Cain repeats as EWC’s Player of Year

Three Panthers on All-EWC first team
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

TYLER WILLEFORD TYLER WILLEFORD Senior shortstop/pitcher Zac Cain of Plymouth was voted the Eastern Wisconsin’s Co- Player of the Year for the second straight baseball season by the EWC coaches.

Cain shares the award with Kewaskum senior pitcher/outfielder Michael Prochnow. Both players are unanimous All-EWC first-team picks at the infield and utility positions, respectively.

It marks the fourth consecutive season that Cain has been voted to the first team. Two of Cain’s Panther teammates were also named to the top unit – senior catcher Tyler Willeford and senior third baseman Zach Gambrell. Willeford is a first-team selection for the third straight season, having been selected as an outfielder in 2013 and 2014.

The Panthers have four other all-league picks, each on the second team. Those honored are sophomore pitcher Derek Schweiger, senior outfielder Drew Schweiger (Derek’s brother) and sophomore outfielder Jake Steinhardt.

BUTCH CAIN, Plymouth head baseball coach, visits with catcher Tyler Willeford (left) and third baseman Zach Gambrell during the state tournament this past season. Cain was voted the EWC’s Coach of the Year. – Review file photo BUTCH CAIN, Plymouth head baseball coach, visits with catcher Tyler Willeford (left) and third baseman Zach Gambrell during the state tournament this past season. Cain was voted the EWC’s Coach of the Year. – Review file photo PHS head coach Butch Cain, who guided his team to a third consecutive EWC title, was voted the league’s Coach of the Year for the third straight season.

Cain ranked sixth in the EWC in batting with an impressive .420 average and was third in RBIs at 16.

He also finished among the leaders in the following offensive categories: hits, sixth, 21; runs, seventh (tied), 14; doubles, fourth (tied), five; triples, fifth (tied), two; total bases, fourth (tied), 30; walks, first, 17; on-base percentage, third, .559; and slugging percentage, third, .600.

Cain also had a terrific season on the mound. He posted a 4-0 record with a 1.71 ERA.

“Zac did a nice job playing shortstop and was a tough out at the plate again this season. He stepped up to deliver some big RBIs and led us in average,” said coach Cain.

“His plate discipline and understanding of the strike zone allowed us to work some pitchers and earn us a few extra bases in the process.”

Willeford led the EWC in slugging percentage with an outstanding .672; triples, four; runs, 23; and total bases with 39. He finished eighth in batting with an excellent .397 average.

Willeford also ranked among the leaders in the following offensive categories: hits, fourth, 23; doubles, fourth (tied), five; RBIs, seventh (tied), 13; and onbase percentage, sixth, .486. He also slugged one home run and led PHS in steals with seven in EWC play.

“Tyler did a tremendous job in his adjustment to being behind the dish,” said the Panther coach.

ZACH GAMBRELL ZACH GAMBRELL “He did a super job of blocking [pitches] and calling our defense. He hit for power and average, and led us in stolen bases.”

Gambrell finished 12th in the conference in batting with a strong .357 average. He tied for second in doubles with six; shared seventh in hits with 20; tied for fifth in runs, 18; and shared fourth in RBIs with 15.

“Zach was a stout third baseman who made many fine defensive plays, batted for average and came up with some big hits,” coach Cain pointed out.

Derek Schweiger finished ninth in ERA with 2.59 and tied for fourth in wins with three (3-1 record). He was sixth in strikeouts with 24 in 27 innings. The opponents’ batting average against Schweiger was a measly .227.

“Derek wanted the ball while displaying his bulldog approach. He became a feared pitcher of the opposition,” observed coach Cain.

ZAC CAIN ZAC CAIN Drew Schweiger hit .265 with 11 RBIs, eight runs and three doubles.

“Drew had a solid season and was near the top in RBIs [second overall for PHS] and clutch at-bats while being a consistent outfielder for us,” said coach Cain.

Steinhardt batted .315 with 10 RBIs, one double and eight runs. His six stolen bases in league action were second on the Panther team.

“Jake had a nice sophomore season and contributed to our team’s success in all aspects of the game while proving his versatility to be very valuable to our conference championship,” the coach noted.

Coach Cain said his coaching honor is a team award which his staff and the team received because of their unselfish teamwork, determination and resilient efforts in winning the EWC title and going to state.

“The Coach of the Year award is something we as a staff never set as one of our goals but is an award which we accept humbly as a sign of the team’s success,” said coach Cain.

The other first-team repeaters are senior pitcher Jordan Dreikosen and sophomore outfielder Austin Narges of Campbellsport.

The other unanimous firstteam picks are Dreikosen; sophomore infielder Trent Nickel of Kiel; junior infielder Josh Burg and senior outfielder Jacob Daun of New Hosltein; and senior outfielder Billy Lehmann, Kewaskum.

Prochnow won the EWC batting crown with scorching .466 average. Josh Burg of New Holstein was the RBI leader with 17.

Alex Winkel and Austin Goehring of Kiel tied for the lead in home runs with two each.

Owen Wilson of New Holstein was the ERA leader with an outstanding 1.48. Prochnow was first in wins with six (6-0 record).

Dreikosen recorded a leaguehigh 93 strikeouts in only 53-2/3 innings (12.13 strikeout average per game).

PHS led the EWC in team fielding percentage with .948. The Panthers were second in team ERA at 2.46 behind New Holstein’s 2.12. Kewaskum ranked first in team batting with .317 and PHS was third at .283.

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