Milford coach and player awarded, teammates and GE honored also

By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

The postseason honors are piling up for the Milford Eagles after the team finished the 2013 season with their third league title in four years as well as a district final appearance.

In their inaugural season in the upstart Eastern Cincinnati Conference, the Eagles went 21-7 overall and 10-2 in the league to claim the title while their fellow Clermont County residents, Glen Este went 11-14 overall and 5-7 in the league to finish in solo fourth.

Both squads had their highs and lows throughout the season and the conference honored the best of the best from both schools in their first edition of the ECC All Conference Teams.

Individual honors were bestowed on a pair of Milford Eagles, one player and one coach.

Senior utility man Cole Eckelman was named the Athlete of the Year in the conference for his exceptional play at multiple positions for the Eagles.

“Cole had a fantastic year,” Milford head coach Tom Kilgore said. “He’s a very good defensive right fielder. He also had a good offensive year as well as contributing as a spot starter and relief pitcher for us. He did a little bit of everything for us.”

Eckelman’s numbers reflect his versatility, hitting .367 with a .485 on-base percentage. He also knocked in 23 runs and had eight doubles. From the mound, the senior appeared in 10 games, notching a 2-1 record, recording one save, sporting a 1.38 earned run average and striking out 19. And in the field, Eckelman was near the top of the team in fielding percentage, making just two errors all season and assisting on five outs.

With credit being given to Eckelman and the host of other seniors on the team, Coach Kilgore was named the Coach of the Year in the conference for the second year in a row and the fourth time since 2008.

“(The award) is a reflection that we had a good conference year as well as a good overall year,” Kilgore said. “Usually, you’re not the Coach of the Year unless your team has some success and this (award) is a reflection of that.”

Aside from Kilgore and Eckelman, 10 other Eagles were honored by the ECC. A senior-laden team, four of the fourth-year players were placed on the First Team All-Conference. They were Zach Cook, Ryan Henning, Joe Zurschmeide and Eckelman. Ty Helton, a junior, was the lone non-senior from Milford to earn First Team honors.

Fellow seniors Jack Garrett and Austin Walker were named to the Second Team.

“We had 11 seniors this year and they had major contributions (to the program),” Kilgore said. “Back-to-back league championships, a district runner-up this year. Zach Cook, a four-year varsity player, won three league championships in four years, which I think is unprecedented at Milford.”

Other Eagles named to the Second Team All-Star rosters were sophomore Justin Arnold and juniors Hunter Losekamp and Andrew Minton.

The Glen Este Trojans were well represented as well, placing six athletes on the various All-Conference teams. The trio of Austin Istvan and the brothers Burdick, Peyton and Tyler, were named to the First Team.

The three First Teammers were 1-2-3 in batting this past season with Peyton Burdick leading the team in average, hitting .438. Istvan had the most hits (36) and RBI (30) on the team in eight more at-bats than Peyton and Tyler Burdick hit just a shade under .400 with 20 RBI.

A pair of Trojan seniors, Austin Rieck and Tyler Sloan were named to the Second Team and sophomore Jake Neely was an Honorable Mention.