Sears and Bruck earn All-State baseball honors
DES MOINES (Aug. 6) -- Harlan Community’s potent one-two pitching punch earned all-state honors Tuesday as senior Brett Sears and junior Connor Bruck were recognized on the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association’s All-State baseball teams for 2019.
Sears, who was named second-team all-state in 2017 and first-team all-state in 2018 - both times as a pitcher - made this year’s Class 3A first team as an infielder. Bruck, a first-time selection, was cited as a third-team 3A pitcher. Both players were also unanimous first-team All-Hawkeye Ten Conference selections this season after leading the Cyclones to a 26-8 overall record and a tie for second place in the H-10.
Sears capped an outstanding career this summer by leading HCHS with a 1.17 earned run average and 78 strikeouts on the mound and a slash line of .454 (batting avg.)/.550 (on-base pct.)/.685 (slugging pct.) at the plate. He also posted team-highs with 49 hits, four home runs, two triples and 46 RBI while adding 41 runs, nine doubles, 27 walks (to just 7 strikeouts) and 20 stolen bases.
Sears played well-above-average defense at shortstop and first base when he wasn’t pitching but did his best work on the mound with a fastball that generally ranged from the low-to-mid 80s and a hard-breaking curveball. In 54 innings, Sears (8-2) allowed 33 hits and just nine earned runs, walked 13 and had 78 Ks. Opponents batted .171 against him.
Sears, who has signed to play college baseball at NCAA Division I Western Illinois - where he will reunite with older brother Dillon - finished his five-year varsity career with a 36-5 pitching record to break Danny Schiltz’s school record for career victories. He played in 12 state tournament games between his eighth grade and junior years, helping the Cyclones reach four consecutive 3A title games, highlighted by a state championship in 2016.
Bruck, who also played some varsity ball as an eighth-grader, enjoyed his best season yet in 2019 with a sparkling 8-0 record on the mound (1.21 ERA) and a .368 batting average while playing steady defense at both shortstop and third base.
Bruck excels on the mound with top-notch command, throwing in the upper 70s with a sharp breaking ball, consistently hitting his spots and pitching to contact. In 57 and two-thirds innings, he allowed just 31 hits and 14 walks (10 hit batters) while striking out 63. Opponents batted just .157 against him.
Bruck ended up batting in the three hole - just behind Sears - and slashed .368/.511/.472 with 39 total hits, 35 runs, 32 RBI, eight doubles, one homer, 26 walks and 20 stolen bases.
2019 All-State Baseball Senior Captains (IPSWA)
Class 1A: Josh Fitzgerald, Newman Catholic
Class 2A: Jake Hilmer, North Linn
Class 3A: Garrett Finley, Central DeWitt
Class 4A: Peyton Williams, Johnston
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