Panthers' Zac Cain on All-State first team

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

Sophomore first baseman Zac Cain of Plymouth was voted to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association 2013 all-state summer baseball first team.

The Panthers, who won the Eastern Wisconsin Conference title and finished 24-4-1 overall, have one second-team pick in junior catcher Luke Held. Earning honorable mention for PHS are senior pitcher Ryan Schieble, junior shortstop Clay Henning and sophomore outfielder Tyler Willeford.

Each player was also named to the All-EWC first team this past season.

Cain had an outstanding season on offense – batting .456 with 31 RBIs, nine doubles, one home run and 37 runs scored. He had a .589 slugging percentage and an on-base average of .509. Cain’s defense was strong with a .995 fielding average as he made only one error on the season.

“Zac had a big year for us while playing a sound first base,” said Panther head coach Butch Cain.

“He displayed a great deal of hustle which showed up on the bases while finishing second [on the team] in stolen bases. His pitch recognition, plate discipline and ability to put the ball in play were evident while striking out two times during the entire 2013 campaign.”

Held was impressive at the plate and at catcher. He hit .387 with 30 RBIs, 10 doubles, one triple, one homer, 14 runs, .466 onbase average and a .548 slugging percentage.

Held threw out an impressive 11 runners trying to steal out of 29 attempts.

“Luke had an unbelievably successful year from the catcher position for us while helping our pitchers realize some great performances,” said the coach.

“He called many super games and blocked an enormous amount of pitches for the team. He was able to control the opposition’s running game while showing a strong, accurate and consistent throwing arm.

“His offense from the cleanup position in our lineup also paid great dividends.”

Schieble had a terrific year on the mound with an 8-1 record and a 1.13 ERA. The right-hander struck out 50 batters, walked 25 and allowed only 47 hits in 62 innings.

“Ryan had a fine year for us while leading us in appearances [13], wins and innings pitched. Ryan was again a big part of our team’s success as he continued to get better each year he competed with us,” said coach Cain.

Henning was outstanding in the leadoff spot for the Panthers. He batted .398 with 38 runs, 22 steals, 13 RBIs, and one double, triple and home run each. Henning had an impressive .521 on-base percentage with a .505 slugging average.

“Clay had an outstanding year in all aspects of the game. He played awesome at shortstop and made many difficult plays while playing every inning for us this year,” the coach pointed out.

“His importance as our leadoff hitter did not go unnoticed.”

Willeford had a strong season, offensively, with a .364 batting average, 26 RBIs, 30 runs, 11 doubles, one triple and 19 steals. He had a .442 on-base percentage and a .511 slugging average. Willeford committed zero errors for the season.

“Tyler had another fantastic year for us in the outfield, making many fine plays from left and center field,” said coach Cain.

“Offensively, he led us in doubles with 11 and was third in RBIs with 26. Tyler’s hard work and hustle were very important to our overall accomplishments.

“We are very proud of these individual awards as they reflect hugely on the team’s overall success throughout our 2013 season,” said the coach.

“The play of these young men played a huge part in Plymouth leading the EWC in virtually every offensive, defensive and pitching category during the year. Plymouth’s recognition on the all-state team became possible because of the teamwork displayed on the field by all of our team members and their combined efforts.”

Two other area players earned first-team recognition – junior infielder Nate Heili of Sheboygan Falls and senior outfielder Christian O’Donnell of Cedar Grove- Belgium.

Other area players who made honorable mention include: junior pitcher Calvin Stefanczyk and sophomore catcher Noah Fink of Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler; sophomore infielder Jeremy Wichmann, Ozaukee; and junior utility player Tyler Hartmann of Oostburg.

Held earned summer baseball all-state academic first-team honors, and Henning and PHS junior outfielder Luke Hojnacki received second team.

Sheboygan Falls’ James Wiesenthal, Mike Raeder, Mike Bonner and Heili, and Lutheran/ Kohler’s Nate Tures are on the first unit. To qualify for all-state academic honors, a player must be at least a junior and have a 3.75 grade-point average for the first team and a 3.50-3.74 GPA for second.

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