Baseball / Lake County All-Area Team
By Patricia Babcock McGraw
Chris Argianas Vernon Hills
Vernon Hills give an award each year to the one athlete on campus that is most coveted. It is voted on by the school’s coaches. “It’s the athlete that every coach wants on his team,” Vernon Hills baseball coach Jay Czarnecki said. “Chris got that award. That speaks volumes for him. His is a leader and a three-sport (football, basketball, baseball) athlete.” In baseball, Argianas has starred at shortstop for the Cougars for three years. “I have not seen a better all-around shortstop,” Czarnecki said. “If you watch him, there’s nothing flashy. He just gets the job done.” Argianas and second baseman Anthony Mazza set the school record this year for double plays with 20. Offensively, Argianas was the Cougars’ lead-off hitter and rolled up 34 hits, including 4 doubles. He scored 46 runs, had a .507 on-base percentage and stole 9 bases.
Parker Asmann Lake Zurich
A three-year starter for the Bears, Asmann certainly left his mark on the program, and just about everywhere on the field. Asmann starred for Lake Zurich at second base, shortstop, third base and on the mound. “He was our most consistent hitter all season long and he had the best earned run average on the squad,” Lake Zurich coach Gary Simon said. “Parker also received the sportsmanship award for our team.” Asmann, who will be pitching next year at the University of Evansville, won 4 games and rolled up 54 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings. He also sported a 1.98 earned run average. Offensively, Asmann finished with a .465 batting average and had 40 hits in 86 at-bats, including 8 doubles and 4 triples. He also drove in 22 runs.
Jake Brown Lakes
As a sophomore on varsity last year, Brown experienced plenty of growing pains. This year, he just did the growing part. “Jake was like the flower that you are waiting on to blossom,” Lakes coach Ray Gialo said. “He blossomed this year.” Brown, the Eagles’ shortstop, committed 20 errors last year and cut that to just 4 errors this year. He also started this season hitting in the No. 7 spot and by the end of the season he was Lakes’ lead-off hitter. “He was a rock for us on defense this year and he just kept climbing and climbing in our lineup,” Gialo said. “Jake made so many improvements since last year and during the season. He was even voted our team MVP. He’s been such a wonderful surprise.” Brown finished with a .373 batting average and drove in 22 runs. He also was 10-for-10 on stolen bases.
Kevin Colburn Warren
The offensive numbers Kevin Colburn put up this season were amazing, considering he was playing with only one good shoulder. Halfway through the season, Colburn decided that he couldn’t take the pain anymore. Each time he threw the ball, the third baseman’s shoulder ached. He finally went to the doctor, who told him that he had a torn labrum. Colburn thought his season was done, but his doctor told him that he could delay surgery and finish out the season as solely a hitter, if he wanted to. It was an easy decision for Colburn, and the Blue Devils benefited greatly from Colburn’s one good shoulder. As the designated hitter, he led the team with 44 hits in 92 at-bats. His .478 batting average was also the best on the team. Colburn, who will play at Dayton next year, also drove in 36 runs and had 12 doubles and 5 home runs. “It killed Kevin not to be able to play in the field, but he is such a tough competitor that he was determined to do whatever he could to help us,” Warren coach Clint Smothers said. “He’s just a baseball kid who eats, breathes and sleeps it and it shows.”
Luis Carrasco Mundelein
There’s a reason Carrasco was Mundelein’s designated hitter out of the clean-up spot the last two years. “Luis has driven in more than 80 runs for us in 2 years,” Mundelein coach Todd Parola said. “He’s been a huge part of our offense. What separates him is that he is able to drive the ball into the gaps, he’s able to put the ball in play with two strikes and he’s able to get hits in key situations.” Carrasco maintained an impressive .470 batting average, which ranked tops on the team. He also rolled up 54 hits, including 14 doubles and 3 home runs, and drove in a team-leading 43 runs.
