Selected by vote of The Times Sports staff, we are proud to present The Times 2021 All-Area Baseball Team:
Koy Allen, Fieldcrest, P/OF, sr.: Allen threw the most innings (35 2/3), had the most strikeouts (66) and recorded the lowest earned-run average (1.77) for the Knights. He was no slouch at the plate, either, batting .322 with 15 runs scored and 18 RBIs.
Payton Benning, Streator, P/IF, sr.: Streator’s southpaw capped off his prep career in style, batting .311 with a home run, 17 runs scored and 17 RBIs in addition to compiling a 4-3 record with a 2.97 ERA and 31 Ks over a team-high 34 2/3 innings pitched for the 3A regional champs.
Luke Couch, Marquette, P/IF, sr.: A unanimous selection, Couch batted a robust .481 with a team-leading 29 runs batted in for the Crusaders. He also notched 16 2/3 innings on the bump, recording a 3-1 record with a 2.52 earned-run average.
Matt Cruise, Seneca, P/IF, jr.: A unanimous selection, the 11th-grade middle infielder/pitcher drove home a team-high 21 runs while batting .328 and knocking three homers. On the hill, Cruise went 3-2 with 52 strikeouts and a 2.42 ERA over 34 2/3 innings.
Evan Evola, Ottawa, IF, sr.: A unanimous selection, the Pirates senior carried the ballclub’s most consistent stick. Evola posted team-highs in batting average (.415), runs batted in (20) and slugging percentage (.547).
Connor Holdiman, Serena, P/IF, sr.: A unanimous selection, the Huskers’ ace/shortstop tallied a 1.32 ERA with 70 strikeouts over 42 1/3 innings pitched on the bump, while at the dish batting .370 with 12 RBIs and 27 runs scored.
Joe Martin, Newark, P/IF, so.: Martin delivered his sophomore season for the 1A state-qualifying Norsemen with a .375 batting average, 27 RBIs and 22 runs scored offensively, and pitching with a 7-1 record, 1.06 ERA and 96 Ks over 46 1/3 innings.
Nick Melvin, Marquette, OF, sr.: A unanimous selection, Melvin hit safely more often than he was put out during the 2021 season. The Crusaders outfielder batted an area-leading .507 with a home run and 25 runs batted in for the Class 2A regional and sectional champs.
Logan Nelson, Marquette, P/IF, so.: The Crusaders 10th-grader accumulated a .382 batting average with 13 runs batted in and one home run. He also added 11 innings worked on the mound, where he posted a 3.18 earned-run average.
Lucas Pasakarnis, Newark, C, jr.: A unanimous selection, the Norsemen backstop was stellar both defensively with .996 fielding percentage and at the plate, where he hit .424 with 22 runs scored and an eye-popping, area-leading 42 runs batted in.
Dalton Reibel, Newark, P/IF, sr.: A unanimous selection, the Norsemen ace led the way to the Class 1A state finals with his 11-0 pitching mark, 67 strikeouts over 62 2/3 innings worked and 2.12 ERA. He also helped his own cause with a .388 batting average, 24 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Brayden Roe, Seneca, OF, sr.: The Fighting Irish outfielder led Seneca in batting average with his .391 clip and scored a team-best 25 runs in addition to his two home runs and dozen runs batted in.
Jake Serby, Ottawa, P/OF, sr.: Some absolutely stellar pitching performances against tough competition earned Serby his First Team spot, with the senior working 31 innings with a 2.03 ERA and 28 strikeouts. He also added four RBIs on offense.
Logan Williamson, Streator, P/IF, sr.: A unanimous selection, Williamson was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bulldogs during stretches of the season, finishing with a .366 batting average, 23 RBIs, 35 runs scored and an area-leading five home runs.