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Fourteen area athletes crack all Pride of Iowa

Mount Ayr's Jaixen Frost celebrates after one of his four home runs. As a freshman, Frost hit .610, third highest in the state, and was a first-team all Pride of Iowa selection.
Mount Ayr's Jaixen Frost celebrates after one of his four home runs. As a freshman, Frost hit .610, third highest in the state, and was a first-team all Pride of Iowa selection.

Creston News Advertiser area athletes placed 14 players on the Pride of Iowa all-conference team for baseball.

Mount Ayr led the group with two first-team selections in Jaixen Frost and Briar Knapp. Nodaway Valley’s Tyler Vandewater was selected as well with Colton Gordon from Lenox rounding out the first-team group.

On the second team, Lenox placed Zach Schmitz, Cullen Wood and Keegan Christensen. Caelen DeVault from Nodaway Valley and Southwest Valley’s Tyler Pearson each made their way on the second team.

East Union’s Levi Exline, Mount Ayr’s Kolben Klommhaus, Jonathon Weaver for Lenox, Mason Menefee for Nodaway Valley and Southwest Valley’s Brendan Knapp were the final five area players to round out the honorable mention group.

First team

Frost was a strong all-around player for the Raiders in his freshman season. He finished with a .610 batting average, third in the state, and four home runs, tied for first in the conference. Frost also had a .627 on-base percentage, fourth in the conference. He also drove in 22 RBIs. On the mound, Frost was limited, but effective. Through 8 1/3 innings, he allowed three hits and struck out 14.

Briar Knapp was another force for the Raiders. At the plate, he hit .432 with a .537 on-base percentage, driving in 12 runs with one home run. Briar Knapp doubled up for Mount Ayr, tallying a team-leading 25 innings pitched. With 34 strikeouts and opponents hitting .185 off of him, Knapp finished the season with a 2.80 ERA.

For Nodaway Valley, Vandewater was the leader for the Wolverines doing the catching duty. Vandewater hit .409 in his senior season, finishing ninth in the conference with a .562 on-base percentage. He also drove in 11 RBIs and threw out six runners behind the plate, second in the conference.

Lenox’s Gordon made the first-team selection by doing it all for the Tigers. At the plate, Gordon hit .373 with a .529 on-base percentage and drove in 10 runs. On the base paths, Gordon was 16-for-17 stealing while throwing out five batters, fourth in the conference. Gordon also pitched for the Tigers, striking out 16 batters in 9 2/3 innings.

Second team

Schmitz, Wood and Christensen were each strong performers for the Tigers, making the second team. Schmitz had a .365 on-base percentage while striking out 12 runs in 18 innings. Wood hit .447, ninth in the conference, with a .567 on-base percentage, eighth in the conference. In 16 1/3 innings, Wood’s opponents batted .148, eighth in the conference. Christensen hit .367 for the Tigers, driving in 15 runs and struck out 17 in 24 innings.

DeVault hit .315, driving in 15 runs and finished with a .422 on-base percentage. He also threw 23 2/3 innings, striking out 28 batters. Pearson was third in the conference for batting average, hitting .536, and drove in seven runs with three doubles and one RBI. On the mound, Pearson struck out 13 in the 13 innings.

Honorable mention

Exline was a key piece for East Union, driving in seven runs with a .333 bating average and four doubles. Weaver had 19 base hits with a .491 on-base percentage. Klommhaus had one home run and one triple, hitting .432 catching for Mount Ayr. Menefee drove in 17 runs on 12 hits, hitting .340 on the season. Brendan Knapp had two of his 11 hits accounting for doubles and hit .306 during his sophomore campaign.

First Team

Isaac Gavin, Martensdale-St. Marys, Sr.*; Brennan Sefrit, Bedford, Sr.*; Briar Knapp, Mount Ayr, Jr.; David Walker, Central Decatur, Sr.; Tyler Vandewater, Nodaway Valley, Sr.; Bryce Hall, SE Warren, SR*; Kasey Carter, Martensdale-St. Marys, So.; Jaixen Frost, Mount Ayr, Fr.; Michel Evertsen, Central Decatur, Sr.; Mason Merfeld, SE Warren, Jr.; Troy Holt, Martensdale-St. Marys, Jr.; Carson Elbert, Martensdale-St. Marys, Jr.; Cole Cassady, Martensdale-St. Marys, Sr.; Dylan Swaney, Bedford, Jr.; Colton Gordon, Lenox, Sr.

Second Team

Zach Schmitz, Lenox, Sr.; Bret Whitehall, Wayne, Sr.; Matt Hughes, Martensdale-St. Marys, So.; Caelen DeVault, Nodaway Valley, So.; Jack Franey, Martensdale-St. Marys, Jr.; Tanner Dierking, SE Warren, Jr.; Gunner Fogle, Wayne, Sr.; Trey Baker, Martensdale-St. Marys, Jr.; Cullen Wood, Lenox, Jr.; Tyler Pearson, SW Valley, Sr.; Keegan Christensen, Lenox, Jr.; TJ Fallis, Central Decatur, Jr.; Cade Nelson, SE Warren, SO.

Honorable Mention

Jordan Perkins, Bedford, Sr.; Matthew Boothe, Central Decatur, So.; Levi Exline, East Union, Sr.; Johnathan Weaver, Lenox, So.; Kolben Klommhaus, Mount Ayr, Sr.; Sean Miklus, Martensdale-St. Marys, Sr.; Mason Menefee, Nodaway Valley, Jr.; Brenden Knapp, SW Valley, So.; Brock Manser, SE Warren, So.; Brady Langloss, Wayne, Sr.

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