Coaches think WHS best team in state
Along with a state title usually comes some individual awards.
That’s exactly what happened to the Nevada 2A State title holders, the Whittell Warriors baseball team.
Not only did the squad land eight players on the all-league squad, five Warriors were also named to the All-State first team. To top all it off, Brandon “The General” Lee was named 2A State Player of the Year.
Lee was also selected the Northern Nevada 2A Zone Player of the Year and was joined on the zone first team by fellow seniors Thomas “Home Run” Hunter, Matt Olsen and Chris Hannum, as well as junior Brett Schussel. The same five players were also named to the all-state first team.
The three Warriors named to the second team were Joe Piccola, Tyson Frederick and Ian “Sunshine” Jacobsen.
Lee dominated the state with his pitching all season long. The right-hander posted a barely detectable earned run average of 0.35 and was led the team in wins (13), hit by pitches (7), home runs (4), batting average (.617) and triples (6).
He also struck out 119 batters in league play, while only walking four.
The pitching staff as a whole only issued nine base on balls in 22 contests during league play.
“That’s probably the key stat for our success,” Warrior manager Don Amaral said. “Combined with the fact we outscored our opponents 232-39, that’s pretty impressive.”
Lee did not lead the team in every offensive category, however, as Hunter had the most RBIs with 39, while Hannum was hot on his heels with 37. Hannum’s 45 hits were the most on the squad and he ended the season with an average of . 569, third on the team.
“I was told by a couple of coaches at the state tournament that they pitched around Chris,” Amaral said.
Olsen remained a deep-ball threat in the cleanup slot and finished the year hitting .500 with 32 runs scored, 32 hits, 23 RBIs and eight doubles.
The unsung hero of the team was Brett Schussel. The junior catcher was often overshadowed by the five seniors, but Schussel controlled the pitching staff and quietly became a force in the middle of the batting lineup.
Schussel finished with an average just a shade under .400 (.398) and knocked in 17 runs.
During the state tournament, Schussel handled both Piccola and Hunter with expert precision and kept the Battle Mountain hitters off balance in the 2A championship game.
Jacobsen and Frederick used strong second halves to propel them onto second-team all-league. The pair of sophomores both hit over .300 with Jacobsen finishing at .328 with eight RBIs, while Frederick hit .324 with 19 runs scored and nine RBIs.
“They both played really well for the second part of the season,” Amaral said.
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