Panthers’ Cain all-state first team again

¦ Held, Willeford, Edge, Heili on second unit
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

BUTCH CAIN, shown talking to Luke Held (7) and Zac Cain at the state tournament recently, was voted the WBCA’s Coach of the Year for summer baseball. – Photo by Carla Hojnacki BUTCH CAIN, shown talking to Luke Held (7) and Zac Cain at the state tournament recently, was voted the WBCA’s Coach of the Year for summer baseball. – Photo by Carla Hojnacki Junior Zac Cain of Plymouth was voted to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association all-state summer baseball first team for the second straight year.

Cain, a pitcher/infielder, was selected as an infielder. He has five Panther teammates who also earned all-state recognition. Senior catcher Luke Held and junior center fielder Tyler Willeford are on the second team. Senior shortstop/pitcher Clay Henning, junior pitcher/first baseman Matt Olig and senior second baseman/ pitcher Jake Richards are honorable mention.

Held was also a second-team pick as a junior. Henning and Willeford were honorable mention a year ago. Each of the PHS all-staters are on the All-Eastern Wisconsin Conference first team.

Panther head coach Butch Cain, who guided his team to the Eastern Wisconsin Conference title and a state tournament berth, was voted the WBCA’s Coach of the Year. The Panthers finished 17-1 in the EWC and 28-5 overall.

AUSTIN EDGE AUSTIN EDGE Senior pitcher/first basemanAustin Edge of Howards Grove was named to the secondteam infield. Edge led the Tigers to Central Lakeshore Conference and regional championships. He was the CLC’s Player of the Year.

“A team that has a high level of success makes individual awards more possible. A special team had a special season for PHS on the baseball diamond and in the classroom,” said coach Cain.

Senior Nate Heili of Sheboygan Falls earned second-team honors at the utility position. Heili was a pitcher and shortstop this past season.

Zac Cain, the EWC’s Co-Player of the Year along with Heili, had an impressive season at the plate and on the mound. He batted a red-hot .480 with 44 RBIs, 16 doubles and two triples. Cain scored 36 runs, stole 17 bases out of 18 attempts, had a .508 on-base percentage and a .608 slugging percentage.

LUKE HELD LUKE HELD Cain chalked up a 9-2 record with one save and had a terrific 1.33 ERA. He recorded 80 strikeouts and allowed only 29 hits in 58 innings.

“Zac had another solid season on the diamond. He played well at seven different positions for us, again improved his hitting and pitched effectively for us all season,” said coach Cain [Zac’s father].

“His hard work and determination to improve have allowed him to be more consistent each year at the varsity level.”

Held enjoyed an excellent offensive and defensive season. He hit .418 with 38 RBIs, three home runs, two triples, 12 doubles and 34 runs. Held had a .483 on-base average and a .684 slugging percentage.

ZAC CAIN ZAC CAIN He had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and an impressive 18 assists.

“Luke was the complete defensive player. He controlled the game from calling pitches, defenses, blocking the ball and throwing extremely well. This, along with his offensive prowess, were what set him apart from most all other catchers in the state,” observed coach Cain.

Willeford was impressive on offense with a .368 batting average, 32 RBIs, four triples, seven doubles, 35 runs and 13 steals in 14 attempts. He had a .459 onbase percentage and a .537 slugging average. Willeford also had four assists.

“Tyler had a splendid junior season and displayed his athleticism at the plate, in the field and on the bases. His ability to make plays and get big hits for us at crucial times were also keys to our team’s run to a conference championship and state run,” coach Cain pointed out.

TYLER WILLEFORD TYLER WILLEFORD Edge had an outstanding season on offense – batting .433 and having a .638 on-base percentage. He had 13 RBIs, two doubles, 20 runs and 10 steals in 12 tries.

Edge also excelled as a pitcher – posting an 11-2 record and a 2.29 ERA.

“Austin was very deserving to be all-state. If he doesn’t deserve it, no one does,” said Tiger head coach Mark Weber.

“He was feared as a hitter. He was walked 29 times – striking out only six. It’s obvious that teams were pitching around him.”

Richards hit .393 with 25 RBIs, 32 runs, seven doubles, two triples, six steals and an outstanding .530 on-base percentage.

“Jake had a wonderful senior campaign – leading us in OBP [on-base percentage] while hitting for power and consistency as well. His defense was superb and his pitching was huge in our overall accomplishments,” said the PHS coach.

Henning batted .386 and contributed 16 RBIs, 45 runs, 10 doubles, three triples, 14-for-15 on steals and a .496 on-base average.

“Clay had another outstanding defensive season and the job he did for us from the leadoff position was even better than his first three years in this role,” said coach Cain.

Olig excelled on offense and pitching. He hit .343 with 23 RBIs, one triple, five doubles, 28 runs and a .521 on-base average.

He chalked up an 8-0 record with a microscopic 0.95 ERA, and 44 strikeouts and only 34 hits surrendered in 51-1/3 innings.

“Matt had a breakout junior season and excelled at first base and pitcher,” said coach Cain.

“His ability to throw strikes allowed our league leading defense to do their work. His clutch hitting were also evident in many close contests.

“The state coach-of-the-year award is humbling and completely unexpected. I can’t take the credit for this award on my own and it should be the community award.

“The players first and foremost were the ones most responsible for our ability to represent our team, Plymouth High School and our community with daily excellence.

“Our entire coaching staff – Adam Starnitcky, Rory Beebe, Mike Olig, Dave Hein, and Jeremy Ross were instrumental in providing wonderful guidance and leadership,” said coach Cain.

The WBCA’s Player of the Year is senior Parker Sniatynski of Milwaukee Marquette, the first-team utility player. Greendale’s Mark Bombian was voted the Assistant Coach of the Year.


The following Panthers earned summer baseball all-state academic first-team honors: Willeford, Cain, Held, junior Cole Karczewski and Olig. Henning received second-team recognition.

Heili and Sheboygan Falls teammates Jake Wiesenthal, Joe Van Engen, Mike Bonner, Jacob Brading and Josh Rostek 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 or higher for the first team and a 3.50-3.74 GPA for second.

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