With ADM representing the last of the remaining Raccoon River Conference baseball teams left standing, their exit from the state tournament prompts the release of all-conference selections.
For a season in which ADM graced the state tournament for the second straight year, there were plenty of deserving individuals to earn all-conference honors but in the end, eight Tigers were selected to receive conference selections. Coach Jason Book and his team saw four individuals earn first-team honors followed by one-second team honoree and three honorable mentions.
First Team All-Conference
The four first-team selections for ADM marked the most out of all the conference teams. It also marked the most first-team selections for the Tigers in over five years.
The ADM senior baseball class certainly left their mark across the 2020 season. Four of ADM’s senior stars ranked ninth or better in the conference in RBI production (46 total) and highlighting that group was Kaden Sutton who earned made his way onto the first-team infield. Before Sutton officially dives into collegiate football at Iowa State University, he struck for 13 RBI ranking fifth among Raccoon River Conference baseball seniors. Sutton produced a .302 batting average complete with 19 total hits and one home run.
“Sutton is a very solid athlete,” said Tiger head coach Jason Book. “He could definitely play baseball at the next level as well.”
Fellow senior Chase Anderson also made his way onto the first-team list. This is Anderson’s second straight All-Conference selection as he was selected as a utility player. No conference senior class was better in doubles production than ADM (25) and no individual senior was better than Anderson who totaled a conference-best ten doubles for the campaign. Anderson totaled at least one hit in 15 of the 20 games played for ADM but reached base in some way in all but one contest in 2020. Anderson capped off the year with a .348 average with an on-base mark of .442.
“I swear Chase welcomes tough situations and wants to start at-bats with two strikes,” joked coach Book earlier this season. “He’s so good at wearing down pitchers and he’s exactly what you’re looking for in a leadoff hitter.”
Anderson was also a strong pitcher tossing 39 strikeouts while producing a conference-best 0.85 ERA.
Few individuals were able to match what junior Tate Stine-Smith was able to do this season and because of that, he earned first-team honors as an outfielder. Nobody in fact produced more hits than Stine-Smith’s 29. The junior slugger parlayed those 29 hits to strike a .439 batting average with a team-best mark of .479. This is Stine-Smith’s first time on an all-conference baseball list. Stine-Smith was one of just a handful of conference players to strike at least one hit in all but two games played.
“We kind of knew last year how great Tate could be but this year he really showed it,” said Book. “He’s so quick with his hands and sees the ball really well. He has been such a gold contributor for us this year.”
Arguably one of the better pitchers in the Raccoon River Conference was Zach Fuller. The senior ended up on his second all-conference baseball list, this year doing so as a pitcher. No one had the knack for tossing strikeouts quite like Fuller who led all conference pitchers with 54 punch-outs on the season. No pitcher was better within the conference as well as 33 of those 54 strikeouts came against conference opponents. Teams, in general, had a hard time hitting against Fuller but conference teams had a much tougher time hitting just .192 against the senior. Consistency has been well associated with Fuller in 2020 as he has tossed at least five strikeouts in eight of nine appearances on the mound this season.
“Zach is the type of guy you want on the mound against tough teams,” said Book earlier in the season. “He does a great job mixing his pitches and finding ways to get batters uncomfortable at the plate.”
Second Team All-Conference
One of the biggest breakout stars for ADM in 2020 was junior Cole Williamson. It was a season that grew for Williamson who concluded things with a second-team all-conference honor in the utility role. Williamson had nine recorded hits on the season and was rather efficient whenever he did so as evident by seven runs driven in. The junior was also pretty strong on the mound where he ranked sixth among conference pitchers in fewest earned runs with a mere seven on the season. He was one of just several pitchers to record a full seven-inning game which he did so back on June 23 where he allowed just three hits.
There were three honorable mention honorees for ADM including senior Jaxson Millsap and juniors Grant Garton and Lucas Curry. With the strong pitching for ADM, Millsap was there to elevate things to a new level. He paced the entire Raccoon River Conference field in put-outs on the season with 151, a full 14 ahead of the runner-up. Offensively, Millsap was fifth on ADM’s roster with 20 hits total which included a pair of walk-off game winners.
Grant Garton was a big piece to the overall puzzle as well. Garton also produced 20 hits on the season and finished the 2020 campaign with a .323 batting average. Also in his first varsity season, Lucas Curry earned all-conference honors for his 2020 campaign. Curry was third on the team with 25 put-outs defensively while offensively striking a .308 batting average with nine hits and four runs driven in.
It was the first time in school history where ADM punched a state tournament ticket while on their home field. A large part of that could be credited to the eight all-conference honorees.