The Pendleton Heights Arabians and the Lapel Bulldogs combined for a 32-15 record this season and were the finalists for the Madison County baseball championship, which the Arabians won 7-2.
With both teams posting winning records, there were plenty of individual performances worthy of note to choose from for my first All-South Madison County baseball team.
Pitcher — Chayce McDermott (Pendleton Heights): All season, McDermott showed why Ball State University has recruited him to be on its pitching staff in 2018. He posted a 5-3 record with a 2.29 ERA and struck out 95 batters in just 49 innings of work. He allowed just 42 baserunners to reach base this season.
Pitcher — Seth Baugh (Lapel): Despite just four appearances and 17 innings pitched, Baugh stood out. The sophomore allowed just 10 hits and two walks while striking out 16 and posted a 2-1 record, which included a 2-0 no-hitter late in the season at New Castle.
Catcher — John Sherwood (Lapel): This senior is a dual threat who was second on the team with a .346 average and led the Bulldogs with 18 hits. Defensively, he was tough to run on and was credited with calling every pitch of Baugh’s no-hitter.
First base — Levi Frazier (Lapel): Frazier also pitched and played left field, but no matter where he played, he flat-out hit. The junior led Lapel with a .390 average, four doubles, 16 runs scored, a .536 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.056.
Second base — Phillip Lawson (Pendleton Heights): Smooth as can be defensively (.985), Lawson posted great offensive numbers as well. He led the Arabians with 24 hits and seven doubles while hitting an even .300 with a home run. Lawson will play at Indiana University-South Bend next season.
Third base — Cameron Holycross (Lapel): After just seven plate appearances as a sophomore, Holycross also gets my nod as “Newcomer of the Year.” The junior hit .325 this season, which included a team-best two triples, and he drove in 11.
Shortstop — Rene Casas (Pendleton Heights): After locking up the starting job in the second game, the sophomore showed flashes of brilliance in the field in his first varsity season. Although his .865 fielding percentage could improve, he surprised at the plate, hitting a cool .271 with a pair of doubles.
Outfield — Dustin Dowden (Lapel), Corbin Cox (Pendleton Heights) and Jake Harris (PHHS): The senior leader for the Bulldogs, Dowden hit .304 with three doubles and 10 RBI at the top of the order. He also played error-free ball in center field with two outfield assists. Cox, the winning pitcher in the county title game, supplied the thunder in the middle of the Arabian lineup. He won the Arabian triple crown with a .379 average, four homers and 17 RBI. Harris was injured early in the season but still did plenty in the 11 games he did play to secure a spot on this team. He hit .444 and was second on the team in RBI (15) and doubles (6). His season included a grand slam and nine RBI in a senior night win against Lapel.
Player of the Year — Eston Stull (Pendleton Heights): Just giving the senior a spot as a pitcher or an outfielder wouldn’t be enough, so I’m naming Stull my Player of the Year. In nine appearances on the mound, the IU-Kokomo recruit was a perfect 8-0 with a microscopic 1.16 ERA. In 42.1 innings, he allowed just 19 hits and struck out 53 batters. When he wasn’t pitching, he was flawless defensively in the outfield and hit .288 with a home run and the only triple of the season for Pendleton Heights. He was also second on the team in hits with 23.