2024, Varsity Baseball | July 7, 2024

Meet The Times 2024 All-Area baseball teams

nwitimes.com – Grace Opinker

Here are the Region’s top baseball players from the 2024 season.

First team

Brayden Barrett, Sr., Chesterton, P/SS

Stats: .370 BA, 19 RBI, 11 SB, .879 OPS; 51.2 IP, 67 K, 13 BB, 2.30 ERA

The All-DAC player helped Chesterton’s baseball team earn its first sectional championship since 2018. Barrett delivered a complete game effort to secure a 7-4 victory over Lowell, allowing six hits and four runs with eight strikeouts and two walks. He will continue his baseball career at Purdue Northwest.

Mason Barth, Jr., Andrean, P/SS

Stats: .442 BA, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 15 SB

The Norte Dame commit was named to Prep Baseball Report’s All-State team. Barth was also recognized as the most skilled shortstop in the state for Class 3A with a selection to the IHSBCA All-State Team.

Dylan Bowen, So., Hanover Central, SS

Stats: .430 BA, 28 RBI

Bowen is a top-notch shortstop in the Region who is recognized on PBR as the No. 2 ranked player in the state for the class of 2026. The sophomore’s offensive abilities helped him earn the NCC offensive player of the year award.

Nick Bravo, Jr., Wheeler, 3B/SS/P

Stats: .417 BA, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB, 1.073 OPS

The uncommitted junior went 2-for-3 to lead Wheeler to a 2A sectional title. The Bearcats had a successful season, finishing second in the Greater South Shore Conference with their only two conference losses being against Illiana Christian, the Class 2A state runner up.

Logan Cotton, Jr., Crown Point, 3B/P

Stats: .250 BA, 9 RBI, .614 OPS; 52.1 IP, 81 K, 15 BB, 1.47 ERA, 0.92 WHIP

The 6-foot-4 righty throws a striking 90.5 MPH fastball which helped him finish the season with a 1.45 ERA. The Indiana commit was recognized as an All-DAC player for the 2023-24 season.

Caden Crowell, Jr., Valparaiso, 1B/P

Stats: .449 BA, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 2 SB, 1.231 OPS; 28 IP, 53 K, 7 BB, 0.25 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

The Notre Dame commit has proved he has the ability to perform on offense and deliver on the mound after recording a .449 batting average and a 0.25 ERA. The DAC’s most valuable pitcher ranks second in the state on PBR for the class of 2025.

Rob Czarniecki, So., Chesterton, P/OF

Stats: .489 BA, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 9 SB, 1.540 OPS; 28.2 IP, 45 K, 12 BB, 0.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

The two-way player was named to IHSBCA’s All-State team in part for his arm strength in the outfield. The DAC’s MVP is Chesterton’s first player to be named to IHSBCA’s First Team since Trojans catcher BJ Pahs in 2001.

Mason Jarrett, Jr., Munster, OF

Stats: .410 BA, 28 RBI, 14 SB, 1.112 OPS

Jarrett was named to the NCC’s First Team with a daunting 87 mph exit velocity from the outfield. The NCC offensive player of the year nominee earned Munster’s Golden Bat Award.

Nick Robinson, Sr., Lake Central, OF

Stats: .386 BA, 25 RBI, 38 SB, .951 OPS

The All-DAC outfielder was nearly cut from Lake Central’s roster his freshman year. Robinson’s aggressiveness on the base paths with 38 stolen bases was a vital key to the Indians earning their first state title since 2012.

Griffin Tobias, Sr., Lake Central, P/SS

Stats: .307 BA, 1 HR, 18 RBIs, .858 OPS; 66.1 IP, 98 K, 11 BB, 0.95 ERA, 0.84 WHIP

The Times Baseball Player of the Year has been recognized by area coaches as one of the best pitchers the Region has seen. Lake Central head coach Mike Swartzentruber said the Indiana signee will go down as one of the school’s most decorated student-athletes. The right-handed star had 41 strikeouts in the postseason alone.

Blake Sivak, Sr., Lake Central, P

Stats: 57.1 IP, 60 Ks, 15 BB, 1.22 ERA

The Maryville commit was an indispensable piece to Lake Central’s state championship team striking out three in 3 2/3 innings at the Class 4A state title game against Mooresville. The four-year varsity member often flew under the radar, but tallied a 11-1 record for conference games during the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

Caiden Verrett, Jr., Hanover Central, C

Stats: .376 BA, 1 HR, 24 RBI

The Times 2023 Offensive Football Player of the Year showed his athletic abilities span across more than one sport hitting one homerun, one triple and 12 doubles this season.

