DuBOIS — The 2018 high school baseball season produced a mixed bag of results that saw three Tri-County Area teams capture District 9 titles while the other eight local teams hovered just above or finished below the .500 mark.
When the dust settled, DuBois Central Catholic (16-7), Johnsonburg (14-5) and St. Marys (15-7) ruled the area as the took D-9 titles in Class A, AA and 4A, respectively. The district crown for DCC was its second in three years.
The titles for Johnsonburg and St. Marys were a little longer coming, as the Rams won their first since 2007 and the Flying Dutchmen their first since 2000. It was just Johnsonnburg’s second-ever district title and St. Marys’ third.
Outside of those three, the only other area team to play for a district crown, as the Rovers (8-12) made an impressive postseason run in D-9 AA playoffs before falling in the finals to Johnsonburg, 12-6.
Redbank Valley (10-8), Clarion (10-8), Brookville (10-9), Curwensville (10-9) all finished with winning records after losing in the D-9 playoffs. Elk County Catholic (8-12), Clarion-Limestone (6-9) and DuBois (4-15) all ended the year with losing records, with DuBois being the lone team not to complete in the postseason.
Given the success of DCC, Johsnonburg and St. Marys, it should come as no surprise the trio have a heavy presence on the 2018 TCS/CE All-Stars.
Those teams’ coaches — Adam Fix (DCC), Jeff Peterson (Johnsonburg) and AJ Meeker (St. Marys) were all in the running for TCS/CE Coach of the Year, while DCC’s Thomas Grecco and St. Marys’ Nate Beimel found themselves in a tight race for Player of the Year honors along with Curwensville’s Bryce Timko. That trio all had stellar seasons on the mound and at the plate.
In the end, the area’s three championship squads combined to garner both major awards with the All-Stars and nine of the 14 First Team players.
Here is a closer look at the 2018 TCS/CE award winners and First-team All-Stars:
Player of the Year
Nate Beimel, Jr., St. Marys - Beimel had a huge presence on the mound, at the plate and on defense at first base when not pitching to help lead St. Marys to its first District 9 title in 18 years — with the last coming in Class 3A in 2000.
Beimel was a dominant force on the mound, tossing multiple no-hitters on his way to a perfect 5-0 record. He posted a 0.78 ERA with and impressive 92 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. A closer look at those stats show that Beimel only allowed six total runs (5 earned) on just 11 hits, with opponents hitting a miniscule .076 against him this year.
He ranked in the area in strikeouts, with his 92 being just three less than leader Thomas Grecco despite throwing nearly 13 less innings than the Cardinal. Beimel also was third in ERA and fourth in innings pitched and wins.
Beimel made a big impact with the bat as well, hitting .333 (21-for-63) with 22 RBIs, 12 runs, five doubles and four home runs. He tied for the area lead in homers and was second in RBIs.
Beimel is just the second Dutchmen to win Player of the Year honors, with the first being T.J. Goranti back in 1998.
Coach of the Year
Adam Fox, DuBois Central Catholic - Fox stepped into a head coaching role for the first time at the varsity level this past season, and all he did was lead DCC to a 16-7 record and the school’s second District 9 Class A title in three years.
And, he found a way to guide the Cardinals to 16 wins despite missing one of the area’s to players — junior Justin Miknis —for nine game this season due to illness. The Cardinals were 5-4 in Miknis’ absence and 11-3 with him in the lineup.
With Miknis back in the final week of the regular season, Central Catholic went on to capture the D-9 A title with a 7-4 victory against defending champion and top-seeded Oswayo Valley.
Overall, three of the Cardinals’ seven losses came by one run to Cathedral Prep (2-1) at the erie Seawolves Stadium, at Brookville as part of a split doubleheader with Curwensville in two locations that day and vs/ Greensburg Central Catholic (4-3) in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs.
First Team All-Stars
Pitcher: Thomas Grecco, Sr., DuBois Central Catholic - Grecco, a First Team infielder two years ago, ended his career on a high note with an impressive all-around season to help lead DCC to its second D-9 Class A title in three years.
Grecco lead all area pitchers in wins (7-2 record), innings pitched (57 1/3), strikeouts (96) and ERA (0.49).
The Cardinal senior also put together a strong year at the plate, hitting .389 (28-for-72) with 19 RBIs, 13 runs and 12 extra-base hits (9 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers). He tied for first in the area in doubles while ranking second in hits, and tied for fifth in homer and sixth in RBIs.
Pitcher: Bryce Timko, Sr., Curwensville - Timko was one of the top all-around players in the area and was the go-to guy on the mound for the Golden Tide.
He went 6-1 with a 0.68 ERA in 51 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out 86 and walked four. His lone loss came in the District 9 Class AA ??? when Brookville. He was second in the area in wins, innings pitched and ERA and was third in strikeouts.
Timko, who also played first base and the outfield when not pitching, hit .393 on the season (24-for-61) with 13 RBIs, 18 runs and eight extra-base hits (4 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homers). He tied for the area lead in triples and tied for fifth in homers.
Pitcher: Jared Groll, Sr., St. Marys - Like Beimel, Groll was another key two-way player as a pitcher/shortstop in the Dutchmen’s run to their first D-9 title since 2000.
