BENNINGTON >> Our annual all-star team recognizes the best baseball players in the area.
We have surveyed the area, studied the game from the sideline and quizzed local coaches on the top players around. Many were worthy of recognition for their exploits this spring, but the process, ultimately, results in only a handful of honorees. Our selections should in no way diminish the outstanding performances of those not included.
While important, statistics and league honors were only partial factors in our lineup. It was a tough task, so a couple of players may be in a different spot then they played on the field. Based on the information and input we received, as well as our own observations we present the Banner all-star team.
Pitcher: Wyatt Whitman, senior, Hoosick Falls — Whitman had a terrific season for the Panthers, taking on both roles of being the team's ace on the mound as well as being the team's best hitter at the plate, which all of which helped lead Hoosick Falls in a Section II, Class B playoff appearance.
"Wyatt was head and shoulders the best player on our team and was the heart and soul of the team too," said Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac. "He did a great job leading our team from the mound to the plate and from the dugout. He's a great kid as well and hopefully will have a successful run in college baseball."
"I'm glad he didn't pitch against us," added Cambridge coach Jason Waite. "He's a gamer and one of the top kids in our league, if not the best."
Pitcher: Jay McCoy, sophomore, Burr and Burton — McCoy rose into the ace of the Bulldogs' pitching staff during the 2016 season.
His star power became of great notice during the playoffs, striking out five batters in two scoreless innings pitched against North Country, and then winning back-to-back starts against No. 4 seed CVU and No. 1 seed BFA-St. Albans in the Bulldogs' run to the D-I title game. McCoy finished the year with a 1.78 ERA in 44 1/3 innings pitched, while also batting .330.
"We saw Jay grow into a top-notch pitcher for us this year," Lewicki said. "As he continued to work with our coaches during the season, you saw him get better and better in each start. He has a very bright future ahead of him."
Pitcher: Ryan O'Neill, junior, Mount Anthony — O'Neill was the leader of the Patriot pitching staff, his record not anywhere near what his stats showed as MAU struggled to score runs this season.
"He always gave us a chance, he pitched hard and got us deep into games," said MAU coach Walt Parmenter. "He's really into the game, plays with heart and determination. He takes a lot of pride in his game."
Catcher: James Marsden, junior, Mount Anthony — Marsden led the MAU pitching staff and improved greatly at the plate, according to Mount Anthony coach Walt Parmenter.
"He came a long way this year, he started to comprehend what we were teaching," Parmenter said. "He works really hard behind the plate and did a lot better with the bat. He and [Ryan O'Neill] are back next year for us."
Infield: Tyler Kraehling, junior, Burr and Burton — Kraehling had a breakout season for the Bulldogs in 2016.
The junior had a team-leading .448 batting average and provided solid play for the Bulldogs at first base.
"Tyler really came into his own as a baseball player for us this year," Lewicki said. "He really took to what the coaches were teaching him to help him become a better hitter at the plate and his play at first base this year for us was outstanding."
Infield: Noah Normyle, senior, Mount Anthony — Normyle was the epitome of the No. 4 hitter in the MAU lineup, lots of power, extra base hits on the regular. He couldn't pitch that much this season because of arm trouble, but he moved around the infield without complaint.
"He played where we needed him. He's such a strong player with the power that he has," Parmenter said. "He will be tough to replace next year."
Infield: Griffin Stalcup, junior, Burr and Burton — Stalcup helped lead the Bulldogs to their first ever Division I championship game appearance in school history.
The junior batted .438 at the plate and had an unbelievable 0.80 ERA on the mound, providing Mariano Rivera-type numbers as the team's closer when he wasn't doing his best Derek Jeter impression at shortstop.
"Griff is a terrific talent to work with and great person to be around," said BBA coach Ed Lewicki. "He has the abilities and the smarts in the game of baseball that make him so much fun to coach and watch. He definitely has the talent to pursue collegiate and pro aspirations in baseball if he decides to do so."
Infield: Jake Harrington, junior, Cambridge — Harrington, only a junior, was possibly the best player for the Indians this season. He did a nice job at the plate, hitting .424 with an on base percentage of .444. He scored 21 runs, had five doubles and a homer and drove in 21. In the field, Harrington was above average, committing only a handful of miscues at first base. He also pitched, with mixed success.
"He's very competitive, we'd like to use him as a closer next year," said Cambridge coach Jason Waite.
Outfield: Noah Conety, senior, Hoosick Falls — As the Panthers cleanup hitter, Conety did a great job knocking in runners on base and had a great eye at the plate too, leading the team in walks.
When he wasn't playing right field for Hoosick Falls, Conety filled in as a great No. 2 starter in the Panther rotation behind Whitman, giving the team a great one-two punch from the mound.
