BEA’s Bleess, Legred captain All-Area baseball team

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR — Blue Earth Area's Karson Legred (33) and Hunter Bleess (4) stand and honor the national anthem before a regular-season baseball game at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Bleess and Legred have been selected as the 2019 Sentinel All-Area baseball players of the year. (Photo by Greg Abel)

BLUE EARTH — Whether anchoring the middle of the Blue Earth Area lineup or winning games as battery mates, Hunter Bleess and Karson Legred always played key roles in the Bucs’ baseball games.

Bleess and Legred were each named to the all-Big South Conference team, while Legred earned a spot on the Minnesota High School All-Star Series’ South baseball team.

Legred joined the South roster with a .397 batting average on 27 hits, including nine doubles. The two-time all-BSC player generated a team-leading 23 RBIs during the Bucs’ 16-8 campaign, which ended in the semifinal game of the Section 2AA playoffs.

The anchor in the No. 3 spot of the Bucs’ lineup struck out only three times during his senior season.

Bleess led the BEA rotation with 52 innings pitched, while posting a 3.23 ERA.

The hard-throwing right hander allowed 55 hits and 33 walks, while striking out 80 batters on the campaign to help him to a 4-3 record.

When not on the mound, the middle infielder helped lead the Bucs’ offense with a .364 batting average on 24 hits.

The two-time Sentinel All-Area baseball player scored 23 runs and collected 15 RBIs on the season, adding six doubles and 25 walks.

For their senior season success, Bleess and Legred were named the Sentinel All-Area baseball players of the year. The pair will continue playing together at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato next season.

Here’s an inside look at the rest of the 2019 Sentinel All-Area baseball team.

Dalen Keltgen (Fairmont) — The steady shortstop and pitcher helped lead Fairmont to a 15-8 record with his .315 batting average on 23 hits.

Fairmont’s defensive anchor scored 14 runs and produced a team-leading 16 RBIs, while stealing five bases.

One of Fairmont’s main pitchers, Keltgen threw 20 innings and worked his way to a team-best 4-1 record. The all-Big South Conference selection allowed only four earned runs on the season en route to a 1.40 ERA, while striking out 14 batters.

Nick Eversman (Fairmont) — The steady singles-hitting lefty led Fairmont’s regular starters with a .397 batting average on 23 hits.

The two-time all-Big South Conference and Sentinel All-Area selection scored 20 runs and collected 14 RBIs, while hitting five doubles.

On the mound, Eversman pitched to a 2-2 record and 0.51 ERA with one save during his 13 2/3 innings of work.

Cale Steuber (Fairmont) — The speedy outfielder led Fairmont with 24 hits, leading to his .348 batting average.

The all-Big South selection scored 19 runs and totalled 14 RBIs, while hitting a co-team leading two triples.

Steuber’s steady fielding and batting helped lead Fairmont to an eight-game winning streak from April 26 to May 9.

Dustin Schultz (Fairmont) — The imposing right hander helped power the Fairmont offense with a .318 batting average on a co-team leading five doubles.

The senior centerfielder collected 11 RBIs, while scoring 16 runs.

Brayden Barnett (Blue Earth Area) — The hard-fighting middle infielder and outfielder hit for a .302 average, but reached base at a .415 clip.

The BEA senior scored 15 runs and tallied 15 RBIs, while stealing eight bases.

Koby Nagel (Blue Earth Area) — The quick-footed shortstop and pitcher helped get BEA’s offense moving throughout the year, co-leading the team with 24 stolen bases.

Nagel hit for a .389 batting average on 23 hits and knocked in 20 RBIs.

The all-Big South selection also pitched to a 4-2 record in 21 1/3 innings. The right-hander allowed only five earned runs for a 1.64 ERA, while giving up 16 hits and striking out 25.

Caelan Sanders (Blue Earth Area) — The speedy outfielder kept the Bucs’ opposing pitchers nervous with his co-team leading 24 stolen bases.

The right-handed leadoff batter totaled 23 hits and scored a team-leading 24 runs while batting .274. Although he hit in the first spot in the order, Sanders knocked in 16 RBIs and collected three doubles.

Mitchell Prafke (Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman) — The strong backstop collected 14 hits and scored 17 runs, while hitting .278.

The all-Valley Conference second-team selection added eight RBIs and nine walks.

The senior catcher will travel to Rochester to join the Rochester Community and Technical College Yellowjackets alongside teammate Paxton Gravlin.

Paxton Gravlin (Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman) — The left-handed ace pitched 44 innings for the Jaguars in 2019, working out a 3.02 ERA and 5-3 record.

The two-time Valley Conference selection struck out 47 batters to lead the Jaguars.

At the plate, the lefty connected for 15 hits and 15 RBIs for a .300 batting average. He added 10 walks to put up on-base percentage at .416.

The senior lefty will join the RCTC Yellowjackets for the 2020 season.

Wyatt Geistfeld (Martin County West) — The Maverick hit for a .436 batting average on a team-leading 24 hits. The righty also led MCW in nearly every offensive category — generating 17 RBIs, five doubles, a triple and two home runs, while stealing six bases.

The junior also led the Mavericks with 30 2/3 innings pitched, allowing 13 earned runs for a 2.97 ERA. He struck out 26 batters through the season and pitched to a 2-1 record, while recording a save.

The all-Valley Conference selection highlighted his season when he threw a no-hitter on May 2, against Nicollet. Geistfeld allowed three walks, but struck out seven to earn the accomplishment.

Payton Anderson (Martin County West) — The right-handed first baseman helped power the Mavericks’ offense with his .361 batting average on 17 hits. Anderson scored 17 runs, while collecting five RBIs and walking 12 times, behind only Zac Spear, who had 13 walks, for the team lead.

Anderson also notched two doubles and hit one of the Mavericks’ three home runs on the season during his 47 at-bats.

Noah Morphew (North Union) — The crafty left-hander led the Warriors’ pitching rotation with 60 1/3 innings pitched, allowing 38 earned runs for a 4.41 ERA. Morphew struck out 72 batters during his mound tenure, making a team-leading 10 starts.

The leadoff batter also notched a .329 batting average to lead the Warriors’ offense.

The left-handed swinging Morphew totalled 24 hits, including 10 doubles and three triples, while scoring a team-leading 21 runs.

The junior also stole 18 bases and knocked in 11 RBIs.

Elliott Hagebock (North Union) — The on-base machine hit for a .304 average, but got on base at an astounding .451 rate, leading the Warriors’ regular batters.

The outfielder scored 11 runs and knocked in a team-leading 18 RBIs, while taking 15 walks and stealing 15 bases.