Despite a tough ending to the season, the Buena Vista baseball team still has plenty to smile about after tying for a league-high seven players on this year’s Iowa Conference Baseball Team announced today by the league office. Regular season champion Wartburg College also had seven players recognized.
Four of those seven players for BVU were voted by the league coaches to the All-IIAC First Team which also tied the Knights for the highest total by any of the eight conference schools. The final three landed spots on the Second Team.
Junior righthander Jon Ringblom (Omaha, Neb./Millard North) was one of four starting pitchers named to the First Team list. He tied for second among all IIAC pitchers in wins during conference play with four (4-1) and ended the conference slate with the fourth-best ERA at 2.21. In 36.2 innings of work, he struck out 36 and issued only 12 walks. This is the first time Ringblom has earned such honors.
Ringblom was joined on the team by freshman catcher Brandon Wessels (Palmer, Iowa/Manson Northwest Webster), junior second baseman Weston Foxx (Elkhorn, Neb./Elkhorn) and junior outfielder Nick Schlecht (Omaha, Neb./Skutt). All three are also receiving the honors for the first time.
Wessels, who also spent significant time in the outfield, was one of the team and the league’s top hitters throughout the year and was one of only two freshman on either team. He ended his first season as the IIAC leader in hits (43) and was fourth in total bases (53). His .391 average over the 28-game conference schedule was the third-highest among all IIAC players. Foxx was the team’s primary lead-off hitter during the year. He hit .279 in IIAC play with six doubles and 15 runs scored, while also drawing 10 walks. In addition to his offensive production, he was one of the top defensive players around the infield, committing only three errors in nearly 130 total chances. Schlecht provided a great deal of speed to the team both offensively and defensively. He hit .312, while starting 26 of the 28 league contests, and tallied four doubles, two triples, walked 10 times and scored 20 runs. He also stole seven bases.
Senior Ryan Scheetz (Omaha, Neb./Millard North), junior Joe Paletta (Omaha, Neb./Millard South) and sophomore Jesse Munsterman (St. Peter, Minn./St. Peter) all represent the Beavers on the Second Team. Scheetz and Paletta earn accolades for the second time in their careers with Munsterman earning the recognition for the first time.
Scheetz, also a Second Team member in 2012, earned a spot on the as the team’s designated hitter. In 25 conference games, he posted four doubles and 11 RBI, while also scoring eight times. He struck out just four times and drew 10 walks. Paletta, who was a First Team selection as a freshman, was also near the conference in several offensive categories in 2013. He was eighth in average (.364), 10th in slugging (.475), fifth in on-base percentage (.453), tied for seventh in hits (37), was sixth in RBI (19), tied for the lead in doubles (9) and was seventh in total bases (47). Munsterman transitioned from the outfield to take over the starting reins as the team’s shortstop this season. He ended the year hitting .346 in 28 conference starts, posting six doubles, one triple, 12 RBI and 14 runs scored.
All seven of the players were key components to a BVU team that went 23-17 during the regular season, including a 15-13 IIAC mark, to earn the third-seed into the postseason tournament. Overall, BVU ended the year ranked atop the conference in team ERA, third in batting average and second in fielding percentage.
It’s the third time in the last four years that BVU has landed at least seven players on the All-IIAC Team. It had a school-record eight during its regular season championship run in 2010 and had seven a year later as it advanced into the DIII College World Series.
Wartburg College’s Ryan Doty was named the IIAC Pitcher of the Year, while Coe College’s Nick Stein was named IIAC Position Player of the Year. Joel Holst (Wartburg) was named IIAC Coach of the Year.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.