The abbreviated high school baseball season came to a close on Aug.1 with the state championship games at Principal Park in Des Moines.
The final chapter was closed on Tuesday when the Iowa High School baseball Coaches Association released its all-state teams.
Three area players were honored in Class 1A, including a pair of Notre Dame High School seniors who helped the Nikes reach the state tournament for the first time in 18 years.
Notre Dame third baseman Drew Chiprez was named to the first team, while pitcher/rightfielder Mitchell Brent was named to the third team.
Joining Brent on the third team is New London sophomore outfielder Josh Catala, who helped the Tigers reach a district final before they were knocked out by Notre Dame.
Chiprez was one of the top players in the state from opening day until the final out in the Nikes’ 11-1 loss to Remsen-St. Mary’s in the Class 1A state quarterfinals.
Chiprez finished second in Class 1A in home runs with seven and led Class 1A in slugging percentage at a robust 1.222. He hit .533 with a .586 on-base percentage. He had eight doubles and a triple, drove in 25 runs and scored 27 runs. He made just one error all-season, earning first team all-district and all-conference accolades.
Brent was a key cog in the Nikes’ success, playing right field when he wasn’t pitching. Brent finished with a 2-3 record and a 3.75 ERA. Of the 15 earned runs he allowed, six of them came in the loss to Remsen-St. Mary’s. In 28 innings, he struck out 43 batters, but walked 35 and hit eight. Yet opposing teams hit just .088 against the fireballer, who throws in the mid-80s. He came in to get the save in the substate win against North Cedar. He was a first team all-conference and first team all-district selection as a pitcher.
At the plate, Brent hit .286 with three doubles and four home runs, drove in 18 runs and scored 13 runs.
Catala was a big addition to the team, both on the mound and in the field. The Puerto Rico native made a solid impact on the mound, fashioning a 2-1 record with a miniscule 0.86 ERA. In 24 1/3 innings, Catala struck out 24 batters and allowed just three earned runs. He held opposing teams to a .176 batting average. He also hit .362 with 19 RBIs and drove in 21 runs. He was a first team all-conference and first team all-district pick, helping the Tigers to a 14-4 record.