Updated: Jul 8
2020 was definitely a weird and wild year, but we still managed to get some great softball played. I just wanted to take some time and give a shoutout to some people that when I played with or against them really stood out this season to me.
Nice blend of young and veteran talent as well:
Drake Lebar / Hastings TAP - One of the best young talents in the state. Plays a solid CF, runs like a deer and a cannon of an arm. Will definitely hear a lot more from this young man for years to come and at the top of the order setting the tone for whatever team he is on. Real deal player
Kyle Clark / Pioneer Auto - Heard about him for a couple of years and finally got a chance to play against him a few times this past season. Lived up to the hype and then some for sure. Solid fielder and a force at the plate, VGTG on a bat trade as well but no surprise, on the level a man as they come in the game. Always a pleasure, Kyle
Dillon Ruelas / OE Softball - So a couple years ago I was playing in Lincoln and had one of those “Who the fuck is that kid?!” moments. I went and said hello and he said “nice to meet you, sir”. Respectful from the beginning and now more than earning respect of his own. Proud of you, kid and always a pleasure to play with you. Keep working hard and sky is the limit for you in softball and life
Kirby Pomplun / Misko Sports – My left fielder and proud to call him a friend. He sets the tone for us and is an absolute savage. He made the most incredible catch I have ever seen at state this season and he had better never do it again...but he would if he had to and I have the utmost respect for him. You’re the man, Kirb
Scott Grachek / MAT/Wahl – Has gone from E to B in 3 seasons, all while maintaining a command of his pitches and the mound. Hard work does pay off and he puts it in. Totally underrated at the dish as well. But most for me, my ASIP brother from another mother
Kasey Reyes / Omaha’s Finest – One of if not the most fundamentally sound players in the game today both in the field and at the plate. Consistency is an understatement and always fun to watch him play and make it look so smooth and easy. Pleasure to play with you a couple times, Kasey
Ben Kruger / Aurora Cooperative – Good ole BK, what can I say other than one of the most well rounded players in the game and a tough out. Always fun to watch him play and be sure to kick a little extra dirt on the plate for me if he’s about to take his at bat, he’ll take care of the rest. Next Dr Pepper is on me, bud
DJ Johnson / Midwest Guzzlers – If I have to describe him in 1 word, I’ll go with force…ok I will use 2, masher. One of the guys as a pitcher I’m not thrilled to see in the box because he’s for sure going to put it in play, always square and on a line to all fields. Solid glove man in the dirt as well, best of luck to you DJ as you head overseas. Been a pleasure, my man
Tetsuya Tamada / Twisted Lazers – THE fastest hands in the state and this season definitely rounded out his swing as well. Easy to see and understand why those who play with him love to and those who do not would like to. I know he is heading back to Japan sooner than later, and will be missed by many and not just for softball, but because he’s a great person. Best of luck to you, Tetsuya
Kyle Aken / T’s 13 – It is no secret and for me easy to understand why he is my wife and I’s favorite player. He reminds me every time I see him that this is a game and games are fun. You cannot not laugh and enjoy playing when you are around him, nothing stupid about that. Forever a Misfit Toy with you, kid
Travis Spier / Slim Chickens – This team continues to succeed and move up the ranks and he is a big part of why. Solid balance of fielding and hitting which to many seems to go unnoticed. One of if not the anchor of that lineup who brings leadership in his play and demeanor. Underrated corner infielder who I know will continue to be a solid player overall, all those compliments get me at least a free legal consultation, right?! j/k Travis, great season.
Ryan Grytdahl / MAT/Wahl – Another player I heard a few great things about for years and had a real chance to see for myself these past couple seasons…yep, he’s real deal. In the top 2 for best overall 3rd basemen in the state and you’re gonna have a tough time talking him out of my #1 spot. Cornerstone for any team in the state he does or would play on. Keep doing us 35+ boys proud, Gryty
Kayleb Sanderson / CSE – Last and absolutely not least we come to Kayleb. As I get closer to ending my competitive playing days, I am so proud to see 2nd generation players like him and others coming into the game, but especially watching him because of the respect and friendship I have with his dad, Travis. Raw, young talent who is just beginning to figure out the game and everyone should be on notice. This might be the first time some of you have heard his name, but I promise you it will not be the last for good reason