Paul DeJong Antioch
DeJong hasn’t been shaving for all that long. And Antioch coach Paul Petty thinks that’s part of the reason his senior shortstop will be playing at Illinois State next year. “Paul didn’t peak too early. He’s definitely still getting better and I think college coaches really liked that about him,” Petty said. “He didn’t come into high school 6-foot-3 and shaving. He’s grown a little bit every year and he gets better every time he steps on the field. College coaches who saw him last summer and then saw him in October and then saw him again in December were amazed at how he kept changing for the better.” The proof is in the pudding. DeJong cut his errors in half this season, from 26 in 2010 to 13 in 2011. He also was tough at the plate, rolling up 39 hits in 91 at-bats, including 5 doubles and 4 home runs. He finished with a .429 batting average.
Sean Eder Lake Zurich
How are these for power numbers? Eder had a .418 batting average but hit .475 with runners in scoring position. He’s also been clocked at various showcases as throwing harder than 90 miles per hour. “Sean is a definite Division I prospect,” Lake Zurich coach Gary Simon said of his junior outfielder. “He was the only true power hitter we had consistently. He led us in home runs (4) and RBI (27).” Eder also had 38 hits, including 7 doubles. He’ll return next year to lead Lake Zurich from the mound.
Joey Eichmann Libertyville
It didn’t seem like it at the time, but a layoff last year because of an injury might have been the best thing for Eichmann. The senior pitcher missed some time after straining a ligament in his elbow. While Eichmann sat and watched, he became a serious student of the game. “He kind of changed some of his approach to the game,” Libertyville coach Jim Schurr said. “He sometimes would be afraid last year to throw it down the middle and as a senior this year he really went out and challenged guys.” The strategy paid dividends. Eichmann went 6-3 this season with a 2.18 earned run average. He rolled up 69 strikeouts in 62 innings and allowed just 27 earned runs and 28 walks. As the Wildcats’ designated hitter, he hit .340 with 2 home runs and 29 RBI.
Max Golembo Stevenson
Stevenson coach Paul Mazzuca didn’t have to hire Columbo to tell him how good Golembo is. Golembo showed his value every game both in the field and at the plate. The junior had just 1 error on the season in centerfield. At the plate, hitting fifth, Golembo led the team with a .427 batting average. He also rolled up 35 hits, drove in 20 runs and had a .562 on-base percentage. “Max did a great job hitting and the great thing is that he is left-handed,” Mazzuca said. “I see Max moving up in the order next year, probably to third and I think he could be a player that could really hit for power.”
Adam Gomski Grayslake North
Just a sophomore, Gomski didn’t play like one. He didn’t get scared, he didn’t back down from older kids. “He’s a really strong kid mentally,” Grayslake North coach Andy Strahan said. “He’s a baseball kid. He’s played his whole life on all kinds of travel teams and he wants to be the best. He’s not intimidated by anything and I think that makes him a really great player.” Gomski led the Knights with a .392 batting average from the No. 4 spot. He also rolled up 31 hits, including 7 doubles and 3 triples, and drove in 16 runs. He ranked second on the team in on-base percentage (.473). Gomski, who started at third base, also pitched and led Grayslake North with 4 wins. “Adam throws multiple pitches for strikes,” Strahan said. “He isn’t afraid to really challenge hitters.”
Joe Gregory Antioch
A catcher himself back in the day, Antioch coach Paul Petty knows a thing or two about what makes a catcher successful. He’s convinced that Gregory has all the right tools. “This is a kid who is going to be recruited,” Petty said of Gregory, a junior this season. “He can play at the Division I level. He’ll be one of the top catchers in the area next year.” Gregory has a strong arm and threw out 10-of-23 base runners who attempted to steal this season. But Petty says Gregory’s biggest strength is his ability to block the ball. “He saves a lot of pitches from hitting the backstop and that’s what college coaches are looking for,” Petty said. “They want a catcher who can play defense because that will keep you in games.” Gregory did his job on the offensive end, too. He finished with a .398 batting average with 33 hits in 83 at-bats, including 13 doubles and 5 home runs. He also drove in 32 runs.