Groll went 6-1 on the mound with a 2.41 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 29 innings of action.
He also hit .368 (21-for-57) with 15 RBIs and 12 runs, He tied for the team lead with six doubles and only committed three errors in the field.
Catcher: Justin Miknis, Jr., DuBois Central Catholic - Despite missing nine games due to illness, Miknis still finished amongst the area leaders in several offensive categories while being one of the top defensive catchers in the district.
Miknis, who also pitched and played some shortstop, led the area with a .513 average (20-for-39) amongst players who had two or more plate appearances per team game played. He tied with Grecco for the area lead in doubles with nine while driving in 16 runs and scoring 19 more. He added one triple and one homer.
On the mound, Miknis didn’t allow a run in 9 2/3 innings while striking out 11 and walking just one. He recorded one save.
Miknis was a First Team selection as a catcher as a freshman but landed on the Second Team a year ago as a designated hitter.
Infield: Garrett Prosper, Jr., DuBois Central Catholic - One of the best defensive first baseman in the area, Prosper put together another strong season at the plate hitting in the middle of the DCC lineup.
Prosper hit .338 average (24-for-71) with a team-high 21 RBIs, a total that tied for the third most in the area. He also had three doubles and scored 19 runs (tied for 7th in area).
Infield: Kobe Bonanno, Fr., Redbank Valley –Bonannno enjoyed a standout freshman season making the leap to the varsity level, leading team in every offensive category but hits.
Bonanno finished the year with a .403 average (21-for-52) with 21 RBIs, 22 runs and 14 extra-base hits (9 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers). He tied for the area lead in doubles and homers while tying for third in RBIs.
Infield: Neil MacDonald, Sr., Johnsonburg –MacDonald was among the top hitters in the area this past season and one of the key pieces in the Rams’ run to a D-9 Class AA title.
The senior hit .473 (26-for-55) with 19 RBIs, 26 runs and eight extra-base hits (3 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers). He ranked second in the area in average, third in runs and tied for third in hits and homers.
Infield: Spencer Miller, Sr., Clarion - Miller, a First-Team infielder a year ago as well, put together yet another strong season for a Bobcats squad that went 10-8 a year after reaching the PIAA Class A championship game.
Miller led the Bobcats in every offensive category outside RBIs and triples, hitting .464 (26-for-56) with eight RBIs, 23 runs and seven doubles. He ranked third in the area in average, tied for third in hits and fifth in runs.
He also committed just four errors at shortstop, while allowing just two earned in 14 inning on the mound with six strikeouts.
Infield: Aaron Park, Soph., Brookville - Park, last year’s TCS/CE Player of the Year as a freshman, put together another strong campaign both at the plate and on the mound for the Raiders.
The sophomore pitcher/third baseball ranked fourth in the area with a .451 average (23-for-51) to go along with 10 RBIs, 14 runs, two doubles, a triple and one homer.
On the mound, he posted a just a 3-4 record despite having a 1.25 ERA in 39 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 58 batters (5th in area) while walking only 11.
Outfield: Brandon Walker, Jr., DuBois Central Catholic - Walker played a vital role for the Cardinals this season both in the outfield and behind the plate filling in for Miknis when he was out.
The junior didn’t miss a beat at the plate despite taking on more of the catching duties. He hit .382 (26-for-68) with 18 RBIs, 28 runs and 10 extra-base hits (8 doubles, 2 triples). He tied for the area lead in runs and triples, while ranking tied for third in hits and tied for fourth in doubles.
Walker is making his second straight appearance on the TCS/CE First Team in the outfield.
Outfield: Tim Beimel, Sr., St. Marys - Beimel joined Nate Beimel and Groll to form a Big 3 for the Dutchmen when it comes to all-around performers.
He was one of the top defenders in the area in the outfield while putting together a strong year at the plate. He hit .411 average (23-for-56) with 16 RBIs and 12 runs. He also had seven extra-base hits (5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer). His average ranked seventh in the area.
On the mound, Beimel went 3-4 with and 2.12 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings. He was sixth in the area in strikeouts.
Outfield: Tyler McIntosh, Jr., DuBois Central Catholic - McIntosh enjoyed a breakout junior campaign and proved to be the spark plug at the top of the DCC lineup.
McIntosh batted .392 with an area-leading 29 hits to go along with 16 RBIs and 25 runs (4th most in area). He added four doubles and two triples (tied for area lead).
Designated Hitter: Avery Francisco, Jr., Curwensville - Francisco, a catcher by trade, was the top hitter for the Golden Tide, leading the team is just about every major offensive category but triples and homers.
He hit .431 (25-for-58) with 20 RBIs, 19 runs, six doubles and a home run. He ranked fifth in the area in average and RBIs, tied for sixth in RBIs and tied for seventh in runs scored.
Utility Player: Johnny Mitchell, Sr., Johnsonburg - Mitchell was a do-everything type player for the rams this year as the captured the D-9 Class AA title with Peterson back at the helm. He played a host of positions during the year, including pitcher, catcher, third base and shortstop.
At the plate, Mitchell hit .387 (24-for-62) with 17 runs, seven doubles, two homers and an area-best 24 RBIs.
The Ram senior also went 5-1 on the mound with a 2.90 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 29 innings of work.