Baseball: Tri-Cities all-area team
Micah Coffey, Batavia
The No. 3 hitter in the middle of Batavia's record-setting 27-7 season, this three-sport star delivered time and again this spring. Coffey led Batavia with a .386 batting average and 11 doubles while adding 3 triples and 3 home runs for a .614 slugging percentage. Drove in 25 runs and scored 34. A second team All-Area selection as a sophomore, this nonstop sports-playing junior also is Batavia's starting quarterback and shooting guard in the fall and winter, respectively. "Micah is very deserving, and he is key to our success," Batavia coach Matt Holm said. "Incredible energy and motor. You want that guy in position to win games for you. When he is coming up in a tough situation, you know he's going to pick up the RBI for you. He's the guy you want up there."
Laren Eustace, Batavia
This junior set the table as one of the premier leadoff hitters around, getting on base at a .463 clip with a school-record 21 stolen bases as the Bulldogs broke their program record with 27 regular season wins on their way to an Upstate Eight Conference River Division co-championship. Eustace also had plenty of pop in his bat with 7 triples, 7 doubles, 3 home runs and a .381 batting average. The lefty also pitched in six games in a closer role and saved three of them. "The speed with the power is incredible," Batavia coach Matt Holm said. "He tried to add a little more power this year. Last year he was happy going the other way and getting base hits. This year he tried to drive the ball more. He sacrificed a little bit of average but his average even with that was tremendous."
Bobby Hess, Geneva
This senior outfielder certainly went out with a bang in leading the Vikings to their seventh straight 20-win season. Hess set a school record with 57 hits and also is the new record-holder for career batting average at .431. Hess was hot all season, finishing with a .471 average, 5 doubles, 3 triples and 9 home runs. Led the team in both runs scored (39) and RBI (38) to make the Upstate Eight All-Conference team. "Bobby had a tremendous season," Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. "He always seemed to come up with a key hit when we needed one."
Luke Horton, Batavia
One of the breakout performers this spring, this senior thrived both on the mound and in the cleanup hole for the Upstate Eight Conference River co-champs. Horton went undefeated at 8-0 in his 10 appearances with a 1.68 ERA in 41 innings. He also hit .356 with 23 RBI, 32 runs, 10 doubles and 15 walks for a .445 on-base percentage. "He is a big-time RBI provider and is one of the pitchers that we were saying we would have to put the weight on," Batavia coach Matt Holm said. "He exceeded any expectations we had on the mound. Being the experienced senior and the leadership he brings to the team, beyond all those numbers the leadership was incredible, and everybody certainly recognized that."
Nick Huskisson, St. Charles East
A 7-1 record with 75 strikeouts and a save certainly spoke to the standout season this senior left-hander had for the Saints. Just think what those numbers could have been if St. Charles East's offense didn't go scoreless over the first 23 innings of his starts? Huskisson stepped up against Geneva in the regional championship game, allowing just an unearned run over 5 innings with 9 strikeouts. He also doubled to help himself, and he indeed was a two-way player batting .323 and tying for the team lead during the regular season with 18 RBI. "He's been very good," Saints coach Len Asquini said. "Fastball, curveball and his changeup. Locates well, moves the ball and we play defense behind him. It's tough to score on him. It's tough to get multiple hits off him, and he doesn't walk people. That keeps those runs down. It's tough to score runs on him, and we've seen that all year."
Matt Limbrunner, Kaneland
This senior, also an All-Area selection in basketball, led Kaneland in nearly every offensive category including batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.423), slugging percentage (.561), triples (2), home runs (3) and RBI (21). Limbrunner also pitched a team-high 45 innings but didn't have a win to show for it despite 23 strikeouts, a 1.85 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. The Knights struggled to score runs this year but this senior did everything he could. "Matty has been a go-to guy all year for us," Knights coach Brian Aversa said. "He's done a great job. He hits the ball well, he pitches excellent, we just can't play defense when he pitches and we don't give him any support. He's been our foundation all year and we've been building off what he does. He comes through for us in a big way."
