An athlete who’s the best pitcher in the state is going to be the best pitcher in his conference, and Mississippi Valley Conference baseball coaches confirmed the obvious.
MVC coaches named Tomah lefthander Connor Prielipp at the league’s pitcher of the year.
Prielipp, a senior, was nearly unhittable during his three seasons as the ace starter for the Tomah varsity. In 2019, he posted an earned-run average of 0.85 in MVC games. In 41 innings, he allowed 19 hits and struck out 97.
Tomah coach Ryan Brookman said Prielipp’s value went beyond his stat line.
“I am most impressed by his character,” Brookman said. “He has been a great teammate throughout his career. He played under more pressure than anyone in the past two years. He thrives against the best competition.
Prielipp was picked by the Boston Red Sox in the Major League Baseball draft earlier this month but will follow through on his commitment to pitch for the University of Alabama next spring.
“We are thankful to have had him with us four years,” Brookman said. “We are eager to follow him. His baseball career is just beginning.”
Prielipp was one of four Tomah players honored by the MVC.
First baseman Dakota Riedesel made the second team. A junior first baseman/designated hitter, he batted .299 with five doubles and a triple in 87 at-bats.
Evan Long and Tyler Torkelson were honorable mention.
Long, a sophomore catcher/pitcher, led the team in batting at .365 and on-base percentage at .444. He was second on the team in doubles with eight. As a pitcher, he was second to Prielipp in innings pitched (34.2) and posted a 3.43 earned run average.
Torkelson, a junior, was Tomah’s starting shortstop. He batted .275 (.350 in MVC games) and led the Timberwolves in RBIs with 15.
Senior catcher/third baseman Ryan Bernhardt was Tomah’s representative on the MVC sportsmanship team.
Holmen outfielder Kevin Koelbl was the MVC position player of the year.
Prielipp and Koelbl were joined on the first team by: Brandon Merfeld, senior, outfield, La Crosse Aquinas; Logan Stauffer, senior, first base, Holmen; Nevin Wall, senior, pitcher, Holmen; Trevon Van Egtern, senior, catcher, La Crosse Central; Dylan Lapic, sophomore, pitcher, Central; Connor Haggerty, junior, third base, Onalaska; Austin Stuessel, junior, catcher, Sparta; Brett Steussel, sophomore, first base, Sparta.
Joining Riedesel on the second team: Ryland Wall, sophomore, shortstop, Holmen; Caleb Matl, junior, pitcher, Holmen; Ben Byom, senior, pitcher, Holmen; Andrew Fischer, junior, pitcher, Central; Ethan Hanewall, senior, shortstop, La Crosse Logan; Carter Stobb, junior, first base, Onalaska; Nick Pica, junior, shortstop, Onalaska; Phillip Richards, senior, outfield, Sparta; Adam McKee, junior, shortstop, Sparta.
The rest of the honorable mention: Justin Bausch, junior, catcher, Aquinas; Jared Everson, sophomore, outfield, Aquinas; Ty Deml, senior, second base, Central; Zach Fellenz, senior, third base, Central; Hunter Steinhoff, senior, pitcher, Sparta; Isaac Stuessel, junior, outfield, Sparta; Alex Gavrilos, junior, pitcher, Logan; Nick Frey, senior, catcher, Logan; Cameron Weber, junior, third base, Holmen; Adam Quam, junior, outfield, Holmen; Nathan Hagen, senior, catcher, Onalaska; Sam Aspseter, junior, outfield, Onalaska.
Mark Wall of Holmen won the coach of the year honor.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final 2019 standings
Holmen 10-2 18-6
Central 8-4 12-10
Sparta 7-5 13-7
Onalaska 5-7 12-13
Aquinas 4-8 15-11
Tomah 4-8 10-13
Logan 3-9 5-21