By: Timothy Kays
A high school sports award ceremony, depending on how much is going on, can sometimes last two hours in length. The Wauseon Baseball Awards ceremonies of June 3 did not last two hours…they went for two days, and with a good reason.
The Tribe Varsity squad rang up a 21-6 record for 2014, ranking them #8 in the OHSBCA D-II polls and #4 in the PBR D-II polls. Their 8-0 mark in the NWOAL saw them keeping the conference championship hardware for the second year in a row. The JV squad was just as lethal, going 14-8 and 7-1 in the NWOAL. The awards handed out on the evening were well earned, but by and large they were team and conference awards. True respect from one’s peers is evident when the District and State team cards are filled out, and the Tribe generated a lot of respect in 2014. More on that later.
The JV team honored their own by presenting Travis Smith the Fielding Award, and Marcel Barajas the Pitching Award. Jacob Flory came away with the batting award, and Josh Whitcomb took the Coach’s Award.
In the Varsity ranks, Ty Suntken won the Batting Award (.459 BA), the Pitching Award (7-1 and 0.137 ERA for the entire season) and the Four Year Award. He was named to the All-NWOAL First Team, and for the third year in a row was named the NWOAL Player of the Year. He was elected the D-II All-Northwest District Player of the Year, and is a member of the 2014 Academic All-Ohio Team.
Joshua Kauffman was elected to the All-NWOAL Second Team and the D-II All-Northwest District First Team, and also received the Teammate Award.
Jacob Newlove was named to the D-II All-Northwest District Second Team and the All-NWOAL First Team. Axel Bueter was tabbed for the D-II All-Northwest District First Team and the All-NWOAL First Team. He became the latest member of the Wauseon No-Hitter Club, and received the Fielding Award.
Although not receiving a special team award, Clay Tefft joined Ty Suntken on the 2014 Academic All-Ohio Team. Likewise, Jeremiah Kauffman was tabbed with a D-II All-Northwest District Honorable Mention.
The big news came on the day following the gathering in Wauseon, and it came from Columbus. The Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Division II All-Ohio Poll Team voting results, which were supposed to be released the day prior, finally became known on June 4. The polling results were well worth the wait. Axel Bueter became the seventh Wauseon Indian to be named D-II All-Ohio Second Team, coming aboard as the outfield.
Ty Suntken, who was named D-II All-Ohio Second Team during his sophomore campaign, and D-II All-Ohio First Team in 2013, repeated his results by being renamed to the First Team again in 2014…with a twist.
Suntken is one of three Wauseon Indians to receive D-II All-Ohio First Team Honors, and along with Cory Griggs, is one of the only two to make the First Team twice. On this day though, Ty Suntken took a breath of rarified air as he became the first Wauseon Indian to ever be named as D-II All-Ohio Player of the Year. With that nod, he gained a clean sweep as Player of the Year in the NWOAL, the D-II All-Northwest District, and the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Division II All-Ohio Poll…all in 2014.
Accolades like those from the Northwest District and the OHSBCA are not local. They are indicators of respect from coaches all around the State of Ohio. They are reflections of dedication to the game. When players earn accolades this high up, their team has great leadership.
Without great leadership, you don’t crank out an undefeated NWOAL season in a conference that contains the likes of Patrick Henry, Archbold and Bryan. The inadvertent two-day event called the Wauseon Baseball Awards was a celebration of that leadership, as well as the leadership to come.
That makes for some serious celebration that simply could not be contained by just one evening in the Wauseon High School cafeteria.
Timothy Kays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org