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Ed-Co’s Ethan Streicher fields a hit from East Buchanan during a home game, June 20.

Edgewood-Colesburg battled low numbers and injuries during the 2019 season, finishing 5-21 in the Tri-Rivers Conference and 7-23 overall.

Coach Aaron Hamann was pleased with the way his team battled during the year.

“I felt as though we had some lofty, but attainable, goals to start the season,” he said. “Playing in a conference with three of the top-ranked teams in the state, two of whom played in state tournament finals, speaks volumes about the caliber of competition you are going to see in a double-header for 26 games during the season.”

“Couple that with a lack of numbers and a number of significant injuries, it was certainly a rough summer for Ed-Co baseball. Even going into a favorable tournament draw, we continued to battle nagging injuries and inconsistency even on nights where we did play well,” said Hamann. “It was frustrating as a coach for sure, but I know the boys on the field felt the strain and struggle even more. My hat goes off to them for fighting through and rolling with the adversity all season long.”

Looking to the future, Hamann will need to replace five seniors that saw action this season.

Four-year starter Ethan Streicher closed a decorated career that included state tournament appearances in baseball, football, basketball and a Class 1A state golf championship by pacing the Vikings with a .400 average and a team-leading 28 RBIs at the plate.

“Ethan will be a hard player to replace, but we thank him for his contributions to Ed-Co baseball,” Hamann said.

Tony Wright and Dayne Bergan were dual-purpose players for the Vikings, as Wright went 2-5 on the mound while hitting .195 and Bergan was 1-4 on the hill with a batting average of .227.

“Tony took everything he has learned on the field in his years with the team and became a reliable leader for the infield at first base and a consistent arm on the mound,” Hamann said. “Dayne settled in as a top hitter in our lineup and quietly put together a career as a hard-nosed baseball player. His arm will be missed as we look to the 2020 campaign.”

Andrew Hoeger-Pint was a regular in left field, and hit .197 with six RBIs on the season, while Alex Hansel saw time and finished with a .111 batting average.

“Andrew has been patrolling left field for years, and has become a familiar face in the Viking baseball family,” said Hamann. “I know he was looking for a more prolific season as a hitter, but his consistency in the outfield will be difficult to replace.”

“Alex came back out for baseball for his senior season and showed a lot of growth as both a hitter and an outfielder. He helped patrol the outfield for us and settled into the designated hitter role.”

Juniors Alex Jones and Spencer Staner had solid seasons, with Jones a steady presence at shortstop and on the mound, while Staner handled the catching duties and made 10 appearances on the mound.

Jones was second on the team with a .363 batting average and battled arm trouble while going 2-3 with a 3.41 ERA on the mound. Staner hit .333 and stole 19 bases.

Quintin Hess hit .229 with 11 RBIs and went 1-3 on the mound, Edmar Cipriano-Cruz hit .174 with a 1-1 record on the mound, and Carson Knipper hit .111 while finishing 0-3 on the mound.

Parker Rochford saw limited action due to nagging injuries, while Cameron Knipper, Charles Lecocq, Peyton Gaul and Colin Harris were called on during the year.

“Even though we wanted to finish higher in the conference, we saw some success against Maquoketa Valley, Starmont, Postville and Clayton Ridge-Central,” Hamann said. “We finished the year with four players batting over .300, and three of them return next year.”

“Every member of the squad spent some time on the mound, with five of them picking up wins,” Hamann added. “The experience our younger players have gained will serve us well next season. We need to continue to build our pitching staff and develop players at the lower levels. With the guys we have returning, next season should prove to be an improvement on the gains we saw this season.”

“We need to stay healthy and get stronger this winter. Hopefully, these motivated young men will be found in the weight room, the batting cages, and in the bullpens working on their games to make the 2020 season memorable to everyone.”