Journal-World 2021 All-Area baseball team

photo by: File

Free State senior Michael Uhler (left) and Lawrence High senior Carlos Vasquez (right) were named co-players of the year for the Journal-World's all-area baseball team.

Co-players of the year: Michael Uhler, Free State and Carlos Vasquez, Lawrence

During his final season, Uhler was able to baffle opponents with his crafty and versatile pitching. He appeared in 12 games and made 11 starts, and he finished the season with a 7-4 record and a 1.21 ERA. Over 63 2/3 innings, he had 54 strikeouts and 16 walks. He was also named the Sunflower League’s pitcher of the year and earned a first-team all-state selection in Class 6A.

Vasquez made an impact in every game as the starting shortstop for LHS. He had a .417 batting average, 20 RBIs and 22 runs scored, and he smashed three home runs and four triples. He also stole 10 bases. At the end of the season, Vasquez was named to the all-state and all-Sunflower League teams. He plans to play for Missouri State next year.

Coach of the year: Mike Hill, Free State

Free State head coach Mike Hill applauds his players during a rally against Olathe North in the fifth inning on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at Free State High School.

This past season, Free State was only returning two players from the squad that made it to the state championship game. But under Hill’s leadership, Free State still found a way to reload. The Firebirds went 13-10, including a five-game winning streak in April that featured a 16-6 win over Raymore-Peculiar, and they returned to the Class 6A state tournament this year.

First-team selections

photo by: Contributed

Will Bartkoski, Veritas

Will Bartkoski, Veritas — As Veritas’ ace, Bartkoski was always willing to pitch against the toughest opponents — including Blue Valley North. In that matchup, Bartkoski managed to strike out five batters over 5 1/3 innings. His total for the season was 40 strikeouts over 34 innings, and he will continue his career at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Free State senior Drew Bradford rounds second base during a game against Lawrence High Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark on May 11, 2021.

Drew Bradford, Free State — Bradford was the team’s leadoff hitter, and he delivered plenty of quality at-bats, including the game-winning hit in an upset win over Wichita West in the regional championship. In his final year at Free State, he had an on-base percentage of .437 and a .294 batting average, and he scored 24 total runs.

photo by: Contributed

Mason Davenport, Tonganoxie

Mason Davenport, Tonganoxie — By the end of his junior campaign, Davenport emerged as Tonganoxie’s go-to guy on the mound. He went 6-3 this season with a 1.96 ERA, striking out 55 batters and walking 14 over 46 1/3 innings. Davenport finished the year by shutting out Independence, 1-0, in the regional opener, and he was a first-team all-state selection.

photo by: Contributed

James Eaton, Tonganoxie

James Eaton, Tonganoxie — Eaton was behind the dish for every inning of Tonganoxie’s 2021 season. The senior catcher shut down opposing run games, and as a hitter he had a .486 batting average. He was named to the all-Frontier League first team, and he will soon be playing both football and baseball at Highland Community College.

photo by: Contributed

Gehrig Goldbeck, Tonganoxie

Gehrig Goldbeck, Tonganoxie — Goldbeck, one of the top infield prospects in the state, was the team’s leadoff hitter and drew 26 walks this past season. He had a .450 batting average, excelled on defense from his shortstop position, and was voted to the all-Frontier League first team and the Class 4A second team.

photo by: Contributed

Lawrence High’s Braden Hoffman gets in his stance in the basepaths during a game this past spring in the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Melissa Hoffman.

Braden Hoffman, Lawrence — Hoffman had a quality at-bat nearly every time he stepped to the plate this spring. The junior outfielder finished with a .460 batting average and a 1.089 OPS. He had 10 RBIs and three doubles, scored 10 runs and stole six bases, and he was named to the all-Sunflower League second team.

Gavin Lang, Baldwin — The Bulldogs’ starting catcher did it all this past spring, with a batting average of .328, 16 RBIs and seven runs scored. He also had two doubles and two triples, and his on-base percentage was .431.

photo by: Contributed

Jaykob Lemonds, Eudora

Jaykob Lemonds, Eudora — Lemonds led his team in wins in his junior campaign and earned an all-state honorable mention as a closer. He went 4-1 with three saves and a 3.18 ERA, striking out 28 batters over 33 innings. At regionals, he earned the save in the first game and then no-hit Tonganoxie for 4 2/3 innings of the regional championship.

photo by: Contributed

Sebastian Lewis, Eudora

Sebastian Lewis, Eudora — In his final season, Lewis was the team’s top pitcher, but he also batted cleanup and played outfield on days when he wasn’t pitching. He had a .360 batting average and 19 RBIs, and he made the all-state second team and the all-Frontier League first team.

photo by: Contributed

Dawson Williams, Perry-Lecompton

Dawson Williams, Perry-Lecompton — Williams played all over the field and hit .366 with a .451 on-base percentage during his senior year. He was the team’s leadoff hitter, and he finished with 26 hits and scored 20 runs.

Honorable mention

Gunnar Ball, Perry-Lecompton; Ike Cobb, Lawrence; TJ Crews, Veritas; Evan Gottstein, Perry-Lecompton; Keaton Herron, Eudora; Gavin Hobson, Eudora; Josiah Ming, Veritas; Devin Neal, Lawrence; Ben Stallard, Free State; Draven Webb, Veritas; Colby Zimmerman, Baldwin.


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