Isaac VanderWoude, Sr., Illiana Christian, SS

Stats: .425 BA, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 22 SB, 1.431 OPS

The IHSBCA All-State shortstop for 2A was a close second for player of the year. The Virginia commit had 37 hits this past season with one home run, one triple and 10 doubles. VanderWoude’s superb offensive skills assisted in the Vikings having a shot at winning their third consecutive Class 2A state title.

Second team

Tyler Balkema, Sr., Illiana Christian, 2B/3B

Stats: .395 BA, 22 RBI, 14 SB, 1.014 OPS

Balkema’s offensive abilities allowed him to stay in the rankings with some of the Region’s best players throughout the season.

Troy Barrett, So., Chesterton, P

Stats: .426 BA, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 5 SB, 1.106 OPS; 53.1 IP, 83 K, 12 BB, 1.18 ERA

Barrett began the season with a four-game shutout streak across 24 innings to start his varsity career.

Nate Brumfield, Sr., Valparaiso, OF

Stats: .364 BA, 1 HR, 16 RBI, .975 OPS

The Wabash commit was voted All-DAC as an outfielder.

Xavier Carrera, Jr., Boone Grove, P/INF

Stats: .403 BA, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 14 SB, 1.217 OPS; 32.1 IP, 38 K, 33 BB, 3.03 ERA

The Indiana commit earned MVP for the Porter County Conference.

Grant Cowger, Sr., Morgan Township, P/CF

Stats: .393 BA, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 19 SB, 1.016 OPS; 35.1 IP, 45 K, 11 BB, 2.58 ERA

Cowger’s pitching and offensive abilities assisted in the Cherokees winning their first regional title in program history.

Trevor Fenters, Jr., Valparaiso, 1B/3B/P

Stats: .359 BA, 3 HR, 25 RBI, .961 OPS; 48 K, 42.1 IP, 48 K, 10 BB, 1.82 ERA

Fenters went 5-0 on the mound in DAC matchups with shutouts against Crown Point and Lake Central.

Drew Kosteba, Jr., Lake Central, OF

Stats: .308 BA, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 8 SB, .898 OPS

Kosteba hit national charts after appearing as the No. 1 play on SportsCenter for jumping over Chesterton’s catcher to earn a 2-0 lead in the regional championship.

Tyler Peller, Sr., Andrean, OF

Stats: .325 BA, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 10 SB

The Wabash Valley commit was a member of the IHSBCA North All-Star team.

Anthony Rayski, Jr., Hanover Central, P

Stats: 30 Ks, 1.75 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

The Wildcats junior was voted Northwest Crossroads Conference pitcher of the year.

Niko Rodriguez, Sr., Morton, P

Stats: .508 BA, 1 HR, 26 RBI, 14 SB, 1.307 OPS; 44.1 IP, 77 K, 32 BB, 4.42 ERA

The four-year varsity starter competed on the mound against some of the DAC’s toughest batters.

Kaleb Short, Sr. River Forest, RHP/SS/CF

Stats: .627 BA, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 40 SB, 1.760 OPS; 58.1 IP, 123 K, 18 BB, 1.08 ERA

Short consistently ranked atop the Region batting average leaderboard throughout the season, and No. 1 in the state on MaxPreps.

Honorable mention

Aiden Anthony, Jr., Griffith, INF/P; Spencer Bandstra, So., Illiana Christian, P/OF; Andrew Burris, Jr., Hobart, 1B/P; Davian Carrera, Jr., Boone Grove, 1B/OF/P; Ryan Gordon, Sr., Highland, C; Aslyn Farinelli, Sr., Crown Point 3B/P; Brandon Fergerson, So., River Forest, 1B/SS/P; Ryder Fernandez, Jr., Lake Central, 3B; Ivan Mastalski, Jr., Andrean, P; Quinn O’Bryan, Sr., Lake Central, 2B; Tanner Post, So., Illiana Christian, P/OF; Jaylen Rutherford, Jr., Hanover Central, OF; Zak Scharnke, So., Lowell, SS; Nathan Southwell, So., Munster, 1B/OF; Jack Wheeler, Sr., Morgan Township, P.

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