Jared Helmich Grant
When the pressure was on, Helmich seemed to be at his best. “He has a killer instinct for driving in runs,” Grant coach Dave Behm said of his junior first baseman and pitcher. “When there are runners on base, Jared finds a way to get them in, game in and game out. Also, he is phenomenal at first base catching everything thrown his way.” Helmich drove in 41 runs for the Bulldogs and finished with a team-best .461 batting average. He had 35 hits in 76 at-bats, including 7 doubles and 6 home runs. “He had a monster year at the plate,” Behm said. “We are excited about his future.”
Mike Herrmann Warren
Warren coach Clint Smothers doesn’t mince words when talking about Herrmann, his trusty first baseman. “We feel you need one of your top athletes at first base and that’s why we wanted Mike there,” Smothers said. “He had a great year. I felt he was one of the best first basemen in Lake County this season. We didn’t have to worry about anything over there. Mike was as consistent as can be. He made some unbelievable plays to his left and to his right, and he was a great hitter.” Herrmann had 38 hits in 94 at-bats, including 7 doubles. He also drove in 30 runs and finished with a .404 batting average.
Ryan Kennedy Warren
Kennedy did a little bit of everything for Warren. Make that a lot of everything. He was the Blue Devils’ ace pitcher and finished with an 8-2 record, 69 strikeouts in 59 innings and a 2.88 earned run average. When he wasn’t pitching, Kennedy was Warren’s rock in the infield at shortstop. And at the plate, Kennedy sported a .426 batting average while rolling up 40 hits. “We’re going to miss this kid, that’s for sure,” Warren coach Clint Smothers said. “You don’t get too many kids who are able to do all the things he did for us. We could always count on him, in the field, on the mound, at the plate.” Kennedy’s biggest contributions were on the mound, where he will continue his career next year at Valparaiso University. He carried Warren to the sectional championship game with a huge victory over Palatine in the sectional semifinals. “Ryan can throw three pitches at any time in the count,” Smothers said. “At 2-0 or 3-0, you know that with most pitchers a fastball is coming. But you can throw a curve with Ryan.”
Paul Kukulka Lakes
Kukulka was Mr. Reliable for Lakes. “He was our workhorse on the mound, and he always seemed to be the guy who got the clutch hit or drove in the key run for us,” Lakes coach Ray Gialo said. “Paul was always coming up big for us. He was extremely reliable.” Kukulka, who will be playing next year at Concordia, was the Eagles’ leader in innings pitched (42 2/3) and also sported the lowest earned run average at 1.64. He finished with 3 wins and 46 strikeouts. At the plate, Kukulka led Lakes for the second year in a row in RBI with 32. He finished with a .368 batting average and smacked 3 home runs.
Austin Leggett Grayslake Central
Leggett made sure to waste no time establishing himself as Grayslake Central’s ace pitcher. He spent enough time last year waiting in the wings. “We were so senior dominated last year and we had a lot of guys in front of Austin last year so, like a lot of juniors do, he waited his time,” Grayslake Central coach Troy Whalen said. “He came in here this year and was such a competitor for us right away. He was our workhorse. He got a lot of big wins for us and he battled against all the best pitchers.” Leggett, who will be pitching next season for the College of Lake County, was 8-4 on the season. Leggett also got 36 hits in 94 at-bats, including 10 doubles.
Ben Mahar Mundelein
Having pitched in nearly all of Mundelein’s big-time games this season, Mahar was rewarded with a big-time honor for finishing with a 9-1 record. He was named to the Illinois baseball coaches all-state team. “I think he was the only guy from the North Suburban Lake Division,” Mundelein coach Todd Parola said. “Ben really stepped up to the challenge of facing other team’s No. 1 pitchers. He did a great job of keeping hitters off-balance because not only does he throw hard, he is able to mix up his speeds. I don’t think he got hit hard all year.” Mahar, who will play next year at Valparaiso University, rolled up 62 strikeouts and gave up only 20 walks in 66 innings. He also allowed just 13 earned runs for a 1.38 earned run average.
