The Poynette prep baseball team didn’t have the greatest start to its season this spring.
The Pumas lost 10 of their first 11 games, including their first eight of the year, with just three decided by three runs or fewer. Poynette eventually found its swing however, getting into a groove to close out the regular season on a 5-2 run before narrowly getting edged out by perennial power Markesan in a WIAA Division 3 regional final, 4-3.
Two key cogs in the Pumas late season resurgence were juniors Carter Hansen and Michael Leiterman. The efforts of the pair that helped fuel Poynette’s push for a regional title didn’t go unnoticed as the rest of the Capitol North Conference recognized the labors with a pair of first-team all-league honors.
The duo was part of 10 area selections alongside rival Lodi, who tallied seven picks of its own. League runner-up Lakeside Lutheran tallied nine selections to lead the six-team league while Capitol North champion Columbus had eight, led by league Player of the Year Trace Kirchberg.
Hansen did damage at both the plate and in the field as the Pumas starting shortstop, recording a team-best .352 batting average in 19 games. Hansen tallied 19 hits in 54 at-bats, including a double, while bringing in a second-best eight runs.
He also recorded a .426 on-base percentage and a .370 slugging percentage throughout the course of the year. In league play, Hansen tuned things up with a .448 BA, .529 OBP and a .483 slugging percentage. He notched 13 of hits during the Pumas’ 2-8 league campaign, including the double, and brought in six runs.
In the field, Hansen had 19 putouts and 26 assists in 50 chances with just five errors, good for a .900 fielding percentage.
Similar to Hansen, Leiterman was a solid two-way threat for the Pumas, but the stout right fielder did the majority of his damage at the plate. Leiterman tallied 14 hits on the year, including a pair of doubles and a home run, good for a third-best seven RBIs.
He recorded an overall batting average of .311 (.333 in league play), as well as a.484 OBP and a .422 slugging percentage (.531 and .381). Leiterman had half of his hits in league play, including one double, as well as four RBIs.
In the field he had 27 putouts with five assists while committing just three errors for a .914 fielding percentage. The pair helped the Pumas finish the season 6-13 overall.
Along with the duo of Hansen and Leiterman, Lodi had four first-team selections in seniors Carson Possehl, Finn Melchior and Carson Richter, as well as junior Mitchell Lane.
Possehl and Richter proved to be one of the best batteries in the league with Possehl on the bump and Richter behind home plate, while Melchior provided another strong arm in the Blue Devils rotation and was selected as an infielder. Lane meanwhile was a unanimous first-team selection at designated hitter after helping the Blue Devils finish alongside Lakeside Lutheran for second place in the conference 6-4.
The threesome guided Lodi to another Div. 2 regional title after topping Columbus, 8-3, before falling to Mt. Horeb, 5-3, in sectional semifinal game on June 22.
Coupled with the trio of first-team selections, Lodi seniors Brady Ziegler and Trey Traeder each garnered second-team honors at pitcher and utility player, respectively. Rounding out the group was freshman Mason Lane, who garnered honorable mention status as an outfielder in his debut varsity season.
The group helped the Blue Devils to a 13-11 overall mark, also bolstered by a strong end of season push as Lodi won four of its final five games in the regular season before springing three upsets to win the regional title as the No. 5 seed in its grouping.
ALL-CAPITOL NORTH CONFERENCE</&hspag4>
Player of the Year — Trace Kirchberg, Sr., Columbus.
Pitchers — *Christian Oppor, Jr., Columbus; Carson Possehl, Sr., Lodi; Elijah Shevey, Sr., Watertown Luther Prep.
Catcher — Carson Richter, Sr., Lodi.
Infielders — Finn Melchior, Sr., Lodi; Carter Hansen, Jr., Poynette; A.J. Uttech, Soph., Columbus; Kyle Schupmann, Jr., Watertown Luther Prep.
Outfielders — *Sam Giombetti, Sr., Lake Mills; Michael Leiterman, Jr., Poynette; Riley Schmidt, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran.
Utility player — *Trace Kirchberg, Sr., Columbus.
Designated hitter — *Mitchell Lane, Jr., Lodi.
<&SPAGEm>* — denotes unanimous selection.</&SPAGEm>
Pitchers — Brady Ziegler, Sr., Lodi; Ian Olszewski, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran.
Catcher — Nate Yaroch, Soph., Lakeside Lutheran.
Infielders — Nathan Chesterman, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran; Gabe Uttech, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran; James Mobry, Sr., Columbus; Caden Belling, Soph., Lake Mills.
Outfielders — Brady Schroeder, Jr., Columbus; Eli Buchta, Jr., Lakeside Lutheran; David Baumann, Sr., Watertown Luther Prep.
Utility player — Trey Traeder, Sr., Lodi.
Designated hitter — Derek Bruce, Soph., Lake Mills.
Pitcher — Ben Krueger, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran.
Catchers — Jefferson Mobry, Fr., Columbus; Owen Ernest, Sr., Watertown Luther Prep.
Infielders — Maymeson Sullivan, Soph., Columbus; Brady Link, Fr., Columbus; Brock Schneider, Jr., Lakeside Lutheran; Parker Winghart, Soph., Watertown Luther Prep.