Garfield County schools land 8 players on 3A Western Slope League all-conference teams
While none of the three 3A Western Slope League schools within Garfield County sent baseball teams to the 3A regional playoffs, the schools represented the county well when it came to the league’s postseason honors as eight players earned All-Conference honors, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
Roaring Fork, under veteran head coach Marty Madsen, saw five players earn honors as senior Dawson Kuhl was named first-team all-conference infielder, while senior centerfielder Layne Crisp and junior left fielder Frankie Harrington earned first-team outfield honors for the Rams. Junior third baseman Eli Nickamin and sophomore pitcher Graham Pietsch earned honorable mention accolades for the Rams, who finished the season 9-14 (5-4 in the 3A WSL).
The Coal Ridge Titans landed two on the all-conference team as junior third baseman Ryan Kotz earned first-team honors under veteran head coach Dan Larsen, while junior pitcher Lane Stecklien earned honorable mention accolades as the Titans finished 9-14 on the year, including a 3-6 mark in the 3A WSL. Grand Valley junior Austin White earned honorable mention accolades as an infielder for the 4-17 (1-8 in 3A WSL) Cardinals under head coach Doyle Radel.
Kuhl hit .438 in his final season with the Rams, driving in 29 runs on 10 doubles, one triple, and four home runs — one of which was a Grand Slam. The senior stood out at second base, shortstop, and catcher for Roaring Fork, adding a perfect 12-for-12 in steals on the season. Kuhl also worked on the mound for the Rams, going 3-6 with an 8.37 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 12 starts covering 51 total innings. The senior captain earned a 3A First Team All-State selection as well for his strong senior captain, wrapping up a great career in Carbondale.
Crisp hit right in front of Kuhl in the lineup and played centerfield, hitting .369 on the year. The senior drove in 14 runs while adding three doubles and two triples, scoring a team-high 28 runs on the year. Crisp also went 10-for-11 in steals on the season.
Harrington hit in the middle of the lineup for Roaring Fork and posted a .317 batting average with 11 runs batted in, adding a perfect 6-for-6 mark in steals. Nickamin played a solid third base for Madsen, hitting .319 with 14 RBIs, adding three doubles and one triple for the balanced Rams lineup.
Pietsch came on strong on the mound for the Rams, going 3-5 with a 5.61 ERA in seven starts. The sophomore worked 38.2 innings striking out 28 while walking 19 on the year.
For Coal Ridge, Kotz hit a county-high .448 on the year, driving in 21 runs for the Titans while adding five doubles, one triple, and three home runs on the season. The junior also added a team-high 15 steals and went 3-4 on the mound with a 6.50 ERA, working 37.2 innings, striking out 54. Stecklien worked a team-high 57.2 innings, going 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA for the Titans. The junior struck out 63 hitters and walked just 36, adding a 13 RBIs and one double at the plate.
For Grand Valley, White hit .315 under Radel, driving in 10 runs while recording four doubles and one triple on the year. The junior also stole 10 bases and struck out 29 hitters in just 16.1 innings of work on the mound.
Delta head coach Steve Reiher was named the league’s Coach of the Year after the Panthers went 22-6, including a league-best mark of 9-0 in league play. The Panthers lost to Eaton in the second round of the state playoffs. Delta junior Gauge Lockhart earned the league’s Player of the Year award after .500 on the year, driving in 19 runs with 12 doubles and three triples, scoring a team-high 30 runs. Lockhart also went 9-for-11 in steals and finished 4-1 on the mound with a 3.40 ERA, striking out 47 in 22.2 innings of work.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.