Chris Marras Vernon Hills
Marras caught on quickly at Vernon Hills. He has started at catcher for the Cougars since his freshman year and he had his best year yet. “He is our best all-around player,” Vernon Hills coach Jay Czarnecki said. “He is a junior captain for our team. He does an incredible job with our young pitchers. Teams don’t run on him and he has the ability to put teams on the defensive when they are on the bases. (Offensively), he has hit in our 3-spot all year, which makes his numbers all that more impressive.” Marras rolled up a team-leading 52 hits in 118 at-bats, including 13 doubles and 5 home runs. He also dove in a team-leading 43 runs. He finished with a .444 batting average.
Michael Martin Stevenson
If setting the table before dinner isn’t one of Martin’s chores, perhaps it should be. Martin did a great job of doing just that for the Patriots. “Michael was our lead-off hitter and he definitely set the table for us,” Stevenson coach Paul Mazzuca said of his third baseman. “He rarely struck out. He was getting on base all the time and when he got on, we were a dangerous team.” Martin finished with a .404 batting average and a .528 on-base percentage. He also led the Patriots with 40 hits and 28 stolen bases. “Michael had a good approach at the plate and he really made pitchers work. He was real consistent all year long.” Martin will play at Harvard next year.
Tim Matesi Wauconda
What the introverted Matesi didn’t say with words, he spoke loudly with his actions. Matesi, a third baseman and pitcher, led the Bulldogs with a .384 batting average and had 28 hits and 15 RBI. He also got 3 wins on the mound and rolled up 39 strikeouts in 31 innings. “Tim is a really quiet kid, he doesn’t say much,” Wauconda coach Bill Sliker said. “He’s just a go-about-your-business kind of player. He’s steady no matter what he does. He’s steady at the plate, steady at third, steady on the mound. And he’ll do whatever you ask. He was a team leader for us.” Matesi received the North Suburban Conference’s sportsmanship award.
Austin Miller Grayslake Central
Austin Miller got taken for granted. But, according to Grayslake Central coach Troy Whalen, that’s the price a veteran player of his caliber pays for being so consistently good. “With a kid like Austin, he makes the difficult plays look easy and you get used to that with him,” Whalen said of his shortstop. “Unfortunately for him, it’s easy to take what he’s doing out there for granted. But that’s also what makes him a Division I kid, that’s what makes him special.” The Butler-bound Miller, who anchored the Rams’ defense with his countless big plays, also was a standout at the plate. He finished with a .495 batting average and 49 hits in 99 at-bats, including 11 doubles, 4 triples and 2 home runs. “Austin is blessed with a lot of skills and talents,” Whalen said. “But what makes him so good is the way he dedicates himself to the sport in the off-season. He’s got a great work ethic and he’s always doing whatever he can to get better.”
Jake Ring Grant
It’s a number that you have to let sink in for a minute: 40 stolen bases. That’s right, 40 stolen bases for the speedy Ring. Just this season. Incredible, and a Grant school record, not surprisingly. “Jack impressed in almost every way,” Grant coach Dave Behm said of his super sophomore, who was playing his second season of varsity baseball. “He is a stellar outfielder who can run the ball down with the best in the state. The great news is he still has two years left at Grant.” Ring rolled up 45 hits, including 8 doubles and 2 home runs, out of the lead-off spot for the Bulldogs. He finished with a .455 batting average and drove in 20 runs.
Jimmy Ryan Carmel
A star for the Carmel soccer team, Ryan made the tough decision to sit out baseball season last spring so that he could concentrate on club soccer. He couldn’t bear doing the same thing this spring. He missed baseball too much. So he decided to try out this spring, not knowing how rusty or out of sync he’d be. Turns out, Ryan had barely missed a beat. He was one of the Corsairs’ top hitters, to the point that he was the team’s designated hitter when he wasn’t playing in the outfield. The senior rolled up 40 hits, including 6 doubles and 2 home runs. He also drove in 18 runs and finished with a .417 batting average. “Jimmy had a stellar year,” Carmel coach Joe May said. “He hit the ball really well and provided a lot of power numbers for us. And he also was a great balance for us in the dugout. He’s very competitive but he always brought a sense of calm to the team.”
