Vikings open baseball season with senior-laden squad
AVOCA -- A veteran cast of eight seniors has AHSTW poised for a fun 2020 season on the baseball diamond.
The Vikings return seven letter winners - six seniors, one junior - from last year’s 12-12 campaign, and nearly all seven will be playing at least their third season of varsity ball.
AHSTW will be looking to improve on a seventh place finish (7-9) in the Western Iowa Conference last year, when it lost to a talented St. Albert team in the second round of Class 1A districts.
“It is always nice to have a strong group of returning starters,” stated Viking head coach Jason Holst. “Many from this group have started as sophomores or freshmen. It is our hope the experience will really pay off, especially with such a shortened amount of practice time due to the (COVID-19) closure.”
Holst’s squad brings back four All-WIC performers from 2019 in senior first-teamer Sam Porter and second-team selections Brody Langer (sr.), Joey Cunningham (sr.) and Blake Holst (jr.).
Porter was also named first team All-District by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association after batting a team-high .457 with nine doubles, four triples and 22 RBI. He played first base and pitched, leading the Vikes with a 6-3 record and 63 strikeouts in 41 and a third innings, finishing with an earned run average of 3.90.
Cunningham (.408, 25 SB, 27 runs) and Langer (.359, 16 SB, 21 runs) are both returning outfielders while Holst (.371, 15 walks) provides a veteran presence at shortstop. Additional starters back from last year include senior catcher Joel Sampson (.314, 21 RBI), senior corner infielder Clayton Akers (.301, 21 runs) and senior outfielder Joey Goins (.161, 11 RBI).
“I trust them to go out and make the routine plays to put us in positions to be successful,” Holst said. “I also think our experience should help our communication on the field and in the dugout and be a good example to the others on our team."
Akers (4-3, team-best 1.51 ERA), Porter and Cunningham (2-4, 3.37 ERA) combined to pitch 118.3 of last year’s 150 innings and started 18 of the 24 games. The senior trio issued 46 walks while striking out 131.
AHSTW Baseball Profile
12-12 Overall, 7-9 Western Iowa Conf. (7th Place); 1A District Semifinalist.
WIC Tournament: Lost in quarterfinal round.
Postseason Run - def. Fremont-Mills 8-0; lost to St. Albert 16-8.
All-District Honors - Sam Porter: IBCA First Team (Class 1A/Southwest).
All-Western Iowa Conference Honors - Sam Porter, jr. (First Team); Joey Cunningham, jr. (Second Team); Brody Langer, jr. (Second Team); Blake Holst, so. (Second Team).
Team Roster (Grades 8-12) -- Seniors: 1-Joey Cunningham (OF/P)*; 3-Joel Sampson (C)*; 4-Jaedan Rasmussen; 6-Sam Porter (1B/P)*; 13-Brody Langer (OF)*; 18-Clayton Akers (3B/P)*; 21-Joey Goins (OF)*; 28-Lucas Young. Juniors: 8-Jake Kelly; 10-Blake Holst (SS/P)*; 16-David Johnson; 23-Jade Thornton. Sophomore: 12-Jace Peterson. Freshmen: 5-Jacob Coon; 15-Kolby Weihs; 19-Brayden Lund. 8th Graders: 2-Cameron Rolli; 20-Nick Denning; 25-Evan Wendt; 26-Caleb Hatch. (* denotes returning letter winners)
Returning Varsity Stat Leaders
Batting Average: Sam Porter .457 (led team), Joey Cunningham .408, Blake Holst .371, Brody Langer .359, Joel Sampson .314, Clayton Akers .301.
Total Hits: S. Porter 32 (led team), J. Cunningham 31, B. Langer 28, B. Holst 23, C. Akers 22, J. Sampson 22.
Runs Scored: J. Cunningham 27 (led team), S. Porter 22, B. Langer 21, C. Akers 21, B. Holst 18, J. Sampson 11.
Runs-Batted-In: S. Porter 22 (led team), J. Sampson 21, B. Holst 16, Joey Goins 11, J. Cunningham 10, B. Langer 9.
Doubles: S. Porter 9 (led team), J. Cunningham 7, J. Sampson 6, B. Holst 4.
Triples: S. Porter 4 (led team), J. Sampson 1, B. Holst 1.
Walks: B. Holst 15 (led team), S. Porter 14, J. Cunningham 11, B. Langer 9, J. Sampson 7.
Stolen Bases: J. Cunningham 25/27 (led team), B. Langer 16/17, S. Porter 10/10, B. Holst 10/11, J. Sampson 6/6, C. Akers 6/6.
On-Base Percentage: S. Porter .545 (led team), B. Holst .494, J. Cunningham .478, B. Langer .438, J. Sampson .400, C. Akers .378.
Pitching W-L Record: S. Porter 6-3 (led team), C. Akers 4-3.
Innings Pitched: C. Akers 41.7 (led team), S. Porter 41.3, J. Cunningham 35.3.
Earned Run Average: C. Akers 1.51 (led team), J. Cunningham 3.37, S. Porter 3.90, B. Holst 4.94.
WHIP: C. Akers 1.46 (led team), S. Porter 1.50, J. Cunningham 1.50.
Strikeouts: S. Porter 63 (led team), J. Cunningham 39, C. Akers 29.
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