By Chris Chaney
The Southern Buckeye Conference National Division All-Star baseball teams were announced and feature a mixture of student-athletes from Batavia, Clermont Northeastern, Felicity-Franklin and Williamsburg.
Both Clermont Northeastern and Batavia landed five individuals on either the First or Second Team, followed by Williamsburg with three and Felicity with two.
For the Rockets, a trio of senior leaders were selected to represent the school on the First Team All-Conference team: Zane Bierman, Joey Cockerham and Chad Dorsey.
“Those three really carried us as a team,” CNE head coach Mike Kirk said. “Between Zane, Joey and Chad, they led us in every offensive category, from RBI to batting average to on-base percentage to home runs. They were a big reason for our success, that’s for sure.”
The Rockets’ success included capturing their third straight sectional title in 2013 while compiling a 16-8 overall record and achieving a 6-4 mark in the SBC.
Dorsey, who played first base and batted clean up for the Rockets, hit .398 with a .490 on-base percentage. He also scored 21 runs and knocked in 28 more.
“He was really the leader of our team in terms of batting average,” Kirk said, “and as well as his enthusiasm and excitement that he brought to the ballpark everyday.”
The other two seniors, Bierman and Cockerham, played up the middle for the Rockets, something Kirk pointed out as the backbone of a team.
“Zane caught for us the last two years and I feel like your team is only as strong as you are up the middle,” Kirk said, referencing the catcher, pitcher, shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. “I knew without a doubt that we had one of the best catchers in the league and Zane did a good job with anything we asked of him.”
Bierman led the team in runs batted in, plating 39 runs during his senior season while batting .376 with a .478 on-base percentage.
Cockerham was another aspect of that backbone of the Rockets, playing second base for the majority of the season as well as pitching 33 innings and boasting a 3.61 earned run average. He also struck out 24 batters. From the dish, Cockerham hit .373 with a .509 on-base percentage, the best on the team. He drove in 29 runs and hit 13 doubles.
“You weren’t going to outwork Joey Cockerham,” Kirk said. “He brought a lot of excitement to the ballpark and played as hard as any kid I’ve ever coached.”
The Rockets also landed a pair on the Second Team, Jay Teaney and Trey Amann, a junior and sophomore, respectively. Both will be charged with leading the Rockets into the next era of CNE baseball as the seniors move on.
“We return a lot of our pitching and a lot of our guys that are coming back bring a lot of experience from teams that have won three sectional titles,” Kirk said. “Hopefully, we won’t miss a beat.”
For the Bulldogs who finished 14-6 overall and 8-2 in the SBC, their go-to guys Austin Lenhardt and Ryan Gormley both received First Team nods as seniors. Also, juniors Kyle Schmitgen and Dylan Glover were placed on the First Team All-SBC.
Schmitgen led the team in batting average, getting a hit at a .535 clip and getting on base just under 55-percent of the time.
Glover was second in batting average, hitting .467 with a .543 on-base percentage. Lenhardt was right behind Glover, hitting .456 with a .569 on-base percentage. The senior also stole 11 bases and knocked in 33 runs.
Lastly, Gormley hit .408 with 21 RBI and scored 18 runs.
The three First Teammers from Batavia were joined by a pair of Second Team selections, senior Hunter Meadors and junior Kyle Grant.
Representing Williamsburg on the First Team All-Conference were a pair of underclassmen, freshman Zach Ward and sophomore Austin Horn.
Ward hit a team-best .525 and knocked in 13 RBI on 21 hits. Horn hit .420 with a .463 on-base percentage. He also knocked in 12 runs and had eight doubles.
On the Second Team from Williamsburg was senior Max Madsen.
Finally, the Felicity Cardinals had a pair of individuals honored as the team took back to the diamond in 2013. Josh Shelton, a junior, was named to the First Team and Jesse Miles, another junior, was placed on the Second Team.
Shelton hit .429 and Miles hit .406.