It was only fitting that on Monday night, the night set aside for the annual Cassville American Legion summer baseball awards, there was a chance for rain. After a summer season that lost over 10 games to the elements, parents and players alike were thankful that no precipitation fell.
Instead, the celebration went off without a hitch as over 50 parents and players attended. The presentation honored the top players from this summer's Post 118 baseball team that finished as district runners-up.
Kason Koelsch was named this season's MVP. Koelsch, who was a senior at Cassville High School this past spring, batted .389 with 36 runs, 22 RBI and nine extra-base hits. He also led the team with 12 stolen bases and two home-runs.
Koelsch's next venture will take him to Northeastern Oklahoma University, where he just recently signed to play baseball. His biggest goal in college is grades, Koelsch says.
"I don't want to be a guy who just goes to college for one semester and plays baseball," Koelsch said. "I want to be a guy who continues and maybe makes a name for myself."
Koelsch, despite graduating, will still be young enough next year to be eligible to play Legion ball. In fact, the team only loses one player, Wheaton's Chris Musick, because of age. Musick is headed off to Missouri Southern State University this year where he will compete in track and field.
Left-handed pitcher David Gilley won the Legion's ERA award as he just edged out some of his teammates. Gilley attends Blue Eye High School during the year and plays for the Bulldog baseball team. Post 118's other Blue Eye member, Tyler Miller, another left-hander, won the team's RBI award with the most runs driven in this year at 23.
Michael Baker, a left handed pitcher from Cassville, won the most improved player award. Baker, a soft-throwing lefty, improved most with his stamina, so much so that he was able to pitch a complete nine-inning game during the course of the summer.
Jake Nolan got the best record award as he was 6-0 on the mound for Post 118. Nolan threw often in relief while getting some spot-starts during the year.
Kelby Haynes won the average award as he hit .395 against opposing pitchers. To go with his average Haynes also had 17 RBI and four extra-base hits.
Aaron Brooks won the team's rookie of the year award. Brooks continued to up his play during the season, eventually starting every day for the squad.
Andrew Gryder and Danny Naugle both received the team player award. The young men filled in for whatever role might be needed, whether pinch-hitter or position player.
Also, three players were announced to have made the All-District team, for their play in the district tournament. Ryan Rowley, Jody Cavness and Gilley all made the list.