They played in a combined five state championship games, and this year they again led their baseball teams to the final game on the final day of the season.
For their achievements, seniors Dillon Sears of Harlan Community (Class 4-A/3-A) and Tyler Laing of Carroll Kuemper (Class 2-A/1-A) are the honorary captains of The World-Herald’s All-Western Iowa baseball teams.
Sears will play at Division I Western Illinois next season after a brilliant five-year varsity career in which his teams went 148-33 (.818) and qualified for state all five seasons. Harlan finished second in 2015 and 2017 — losing 10-1 to Davenport Assumption in this year’s 3-A final — and won the state title last summer.
He played shortstop the last three years, and batted .438 this season with eight doubles, six triples, 30 RBIs and 45 stolen bases, along with a .558 on-base percentage. Sears was named the Small Schools West MVP in the IHSBCA All-Star Series last weekend, which was won by his team.
Harlan coach Steve Daeges said the Leathernecks will love his defensive ability and his effort.
“He’s not somebody that rests on his laurels,” he said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s constantly working on his skills.”
It would be hard to find a Class 2-A player in Iowa this season who had more of a two-way impact on his team than Carroll Kuemper’s Laing.
On the mound, the hard-throwing right-hander finished 6-4 with a 1.54 ERA, including 110 strikeouts and 31 walks. He struck out 12 in a 1-0 substate win over Forest City and nine in a 5-3 state quarterfinal win over Van Meter. The Knights lost 9-6 to Dyersville Beckman in the state final, repeating as the 2-A runner-up.
The DMACC recruit batted .405 with 12 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 52 RBIs for a .724 slugging percentage.
“He’s just a good baseball player with a big arm and a big bat,” Kuemper coach Randy Snyder said. “He pitched a lot of big games for us this year.”
Sears makes his third straight appearance on the All-WI first team, while four others are repeat first-team choices after making their respective second unit in 2015: Harlan senior Josh Cheek in 4-A/3-A along with Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto junior Colby Seuntjens, Treynor senior Brett Daley and West Harrison senior Keaton King in 2-A/1-A.
Six more are first-team selections for a second straight season: seniors Cole Loeffelbein of Glenwood, Matt Nelson of Sioux City Heelan, Brady Click of Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Blake Elam of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln in 4-A/3-A, and Laing and Clarinda junior Bryce Neal in 2-A/1-A.
Seven players make the jump from last year’s second team to the first unit in their respective division: Sioux City Heelan junior Colin Kasperbauer, Harlan sophomore Brett Sears and Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln senior Trey Nixon in 4-A/3-A, along with Bedford senior Quentin Sefrit, Council Bluffs St. Albert junior Garret Reisz, Ar-We-Va senior Derek Schurke and CAM senior Marcus Daugherty in 2-A/1-A.
The All-Western Iowa teams were chosen from ballots returned by western Iowa coaches, observations of World-Herald staff writers and a look at season statistical information.
All-Western Iowa Baseball teams
P Brady Click, SB-Luton, Sr.
P Brett Sears, Harlan, So.
P AJ Slaughter, Glenwood, Sr.
C Daulton Wilcoxen, CB A. Lincoln, Jr.
IF Dillon Sears, Harlan, Sr.
IF Ryan Doran, Harlan, Jr.
IF Blake Elam, CB A. Lincoln, Sr.
IF Trey Nixon, CB A. Lincoln, Sr.
OF Josh Cheek, Harlan, Sr.
OF Ryley McGregor, SB-Luton, Sr.
OF Matt Nelson, Sioux City Heelan, Sr.
UT Brendon Figueroa, CB Lewis Central, Sr.
UT Colin Kasperbauer, Sioux City Heelan, Jr.
UT Cole Loeffelbein, Glenwood, Sr.
UT Joel Stroman, Sioux City West, Sr.
Honorary captain: Dillon Sears, Harlan
P Trent Frerichs, Sioux City North, So.
P TJ Heineman, SB-Luton, Sr.
P Matthew Kerian, Sioux City Heelan, Sr.
C Jaden Driskell, Creston, Jr.
IF Jackson Boever, Sioux City Heelan, Jr.
IF Beau Bosley, Sioux City East, Sr.
IF Chase McLaren, Atlantic, So.
IF Dylan Moore, SB-Luton, Sr.
OF Max Duggan, CB Lewis Central, So.
