DES MOINES — All-State teams by the Iowa Newspaper Association were unveiled today. The selection is a collaborative effort of coaches and newspaper writers around the state. Five local players were honored with first, second and third team designations in the 2A, 3A and 4A classes.
State semifinalist Clinton received one nod on the second team roster. Second baseman Cody Collender led the River Kings in home runs, RBIs, batting average and steals while helping the team to a deep playoff run. Five other Mississippi Athletic Conference players joined Collender: pitcher Derek Burkamper (Muscatine) and infielder Brandon Engler (North Scott) were first teamers; catcher Trent Herman (Muscatine) joined Collender on the second team; and Justin Hill (pitcher, Bettendorf) and Zach Patterson (outfielder, Burlington) received third team nods.
Collender’s coach, Kevin Cunningham, called the news “a tremendous honor.”
“Obviously I think it’s outstanding to have a kid make first or second team All State. It punctuates the kind of season we’ve had in a way,” Cunningham said.
The coach noted the Collender’s development over the last few seasons. Cunningham said the player evolved from a player who hit solely for power to a well-rounded mainstay of Clinton’s infield.
“He really was receptive to the coaching we gave him at the plate and as far as defense,” Cunningham said. “He became a more complete hitter. He could hit for power but he also learned to swing for base hits or gaps. That’s probably the biggest difference between his junior and senior year.”
In 3A, Central DeWitt was honored with a player on each the first, second and third team. Catcher Jake Thumann led the Sabers from the backstop to a substate finals finish. He was named to the first team, while teammate T.J. Sikkema was the only freshman of any class to receive All-State honors. Sikkema was placed on the 3A second team as an outfielder. Rounding out the Saber selections was senior Austin Lechtenberg, a third team outfielder.