"Noah continued to excel for us at the plate this year and also did a great job stepping in as our number two starter," Lilac said. "He was a big bat in the middle of our lineup and I think that helped the guys behind him have productive seasons for us too."
Outfield: Pat Powers, senior, Mount Anthony — Powers is the unique player in that he doesn't let a bad day or a bad at-bat get to him.
"He always gave me 110 percent, always running hard down the line," Parmenter said. Powers was one of the best defenders in the area, regardless of position, and never seemed out of place in center field.
"He's one of the best players I've had in the past couple years, he made it fun for the younger kids," Parmenter said.
Outfield: Cody Roberts, senior, Burr and Burton — As one of the team's captains, Roberts' senior leadership was great addition to his tremendous play that helped lead BBA to the Division I championship game.
Roberts hit .350 in the cleanup spot of the Bulldogs lineup, coming up with clutch hits with runners in scoring position all season long, including a six RBI performance in the team's win against Hartford. The senior also provided great leadership and experience for BBA in the outfield, manning center field for the Bulldogs all season long.
"Cody was a big key for us in so many ways this season," Lewicki said. "He came through in a lot big situations with runners on base that helped us win a good share of our games this season. He also was great leader for us as one of our captains and really did a good mentoring the younger guys on the team."
DH: Brody Farnum, senior, Mount Anthony — Farnum was another Patriot player who improved leaps and bounds in 2016 from a year ago.
"Brody struggled some last year, but came back this year with a high confidence level," Parmenter said. "He did whatever you asked him and he was very coachable." Farnum was one of the team's top power hitters as well.
James Reilly, junior, BBA — The key to being a good leadoff hitter is getting on base, and that's what Reilly did for the Bulldogs in 2016, batting .378 at the plate and leading the team in walks.
"After getting off to a bit of slow start at the beginning of the season, James really came on for us from the middle of the season on," Lewicki said. "James really played well for us during our run to the championship game."
Jon Iris, senior, BBA — Iris was the solid veteran on the Bulldogs pitching staff, posting a 2.50 ERA on the mound and provided great leadership as one of the team's captains as well.
"Jon is the constant professional," Lewicki said. "He gave us some great experience in our rotation and provided us with quality starts in most of his appearances."
Daniel Hatheway, freshman, BBA — Hatheway had a MVP-like season for BBA as only a freshman.
He batted .404 at the plate and made plays at second base that seniors in high school couldn't make.
"We got something special here in Daniel," Lewicki said. "He isn't afraid of the big moment and has great confidence in himself as only a 15 year old kid. He has a very bright future ahead of him."
Riley Bacon, senior, Hoosick Falls — From the leadoff spot in the Panthers' batting order to playing second base in the team's infield, Bacon had a great senior campaign for Hoosick Falls.
"Riley, in every year he has played varsity, has been a steady player for us at second base," Lilac said. "He did a good job getting on base to get our offense started at the leadoff spot and is a very smart ball player."
Alex Mendez, senior, Hoosick Falls — With his great athleticism, Mendez provided the Panthers will great play at both center field and shortstop, while also being a solid two-hole hitter in the Hoosick Falls lineup.
"Alex is such a luxury to have because of his ability to play multiple positions," Lilac said. "He is a very athletic kid and was great player to coach."
Ryan McLenithan, junior, Cambridge — McLenithan was the jack of all trades, catching, playing second and outfield during the season. Cambridge coach Jason Waite said he was the best defensive player for the Indians. He scored 12 runs and had 16 steals on the season.
Carter Bentley, senior, Mount Anthony — Bentley filled the leadoff spot in the Mount Anthony lineup and thrived, getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs when given the chance. He played left field and between him and Pat Powers in center, balls hit to left-center field were usually outs.
"He had a great offensive year and was very good in the outfield," Parmenter said. "He could run down balls in the [left-centerfield] gap."
Jack Lane, freshmen, Arlington — Lane was the top player for the Eagles in 2016. He led the team on the mound as Arlington continued to make its way back from not having a team a couple of years ago. At the plate, Lane was solid and should continue to improve in the next few years.
Jared Lacoste, junior, Arlington — Baseball is definitely not the first sport for Lacoste, who also plays soccer and basketball for the Eagles. But after not playing baseball for a while, he returned in 2016 and his athleticism shined, drawing rave reviews from opposing coaches.
Andrew Stevens, sophomore, Hoosick Falls — 2016 was a breakout year for Stevens, who transformed into the number three for Hoosick Falls in their rotation.
"Andrew was a pleasant surprise for us this season," Lilac said. "His hard work in the offseason really showed this year and if he can keep improving can be a great ace for us in the future."