Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Klenke and Harlamert repeat top baseball honors in Grand Lake area
By Gary R. Rasberry
Coldwater's Cory Klenke connects for a hit during the Cavaliers' postseason run. . .
For the second year in a row, Cory Klenke proved himself to be the area's top baseball player, earning The Daily Standard's Baseball Player of the Year honor after helping Coldwater to its second straight trip to the Division III state semifinals.
The Cavaliers went 30-3 this season, the first 30-win season for the program since going 32-0 in the 1992 state championship season. For that, Cavalier baseball coach Brian Harlamert earns his second straight Coach of the Year honor.
Klenke, a four-year starter for the Cavaliers, put together a stellar season both at the plate and on the mound, being among the top players in both categories this season.
The shortstop-pitcher was a key cog in last season's run to the Division III final four, losing in the semifinals to Canton Central Catholic. That experience helped Klenke ready himself and the rest of the team for a run this season.
"That was our goal, to get back to state and play at Huntington Park (the new site for the state tournament)," said Klenke, who will head to Miami next season to play for the RedHawks. "We had a lot of returning players from last year, our pitching staff especially, which helps out.
"We had our ups and downs during the season, but we kept coming back and we were able to have a shot at it."
At the plate, Klenke was the area's top batter from the opening leaderboard, finishing the year with a stellar .547 average with 45 runs scored and 44 RBI to go with seven home runs and 13 doubles.
Pitching-wise, Klenke handled the bulk of the big-game starts for the Cavs, finishing 9-1 with an earned-run average of 0.63. In 552/3 innings, Klenke allowed just 13 walks and struck out 74 batters, compiling a WHIP of 0.75 (29 hits and 13 walks).
Klenke takes away a lot of good memories from his playing career at Coldwater
"Coming from a great program, I learned a lot," said Klenke. "I was coached up by some great coaches over the last four years and before that (in the summer leagues). I look forward to carrying the tradition to Miami and be able to make a positive impact."
Harlamert guides another team to state
Harlamert helped return the Cavaliers to state over the last two seasons, going a combined 57-8 with a potent group of players.
"The ultimate goal is to get to the state. Obviously, it was awesome to get back there," said Harlamert, who made his fourth trip to the state final four as coach in 12 seasons. "It's a matter of our senior class and experienced guys like Cory, Bill (Geeslin), Alex (Geier), Tony Harlamert, Zach Siefring and Keith Wenning: guys that have the experience and desire to work hard.
"To win 30 games is a great accomplishment. To win the MAC (sharing with St. Henry to give the Cavaliers their 25th MAC title) is also huge."
The team batting average hovered near .400 for most of the season and finished at .380 thanks to a batting order that, from top to bottom, was potent."
On the mound, the trio of Klenke, Bill Geeslin and Keith Wenning stymied opposing teams, winning 26 of the team's 30 games and posting a sub-1.00 ERA for most of the season.
Depth was also a key to the team's success. Harlamert regularly began bringing players in to pinch-hit or take over defensively in the middle innings, with the bench players being nearly as potent as the starters.
"Not to be in a bragging way, but we have guys on the bench and guys playing JV as juniors who can play on a lot of (varsity) programs," said Harlamert. "We're able to substitute guys freely and know we have talent and guys who can perform. We had faith in those guys.
While Harlamert is happy for the honor of Coach of the Year, he gives a lot of credit to the rest of the coaching staff, notably longtime pitching coach Jason Hemmelgarn as well as assistant coaches Mike Moorman, Travis Ahrens and Mike Klenke. Harlamert also praised the junior varsity, freshman and summer program coaches.
"Jason gets a lot of credit for our team," said Harlamert of his former Cavalier teammate during their high school days. "He does all our pitching stuff and defensive work. He and I have been doing this for the last few years. I consider it almost a co-coaching staff."
The 2009 Daily Standard All-Area Baseball Team:
.398 avg, 30 RBI
.488 avg, 32 runs
.429 avg, 40 runs
.505 avg, 50 RBI
.545 avg, 15 doubles
.423 avg, 23 runs
.381 avg, 24 RBI
8-2, 1.22 ERA
9-1, 0.63 ERA
7-1, 1.64 ERA
.392 avg, 33 RBI
.408 avg, 11 doubles
Dream Team Second Team:
.383 avg, 19 RBI
.325 avg, 21 RBI
.373 avg, 20 runs
.348 avg, 18 RBI
.333 avg, 18 RBI
.395 avg, 27 SB
.368 avg, 6 HR
.357 avg, 15 SB
.400 avg, 27 RBI
6-0, 2.07 ERA
7-2, 1.50 ERA
6-1, 2.95 ERA