With a new coach coming in, it appears that there's a centerpiece to build around for the Clinton High School baseball team,
Sophomore Cody Collender led the River Kings in most offensive statistics, and he has been rewarded with a spot on the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 4A All-Southeast District second team at second base.
"I'm very happy with that," said Trent Snowden, who earlier this week submitted his resignation after serving two decades as Clinton's baseball coach. "Cody definitely is very deserving."
The 4A Southeast District included all the Mississippi Athletic Conference teams except Davenport Assumption, a 3A team. Collender was an honorable-mention pick on the MAC honor squad.
"The way these meetings go, a lot of kids are nominated and some kids go to other positions
Collender was one of 12 area players honored by the coaches.
Five of them earned first-team honors, including sophomore Colton Bormann, who helped Preston reach the Class 1A state tournament for the second year in a row. Northeast junior DJ Fulton received first-team honors in Class 2A, Central DeWitt senior Brandon Jasper and Maquoketa senior outfielder Robert River were first-team picks in 3A, and Calamus-Wheatland senior outfielder Todd Daehn also was cited in 1A.
Daehn's Cal-Wheat team had the most players honored, with junior pitcher John Diercks and senior outfielder Jeff Mente making the 1A second team in the Southeast District. Other second-team selections were Northeast junior pitcher Mitch Haferbier in the 2A Northeast District, Camanche senior pitcher Brady Grell in the 2A Southeast District, Central DeWitt senior pitcher Tom Nodurft in the 3A Southeast District and Maquoketa junior pitcher Chase Coakley in the 3A Northeast District.
Bormann was named first team at third base. He had a .589 batting average, third best in the state, with three home runs and 37 RBIs. Fulton led Northeast with a .509 average, slugged 10 home runs and drove in 52 runs. Jasper batted .420 with 18 doubles, five triples, one home run, 35 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He also walked 24 times and struck out just four times. Daehn batted .422 with a home run, 30 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. River had a .423 average, nine homers and 39 RBIs.
The pitchers who made the second team posted some impressive numbers, too. Grell, a ,434 batter with six homers and 29 RBIs, had a 5-1 record and 3.64 ERA. Nodurft was 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA, Haferbier was 7-2 on the mound with a 3.27 ERA. He walked 33 and struck out 72 batters in 51 1⁄3 innings. Diercks was 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA, and Coakley was 5-2 with a 3.75 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 52 1⁄3 innings.
Cal-Wheat's other second-team pick, Mente, batted .423 with a team-high 10 doubles.
Collender finished his first season on the varsity atop the list in most statistical categories. He batted .371 in 30 games with six home runs, eight doubles and 20 RBIs. He also was 11 for 11 stealing bases and had a .425 on-base percentage (second on the team) from his leadoff spot.
"He led the team in average, home runs, stolen bases — pretty much everything on offense," Snowden said. "He fit in well with the other kids."
Snowden had some of his most successful seasons with Clinton over the past seven years, and he said players like Collender were part of the reason for that.
"We have a nice youth program and travel programs here that have benefited us and keep us getting stronger," Snowden said. "That has made my job easier."