Six local players were named to the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association first-team all-district teams, which were released Wednesday.
Fairfield and Pekin each had two members selected first-team all-district for the Southeast District in their respective classes, while Ottumwa’s Mitch Wood and Davis County’s Trevor Slayton earned first-team nods as well.
Fairfield was led by first-team players Kosta Papazoglou (catcher) and Austin Simpson (first base). Papazoglou had a stellar season behind the plate for the Trojans, who finished 26-5 and came within a run of reaching the Class 3A state tournament. Papazoglou finished the season hitting .474 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs, primarily out of the leadoff spot, and made just one error all season despite being the team’s best pitcher this season as well.
Simpson, who will play baseball at Southeastern Community College, proved to be one of the elite power hitters in the state. He hit 16 home runs to set a school record and drove in 49 runs. He hit .473 with 40 runs scored as well. His home run was total was tied with Johnston’s Peyton Williams for the most in any class entering the state tournament.
Pekin’s Tanner Bainbridge (shortstop) and Caleb Comstock (outfield) also earned first-team selections. The duo pitched the Panthers to their first state tournament appearance, combining on a no-hitter in the Class 1A substate final. However, both had strong seasons at their usual positions. Bainbridge hit .487 with five home runs and 32 RBIs, while Comstock batted .442 with 22 RBIs.
Slayton earned first-team honors as a shortstop in Class 2A, hitting .423 with four home runs, 18 RBIs and five doubles. His 41 hits led the Mustangs by a wide margin, and he was 10 for 10 in stolen bases.
Wood earned utility honors in Class 4A for the Bulldogs, who posted another 20-win season while incorporating many inexperienced players into the lineup. Wood hit .321 with a homer and 20 RBIs and 13 doubles. His 13 doubles tied for the team lead, as did his 35 hits.
Ottumwa’s Adam Denniston (catcher), Dominick Delehoy (second base) and Jesus Jaime (utility) earned second-team honors for the Bulldogs. Denniston was excellent behind the plate, making just one error in 150 chances. Delehoy hit .357 with 13 RBIs and made just four errors this season. Jaime, who played third base for the Bulldogs, hit .372 with two home runs and 31 RBIs, and tied Wood for the team lead in hits. His home runs and RBIs led the team in each category.
EBF’s Jared McCrea was a second-team selection in Class 2A as a pitcher. McCrea finished 5-3 with a 2.18 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings for the Rockets.
Pekin pitcher Brady Latcham and catcher Quinn Ledger earned second-team honors. Latcham finished 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. Ledger hit .351 with 13 RBIs, but was superb behind the plate, making just two errors in 207 chances.