Six Cats named All-BRC baseball
The Wildcat baseball team captured just its second Big Rivers Conference title in program history this season. Now six Wildcats have been honored by the conference coaches with spots on 2019 All-BRC teams.
Four of those players—seniors Adam Feyereisen and Jake Bergmanis, junior Joe Stoffel and sophomore Jaden Schwantz—were named to the All-BRC First Team. Feyereisen is a repeat first team pick while Stoffel and Schwantz were honorable mention in 2018.
Rounding out the Wildcats' 2019 all-conference selections were senior Braden Mork on the second team and sophomore Micheal Krueger honorable mention.
"It was great to see such a powerful presence on this year's all-conference team," said head coach Ryan Bishop. "Not because of the medals or certificates, but because these guys were recognized for the sweat and tears they put in to be the best athletes they can be."
Stoffel shared the BRC Pitcher of the Year award with Menomonie's Jace Kressin after posting a 6-0 record and a 0.83 ERA this season. When he wasn't on the mound he played first base and hit .279 with a home run and 15 RBI, second best on the team.
"Joe had the type of year we hoped and expected him to have," Bishop said. "He's such a talented athlete, and his mound presence can be downright intimidating to opposing hitters. Of course he had the numbers to back things up, but it's Joe's consistency that separates him from the others. Consistency in both his preparation and his execution. We are very fortunate to have Joe back for another year yet."
Feyereisen hit .317, down a little from his junior season, but it was his play in the field that caught the attention of the conference coaches. The senior started all 20 games at shortstop for the Cats and committed just three errors in 137 total innings for a .949 fielding percentage.
"Adam is a highly respected player in the conference and around our part of the state," Bishop noted. "Although his offensive numbers may not have been as high as last year, what Adam brings to our team defensively at the shortstop position cannot be put into words. Although the other BRC coaches don't mind seeing him finally go, we will sorely miss Adam and what he brought to our team the last three years."
Schwantz led the Wildcats in hitting this season with a .418 average with five doubles, two triples, two home runs and a team-high 20 RBI. He also played every inning of every game in centerfield without an error.
"Jaden picked up where he left off last year and really started coming into his own this year," Bishop said. "He anchored our outfield in center and was a spark plug on our offense from the leadoff spot. The other BRC coaches were disappointed to hear he was only a sophomore this year."
Bergmanis rotated between corner infield and catcher for the Cats this season but no matter where he was defensively he provided a punch at the plate, batting .310 overall and .378 against BRC foes.
"Bergy had a great year at the plate in the Big Rivers," Bishop said. "He also manages the game from the catcher position as well as any catcher I've ever coached. Whether catching or playing infield, he is a leader and was no question a pillar on a conference championship team."
Mork, who will head to Bradley University on a baseball scholarship next season, was 4-2 with a 1.37 ERA to earn a spot on the All-BRC Second Team. His 66 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched was second-best in the conference while opponents hit just .149 against him.
"I don't think there's anyone around that wants to face Braden when he's on," Bishop said. "His stats may have been more second team, but his stuff is some of the best in the state. Braden no doubt has a bright future in front of him as he continues to mature as a complete pitcher."
Krueger stepped into the starting second base role as a sophomore and had a breakout season, batting .316 while hitting behind leadoff batter Schwantz in the Wildcat lineup.
"In his first year on varsity Michael stepped in and provided us with a consistent hitter in our two spot," Bishops said. "He's a good bunter, fast on the bases, and can also drive the ball when needed. He's worked hard off the field to become the best athlete he can be and we're excited to have him for a couple more years.
While Bishop congratulated the team's six all conference players, he said true to the team's motto, they were a small part of something much bigger this season.
"Although the other guys may not have received an all-conference award, we had a team filled with all-conference teammates," he said. "We don't win a conference title without that."