OF Chase Hedrick, CB Lewis Central, Sr.
OF Kyle Schmitz, Harlan, Sr.
UT Connor Bruck, Harlan, Fr.
UT Fernando Cardenas, Denison-Schleswig, Sr.
UT Aaron Eybers, Sioux City North, Jr.
UT Sam Weber, Denison-Schleswig, Sr.
P Tyler Laing, Carroll Kuemper, Sr.
P Colby Seuntjens, Maple Valley-A-O, Jr.
P Kendrick Umphreys, Treynor, Sr.
C Drew Buckholdt, Exira-EHK, Sr.
C Quentin Sefrit, Bedford, Sr.
IF Brett Daley, Treynor, Sr.
IF Kaleb Harrison, Tri-Center, Jr.
IF Garret Reisz, CB St. Albert, Jr.
IF Micky Williamson, Audubon, Sr.
OF Marcus Daugherty, CAM, Sr.
OF Bryce Neal, Clarinda, Jr.
OF Brandon Riley, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Sr.
UT Jake Danner, Ar-We-Va, Sr.
UT Keaton King, West Harrison, Sr.
UT Tyson Partridge, Exira-EHK, Sr.
UT Derek Schurke, Ar-We-Va, Sr.
Honorary captain: Laing, Carroll Kuemper
P Ethan Mortensen, OA-BCIG, So.
P Zak Scott, Maple Valley-A-O, So.
P Jared Wilson, Missouri Valley, Jr.
C Ben Berg, Carroll Kuemper, Jr.
C Matt Glockel, East Mills, Sr.
IF Josh Degase, Clarinda, Sr.
IF R.J. Harris, AHSTW, Jr.
IF Drake Johnson, Stanton, So.
IF Jared Johnson, IKM-Manning, Jr.
OF Izak Baumhover, Carroll Kuemper, Jr.
OF Isaiah Humphrey, Underwood, Sr.
OF Danny Koch, CB St. Albert, Sr.
UT Thomas Hensley, CAM, Jr.
UT Tyler Kozeal, Tri-Center, Sr.
UT Isaac McAlister, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Sr.
UT Cy Patterson, CB St. Albert, 8th
Class 4-A/3-A: Reece Blay, CB Lewis Central; Mavrick Decker, Glenwood; Ray Ray Douglas, Sioux City West; Ethan Evers, CB Thomas Jefferson; Blake Faber, Sioux City West; Nick Foss, Harlan; Mason Heaton, Sioux City Heelan; Kadon Hulett, Creston; Chris Kroll, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Hunter Krommenhoek, Sioux City North; Jaden Langenfeld, Denison-Schleswig; Jared Moser, Harlan; Chase Mullenix, Atlantic; Drake Nettles, CB Lewis Central; Josh Nutt, Sioux City East; Alec Patino, Sioux City East; Tyler Rardin, CB Abraham Lincoln; Colton Schutte, Glenwood; Joel Thompson, CB Lewis Central; Noah Weeter, Sioux City North; Nate Zyzda, Sioux City East.
Class 2-A/1-A: Alex Amaral, Exira-EHK; Dean Bedell, Treynor; Austin Chester, CAM; Kyle Christensen, Treynor; Chase Contreraz, Missouri Valley; Anthony Cordes, AHSTW; Jason Cox, Treynor; Justin Cox, Treynor; Adam Grote, OA-BCIG; Carlos Guerra, Red Oak; Cole Halbur, Carroll Kuemper; Jared Hensley, Lenox; Dan Kenealy, Tri-Center; Connor Lange, Missouri Valley; Josh Lange, Audubon; Alex Lingle, IKM-Manning; Aaron Michael, MVAO; Jackson Nelson, Tri-Center; Brent Pendgraft, Riverside; Brandon Peterson, Stanton; Noah Pettepier, Exira-EHK; Nick Ravlin, Underwood; Sergio Rodriguez, Sidney; Kade Rotnicke, West Monona; Ryan Ruzek, Shenandoah; Brody Schlepp, Coon Rapids-Bayard; Aaron Schmitz, Lenox; Dylan Schroeder, East Mills; Drew Schurke, Ar-We-Va; Rease Snyder, Carroll Kuemper; Bodi Wallar, Underwood; Beau Weinheimer, Nodaway Valley; Cameron Whitehead, Sidney; Brandon Williams, CB St. Albert; Mitchell Williamson, CAM.