Baseball Cardinals named all-conference

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Ben Collier was named second-team all-Big Eight./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton’s baseball team had four players earn all-Big Eight Conference honors.

Senior pitcher Matt Ballweg and junior outfielder Ben Collier were named second-team all-conference. Senior outfielder Cooper Holewinski and junior infielder Adam Casali received honorable-mention all-conference honors.

In 42 innings pitched, Ballweg struck out 40 batters, walked 17 and had a 2.33 ERA. Ballweg allowed just 30 hits in conference games and had a WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched) of 1.119.

“He was a tremendous pitcher for us who kept us in nearly every game he pitched,” Middleton manager Brent Jorgensen said of Ballweg. “Matt had a great pickoff move to complement his ability to locate all three of his pitches for strikes. His demeanor, pitching abilities, and work ethic were the three things that really set him apart this year.”

Collier hit .375 with a .435 on-base percentage. He also batted .441 with runners in scoring position, had six extra base hits, 15 RBI and eight runs scored.

Collier also struck out 44 batters in Big Eight play, the fourth-most in the league.

“Ben had a tremendous year for us at the plate and a really good year pitching,” Jorgensen said. “He took over as our No. 4 hitter after the start of the season and never looked back. He may have stepped up more than any other player on the team and I was happy to see him do so well.

“Although he didn't get any all-conference honors for pitching, he did do very well in this regard as well. We will look for Ben to be a crucial part of the 2020 team.”

Holewinski, who will play at Edgewood College next season, hit .291 with an on-base percentage of .394 in league games. Holewinski also had six extra base hits, 11 RBI and 13 runs scored.

“While he did have good numbers to earn honorable mention all-conference, what didn't get mentioned is his tremendous ability as a defensive player, work ethic, and leadership,” Jorgensen said of Holewinski. “Cooper has been on varsity for three years and was a leader for our team all year long. His leadership, hitting ability, defensive skills, and presence will be greatly missed next year.”

Casali missed roughly one-third of the year due to injury, yet still earned all-conference honors. Casali hit .368 with six doubles, 12 RBI, eight runs scored, and a .455 on-base percentage in league games only.

Despite missing the final month of the season, Casali finished third on the Cardinals in RBI, tied for first in extra base hits and was second in on-base percentage.

“Obviously, this says a lot about the type of player Adam is and how important he was to our team,” Jorgensen said. “His injury was a tough one for us as we lost an important bat in our lineup as well as a solid defensive player. I'm excited to see a full season of numbers for Adam next year as a senior where he will continue to play an important role for our team.”

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