Players from SLC dominate annual dream team
By Mike Ramczyk
It’s back, ladies and gentlemen.
We canvassed coaches from 15 teams, and we came up with our seventh annual all-Southern Lakes Newspapers baseball team, packed with big arms, bigger bats and clutch crushers.
Of course we honored the area’s only state-bound team, Westosha Central, with heavy praise, and made sure to put our top conference’s winner, Union Grove, all over the map.
While we consider statistics from all players, the eye test from getting out and actually covering games still holds a lot of weight.
Also, team success and postseason glory is huge.
Did you get the job done on the biggest stage when it mattered most?
The Southern Lakes Conference, along with Burlington Catholic Central, East Troy, Williams Bay, Mukwonago, Walworth Big Foot, Palmyra-Eagle and Whitewater are all represented, but the SLC by far has the most representation.
Westosha graduate Keegan Kearby, who will play college volleyball at UW-Eau Claire this fall, dazzled with a 0.00 ERA in 14 innings in leading Central to the state tournament for the first time since 2002.
Also, Union Grove junior Owen Nowak stated his case for the area’s best player with a booming five home runs and near-.400 batting average.
Nowak led his squad to an SLC crown.
For their efforts, Nowak and Kearby have been named the 2022 all-SLN co-players of the year.
Westosha Central head coach Jake Morman earns the nod as coach of the year after guiding his Falcons to a 21-5 record and state tournament.
Thank you to all the coaches, players and high school sports websites that made this team possible.
Without further adieu, here are the best of the best:
Players of the year
Keegan Kearby, senior, Westosha Central: 14 IP, 0 ER in postseason, went 5 innings, allowing 1 ER in Division 1 state game, 2 2B, HR, 3RBI, 5 hits in postseason, 0.40 ERA, game-tying RBI single in ninth in sectional semi-final
Owen Nowak, junior, Union Grove: First Team All-Conference Outfield/Conference Player of the Year/First Team All-County and All-County Player of the Year/First Team All Southeast District/All State Honorable Mention; .371 batting average, 5HR, 26RB
Coach of the Year
Jake Morman, Westosha Central
Josh DeGroot, senior, Union Grove
Part of the glue that made up the conference championship infield of the Broncos, DeGroot was named second team all-district, first team All-Racine County and first team All-Southern Lakes.
He hit .358 with an impressive 1.038 OPS, including a team-high 18 walks.
DeGroot’s .495 on-base percentage was second on a team that finished 12-2 in the SLC and 20-6 overall.
Surprisingly, DeGroot was really the only key Bronco hitter that was a senior, so the Grove’s run of sectional appearances could become four straight years next season.
Jack Rose, senior, Westosha Central
They don’t make athletes any better than Jack.
“Kenosha Kobe,” as some call him on the basketball court, led the Falcons to the basketball state tournament in March and the volleyball state championship match in November.
The best area’s multi-sport athlete in quite some time can play some baseball, too.
He’s up at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay playing Division 1 college basketball right now, and he could’ve skipped baseball this spring because it conflicted at times with his summer training program, but Rose is a competitor and a gamer and he wanted to have some fun to close out his high school career.
“I think Rose is the biggest impact player from leadership to skill on any team,” said Westosha head coach Jake Morman.
That’s high praise for the 6-foot-5 Rose, who manned shortstop with ease and provided a smooth left-handed stroke at the dish.
Rose batted .286 with a solid .389 on-base percentage and earned first team All-Southern Lakes honors.
“Jack is an outstanding student-athlete but an even better person,” Morman said. “Jack deciding to play baseball this season really changed the look and makeup of our baseball team. His leadership was evident from the very first day of practice. The guys looked to Jack, and he was that consistent positive presence in the middle of the infield and lineup that really gave our team a lot of confidence. Jack played every inning of shortstop for us this season, only committing one error.”
Rose earned all-state honors in volleyball and basketball and first team all-conference accolades in baseball.
Not a bad year at all.
Connor O’Reilly, senior, Burlington
A season highlighted by a go-ahead grand slam to beat Union Grove showed exactly why Connor was one of the area’s best power hitters and players.
The Carthage College football commit hit .390 with a .505 on-base percentage. Thanks to 30 hits, five doubles, three home runs and 22 RBI, O’Reilly was named first team All-SLC at first base, all-district honorable mention and first team all-Racine County.
“Connor is a strong, explosive hitter in the middle of our lineup,” Burlington coach Scott Staude said. “He has a great feel for the game and has an extremely high baseball IQ.”
Gage Taylor, senior, Burlington
A multi-sport star who will play baseball and football at Ripon College this fall, Taylor hit .357 with a .400 on-base percentage, 25 hits and 17 stolen bases.
Despite missing five games after a pitch broke his nose, Taylor earned second team all-Racine County accolades.
Taylor went a whopping 10-for-20 in his final five games, featuring a playoff victory over Wilmot.
“Gage Taylor had an amazing senior year,” Staude said.
Adam Switalski, junior, Westosha Central
The Division 1 Indiana University commit had a memorable junior season and impressive postseason run.
A dual threat, Switalski went 4-1 on the mound with a 3.65 ERA while raking at a .387 clip from the plate.
Switalski came up huge in the postseason, going 3-for-4 in a 2-1 sectional semifinal victory over Oak Creek and 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the state-clinching victory over Franklin.
Switalski added 20 RBIs, a staggering .961 OPS, and a .495 on-base percentage.
“Outstanding young man with a ton of baseball potential,” Morman said. “Adam had a terrific season for us both on the mound as one of our aces and also as an outfielder. Adam hit fourth most of the season for us. Adam is a kid that leads by example, never shies away from the big moment and always wants the ball in his hands. His leadership went a long way towards what we were able to accomplish this season.”
