were chosen by their exact defensive positions and for their skills and achievements, with no special consideration given to the players’ grade levels.
Another difference is that the selections were based on overall year-end statistics, including non-league and tournament games.
Over the past 20 years, the NLL has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the strongest leagues in Ohio. Its teams regularly qualify for district, regional and even state tournaments, with a high percentage of graduating seniors continuing their careers in college.
The league races often come down to the wire, sometimes with three or four teams in the hunt for a title.
The 2019 season was no exception.
Six of the NLL’s eight teams finished the season with double-digit wins and five advanced all the way to the district finals or further.
Picked to finish as a runner-up, second-year coach Jim Beaverson led his Bowling Green team to a league championship with an 11-3 NLL mark.
With talented players such as Peyton Beaverson, Tucker Craft, Isaac Elsasser, Nick Foster, Mitch Fry, Bryce Hoehner, Kyle Jackson, Christian Peek and Luke Roberts on their roster, the Bobcats went on to earn a district title before suffering a 1-0 loss to state semifinalist Van Wert in the regional semifinals.
BG ended up ranked No. 3 in the Division II state poll and finished with an overall record of 23-5.
Beaverson was named The Mirror’s Coach of the Year following the season and Jackson – his star pupil – earned the publication’s title of Player of the Year after posting the highest batting average in the 20-year history of its teams (no team was chosen in 2012).
In his 34th season at Perrysburg, coach Dave Hall’s Yellow Jackets were the NLL runners-up this year at 10-4.
Hall led players such as Nate Ball, Luke Borer, Clay Denstorff, Brock Fryden-lund, Camron Githens, Daniel Krueger, Bryan Mitchell, Aiden Pratt and Hayden Smith to an overall record of 19-11 and a trip to the district finals.
Ball was considered as a possible Player of the Year for his success both at the plate and on the mound.
Coach Mark Nell led Anthony Wayne to a third-place mark of 9-5 in his 19th season.
The Generals’ lineup, which included Austin Drewes, Hogan Heck, Carter and Conner Holck, Connor Judy, Camron Kottenbrock, Garret Pike and Zac Szul, ended up posting an overall record of 20-10.
Anthony Wayne also captured a district title before dropping a 7-2 game to Southview in the regional semifinals.
Napoleon was 2019’s biggest surprise.
Originally picked to finish seventh, coach Jason Holubik’s Wildcats notched a fourth-place mark of 7-7 in his fourth season.
Napoleon finished with an overall record of 12-16 and standouts Jake Smith and Landon Willeman helped the Wildcats advance to the district semifinals.
Willeman, who has been one of the NLL’s top pitchers the past two seasons, was also considered as a Player of the Year and Holubik was considered as a Coach of the Year.
A 2002 Mirror Coach of the Year when he coached at Northview, Kevin Danzeisen led Southview to a fifth-place league mark of 6-8 and an overall record of 17-13.
Players such as Connor Bush, Logan Danzeisen, Jakob Harshman, Parker McClure, Michael Melville, Nick Rogenskia and Bailey Wietrzykowski helped the team advance all the way to the regional championship game – the furthest an NLL team went this year.
Seventh-year coach Greg Szparka’s Northview Wild-cats tied Southview for fifth place at 6-8.
With players such as Spencer Atkins, Andrew Crooks, Grant Hartnett, Cole Kwiatkowski, Connor McCann, Will Street, Logan Teil and Joel Winner leading the charge, Northview posted an overall mark of 15-14 and made it all the way to the district championship game before dropping a 2-0 game to Anthony Wayne.
First-year coach Todd Ery led Maumee to a conference record of 5-9 and an overall mark of 9-15, despite returning just three starters from the previous season.
The top Panthers players included Evan Barker, Caden Brookshier, Zach Marvin and Austin Pauken.
Springfield’s 2019 season was a tough one both on and off the field.
Coach Dave Whitmire battled health issues during his 11th year as the team’s skipper and the Blue Devils finished up with a league mark of 2-12 and an overall record of 4-23.
This year’s squad included Matt Christoffers, Garret Harper, Jacob Heizelman, Carter McGannon and Tristan Todorowski.
The Mirror congratulates this year’s 27 senior members – eight of whom will be playing baseball at the collegiate level next year.
With the remaining 25 players slated to return, 2020 promises to be another exciting season in the NLL.