Cleveland seniors Bryce Novak and Danny McCabe were chosen as members of both the All-Valley Conference first team as well as the All-Section 2A team.
The Minnesota State Baseball Coaches Association also named Novak as an all-state player, and his teammates voted him as the Clippers’ Most Valuable player.
The dynamic duo and other members of the Cleveland Clipper baseball team were recognized at an awards ceremony, held at the Cleveland Church of Christ Thursday.
Novak, who typically played shortstop when he was not staffing the mound, hit .650 with a pair of home runs and swiped 15 bases. For his effort at the dish, he took home the Offensive Triple Crown award. The Clippers’ top man on the hill, he also went 5-1 as a pitcher, striking out 87 with only four walks allowed and a 0.641 ERA.
“He had a great season,” said head coach Bill John. “It was great to see he was honored as All State by the Minnesota Baseball Coaches Association.”
McCabe, who played infield and outfield, hit a solid .462 and earned a team award for the most runs scored.
“He was an excellent leadoff man, with speed on the bases and power to go with it,” John said. “He was also golden on defense in center field, catching anything hit his way.”
Both McCabe and Novak will put on a Gustie uniform next spring.
Catcher Lucas Mueller, a junior, was an All-Conference Honorable Mention and was voted by his teammates as the Defensive MVP. He also was 3-1 as a pitcher and hit .355 for the season.
“Lucas was strong behind the plate and will be a solid leader coming back for his senior year,” John said.
Shane Rogers, a senior outfielder, was voted by his teammates as the Clippers’ Most Improved Player. He hit a respectable .300 after the season midway point.
“Shane had a big second half with the bat and also played a solid outfield,” John said.
The Clippers voted Carter Dylla as the team’s Rookie of the Year. Dylla, a freshman, picked up his bat in the second half of the season, when he hit over .350. Defensively, he started at second base all year.
“We will look for a big sophomore season from him,” John said.
Senior first baseman Brendon Brown was picked by his teammates to receive the Clipper Award for outstanding effort, leadership and attitude.
“Brendon was a wall at first base and the emotional leader for the team,” John said. “He had some crucial hits during the season, driving in some big runs.”
All State Academic Awards went to Brown, Novak and Danny McCabe.
The Clippers started the season 6-2 going in to the first Loyola game and gave the Crusaders a good run for the conference lead but had trouble finding enough arms at times.
“When we started playing three or four games a week, we needed more pitching depth, but our bats came around in the second half of the season,” John said. “We were hitting around .250 about half way point and ended up hitting .310 as a team. I think that bodes well for next season.”
The Clippers finished the season 10-9. Besides Loyola, they also fell to Martin County West and Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther in the Valley. They came back to easily down GHEC/T/ML in the sections.
The Clippers’ season ended in the second round of the section playback bracket on June 1 when Loyola beat them for the third time this season.
The Clippers, who fell 12-2 in five innings to Loyola, gave up 17 hits. Mueller, who threw for two and a third innings, suffered the loss. Taking over, Dylla tossed for two innings, and Michael Sullivan threw for a third of an inning.
The Clippers had six hits and struck out seven times. Novak had a double in the first to score Danny McCabe and a triple in the third to score Alex McCabe. Danny McCabe, Alex McCabe, Mueller and Rogers each singled.
Chosen as next year’s captains were Mueller, his classmate Michael Sullivan and third baseman Alex McCabe, who will be a junior next spring.
“Michael played a crucial role, coming back as a catcher for Lucas Mueller he kept everything in front of him,” John said. “He played multiple positions for us as we moved our starters around based on our pitching”
John was thankful for the seniors, which also included Austin Gibeau, who started in right field.
“Congratulations to them on finishing their Clipper athletic careers. Good luck to them in their futures. With that, we will look forward to next year’s competition with five open varsity spots. I hope that the work ethic example set by this year’s seniors will carry through for the underclassmen.”
It was the first year coaching for John, who came to Cleveland after a long stint as an assistant coach at Burnvsille.
“I really enjoyed my first season here,” John said. “I had people ask me about the difference coming from a 4A school, and what I would say is the game is the same, the kids are the same, we talked about the same things, we had to coordinate gym time and cage time just the same. We had a lot of fun, worked hard, and as coaches, we thought the kids really showed well this year.”
John also thanked his assistants.
“Our coaching staff, with Mike Krenik and Alec Rogers, were a big help showing me the local ropes and did a great job on the field with the kids.”