Nathan Williams, junior, Union Grove
The starting quarterback for the Broncos this fall has a chance to make the National Hockey League as well.
He’s that good at hockey.
In baseball, his “other” sport, Williams is pretty darn great.
He hit .361, good for second on the team, as a junior, and earned second team all-SLC and first team all-county honors as an outfielder.
Williams led the Broncos with 28 RBIs, nabbed 15 stolen bases and banged 30 hits.
His slugging percentage of .578 was second on the team.
Ty Sagedal, senior, Burlington
Perhaps the best all-around player on the Demons, a team that finished third in the loaded Southern Lakes, Sagedal was the staff ace and showed it in the biggest moments.
His 2-0 shutout masterpiece silenced the Wilmot bats in the first round of the WIAA playoffs, and Sagedal was brilliant. He only needed 97 pitches to throw a complete game two-hitter with six strikeouts and three walks.
Sagedal will take his talents to UW-Eau Claire this fall, where he will pitch.
A first team All-SLC outfielder, Sagedal endured Tommy John surgery early in his high school career, and this season he showed that hard work and rehab can pay off big time.
Sagedal hit .372 with a .450 on-base percentage and led the team with 35 hits, six doubles, a triple and 21 RBIs.
On the mound, he was 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 51 innings, striking out 36 and walking 28.
He finished third in conference player of the year voting.
Sagedal was also a second team all-district outfielder and first team all-county.
“Ty was our most consistent player all year,” Staude said. “He worked extremely hard to overcome Tommy John surgery on his elbow and to improve his overall game. He is a player who leads by example and who puts maximum effort into everything he does.”
Tyler Deleskiewicz, senior, Lake Geneva Badger
Any time a guy can reach the upper-90s with his fastball in high school, that’s straight up special and extremely rare.
Well, Badger’s big righty can do just that, and it’s earned him a Division 1 scholarship to pitch at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
At 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, the Genoa City native is a handful for opposing batters.
Just ask his coach, Michael Ploch.
“Tyler was selected to the WBCA All Star Classic that took place last month,” Ploch said. “He was first team all conference. He broke the single season strikeout record at Badger along with the lowest opponent batting average in school history. He was the captain of the team and contributed on both the offensive and defensive side of the plate.”
Deleskiewicz went 5-2 in 44 innings with a 1.43 ERA.
He struck out 80 batters and had a 1.091 WHIP.
He only walked 32 batters all season.
He was a second team all-district selection.
AJ Hansche, senior, Union Grove
The winningest pitcher in the area was named first team All-SLC and first team All-Racine County, along with second team all-Southeast district honors.
Hansche went a perfect 8-0 in 2022, sporting a microscopic 1.19 ERA in 63 innings.
He only gave up 39 hits and struck out 47 while walking 25.
Hansche fired a complete game victory in a 3-2 playoff victory over Kenosha Indian Trail and added three strong innings in a 7-6 sectional semifinal loss to Franklin.
“AJ was our top starting pitcher this year and took the ball every week no matter who we were playing,” Union Grove coach Nate Meyer said.
Will Johannes, senior, Mukwonago
A 2021 Midwest Indoor Showcase Top Prospect, Johannes has all the physical tools to excel at the next level.
He helped lead the Indians to a WIAA Division 1 sectional final, where Mukwonago was knocked off, 5-4, by Milton.
Johannes will play college baseball at one of the top junior colleges in the region, Madison Junior College.
He was named a first team All-Classic 8 selection in the spring.
An alum of Hitters, the successful Caledonia baseball club, Johannes is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and is sure to make more noise in the future.
Brayden Marks, senior, Elkhorn
A Division 1 Bradley University commit, Marks will join former Union Grove superstar TJ Manteufel this fall in Peoria, Ill. to continue the recent legacy of Southern Lakes players getting D1 scholarships.
Marks throws the ball in the low-90s and was the Elks’ ace this season.
Elkhorn coach Jon Anzalone said, “Brayden is a hard-working player and has an impact on every game either with his bat, glove or arm. Brayden was a second team SLC all conference selection this year as a pitcher with a loaded conference in the pitching department. Brayden has a relentless work ethic and focus in season and out of season. The Elks will miss his leadership and daily presence in 2023.”
Marks hit .360 at the plate.
On the mound, he dominated.
Marks went 5-1 in 45 innings with a booming 70 strikeouts.
His 3.42 ERA led the team in a very tough conference, and he only allowed 31 hits all season.
Infield – Wren Dietz, junior, Burlington. Will Kunz, senior, Wilmot. Marc Jones, Whitewater. Lex Dupee, Lake Geneva Badger.
Outfield – Nick Argersinger, junior, Westosha Central. Chase Fox, East Troy. Garrett Kay, Waterford.
Pitchers – Dylan Questad, junior, Waterford – Jake Lueptow, sophomore, Elkhorn.
Catcher – Calvin Hancock, junior, Waterford.
Utility – Ryan Weed, East Troy.
Burlington: Gage Peterson.
Catholic Central: Cal Miles, Alex Vogt.
Delavan-Darien: Cole Hanson, Michael O’Grady.
Lake Geneva Badger: Crete Slattery, Ryan McCarthy.
Mukwonago: Nolan Abels, Nathan Meinikoff.
Palmyra-Eagle: Devin Patrick, Sean Dooley.
Union Grove: Landon Dessart, Hayden Jamison.
Walworth Big Foot: Austin Cocroft, Joey Schmitz, Nevin Anderson.
Waterford: Max Northrop, Zach Flater.
Westosha Central: Mason Mitacek.
Whitewater: Marcus DePorter, Wyatt Nickels. East Troy: Silas Heimos, Zach Johnson.
Wilmot: Hayden Christiansen.