Matt Miller, Aurora Central Catholic
The Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division Player of the Year, Miller was the driving force behind the Chargers' 27-7 season. Went 6-1 on the mound with a 0.90 ERA, earning his sixth win when he pitched ACC to victory in the regional championship game against St. Edward. The future Heartland College player also hit .400. "Matt Miller is the epitome of what we want here as a student-athlete," Chargers coach Sean Bieterman said. "He competes every inning. Matt has the uncanny ability to pick up his teammates. He has the uncanny ability to challenge his teammates. He's got a great future ahead of him. I couldn't be prouder of him."
Brian Sobieski, St. Charles East
When the Saints needed a clutch hit this year, it was this senior who often delivered — so much so that by the regional championship game Geneva twice elected to put him on intentionally. Sobieski doubled home a run in both the Saints' River-clinching win at St. Charles North and also did it again to break a 1-1 tie in the Saints' regional-opening win over Glenbard East. Drove in 2 more runs in the sectional semis. Led the Saints with 13 doubles and 2 triples while batting .343 with a .515 slugging percentage and team-best 23 RBI. "Brian has really shined for us offensively and has been locked in, outs are hit hard, clutch at-bats, and has been all year," Saints coach Len Asquini said. "In comparison to last year he is a completely different hitter. Has played well at first base for us also. We can't say enough about what he's done this year."
Matt Starai, St. Charles East
Perhaps the most appropriately named player on the team, Starai was indeed a star in his senior season, going 7-1 with 2 saves and a minuscule 0.49 ERA and 62 strikeouts during his 57 innings in the regular season. That included a pair of dominating efforts against the team the Saints wound up tying for the Upstate Eight River title, Batavia, who he shut out twice on two 2-hitters. Starai continued his magic in the postseason by handcuffing Glenbard East on 3 hits with 10 strikeouts in the regional opener, then blanked Lake Park in the sectionals and beat Jacobs in the supersectionals to head to state with a 10-1 record, 84 strikeouts and 0.54 ERA. "His numbers are lights out," Saints coach Len Asquini said. "We knew he was good, we just didn't know how good. Now we are seeing. He's really stepped it up. He's added a repertoire and velocity and location and all those things have been good for him and for us. That's going to elevate him to the next level. I'm super excited for him."
St. Charles North
St. Charles North didn't have much experience this year, which made this senior's contributions that much more important. Not only did he hit a team-best .418 with team-highs of 7 doubles and 24 RBI, he threw out 40 percent of would-be base steals and earned North Stars coach Todd Genke's praise for his leadership. "In my opinion, Ryan was the best all-around catcher in the conference," Genke said. "He obviously had a tremendous year at the plate. He anchored a pretty good pitching staff. In the offseason I challenged Ryan to be more of a leader. As a result his leadership skills were constantly on display throughout the year, whether leading by example or pulling one of his teammates aside and motivating them to give their best effort, Ryan did what was needed."
D.J. Varney, West Aurora
It's not easy going through the lineups of the DuPage Valley Conference, but this West Aurora southpaw did it to the tune of a 6-3 record with a 1.61 ERA. That earned the junior a spot on the DVC all-conference team. Picked up his final victory in West Aurora's regional win over Marmion, holding the Cadets to 1 run in 7 innings. In 56 innings this year Varney struck out 52 hitters and had a 0.98 WHIP. Also was a regular in the lineup with a team-best 7 stolen bases and 19 runs, plus 16 RBI, second on the Blackhawks. "D.J. Varney had a fantastic season," West Aurora coach John Reeves, adding Varney was voted the team's Most Valuable Player.
This article filed under
- Maple Park
- North Aurora
- Sugar Grove
- Aurora Central Catholic High School
- Aurora Christian High School
- Batavia High School
- Geneva High School
- Kaneland High School
- Marmion Academy
- St. Charles East High School
- St. Charles North High School
- West Aurora High School
- Prep Boys
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