Brian Serio Carmel
In a doubleheader against Benet this season, Serio went 7-for-8 at the plate. It was an extraordinary effort, but it also wasn’t far off what the Corsairs came to expect from the senior outfielder. Serio finished with a .460 batting average and hit a spectacular .508 in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference, which led all hitters. He also rolled up at least 5 hits in five of the doubleheader series that Carmel had against league opponents. “Brian sure was efficient,” Carmel coach Joe May said. “He gave us a lot as a lead-off hitter. He really set things up for us.” Serio finished with 52 hits, including 5 doubles. He also drove in a team-best 21 runs.
AJ Schurr Libertyville
A three-year starter on varsity at shortstop and the son of head coach Jim Schurr, AJ Schurr wasn’t going to sneak up on anyone. The fact that he also hit out of the No. 3 spot meant pitchers were going to pay extra special attention to him. But Schurr still found a way to put up solid numbers. He led Libertyville with a .381 batting average and was No. 1 in on-base percentage at .495. He rolled up 30 hits, including 3 home runs and drove in 20 runs. He also led the Wildcats with 19 stolen bases. “To put up the numbers he did out of the 3-spot is impressive,” Jim Schurr said. “He was always seeing every pitcher’s best stuff, and a lot of pitchers would just pitch around him.” Schurr will be playing football for Army next year and may also play for the baseball team.
Jeremy Wagner Wauconda
Wagner didn’t just help Wauconda win the North Suburban Prairie Division title, he helped his team win it emphatically. With a no-hitter. “We were playing Antioch in a game that we had to have (for the division title),” Wauconda coach Bill Sliker said. “We won 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel and Jeremy ended up throwing a no-hitter. What a perfect time for that.” Wagner threw 3 no-hitters in the last two years, including no-nos against North Chicago and Harvard last season. This year, he finished with 6 wins and 47 strikeouts in 44 innings. “Jeremy is a big, strong kid,” Sliker said. “One of his biggest strengths is his stamina. He was able to keep us in big games. He made us a better team.” At the plate, Wagner had 24 hits and 23 RBI this season.
Player School Pos. Yr.
Chris Argianas Vernon Hills IF Sr.
Parker Asmann Lake Zurich P/IF Sr.
Jake Brown Lakes IF Jr.
Luis Carrasco Mundelein DH/P Sr.
Kevin Colburn Warren IF/DH Sr.
Paul DeJong Antioch IF Sr.
Sean Eder Lake Zurich OF Jr.
Joey Eichmann Libertyville P/DH Sr.
Max Golembo Stevenson IF Jr.
Adam Gomski Grayslake North IF/P Soph.
Joe Gregory Antioch C Jr.
Jared Helmich Grant IF/P Jr.
Mike Herrmann Warren IF Sr.
*Ryan Kennedy Warren IF/P Sr.
Paul Kukulka Lakes IF/P Sr.
Austin Leggett Grayslake Central P Sr.
Ben Mahar Mundelein P Sr.
Chris Marras Vernon Hills IF Jr.
Michael Martin Stevenson IF Sr.
Tim Matesi Wauconda P/IF Sr.
Austin Miller Grayslake Cental IF Sr.
Jake Ring Grant P/OF Soph.
Jimmy Ryan Carmel OF/DH Sr.
AJ Schurr Libertyville IF Sr.
Brian Serio Carmel OF Sr.
Jeremy Wagner Wauconda P Sr.
* All-area team captain
P Mark Ash, jr., Grayslake Central; OF/P CJ Bailey, jr., Grayslake North; IF Brian Brennan, jr., Carmel; IF Blake Bucsa, jr., Carmel; DH Tyler Coppney, jr., Vernon Hills; OF Nick Coutre, jr., Libertyville; OF MJ Crowley, jr., Vernon Hills; P Dalsen Ferbert, sr., Stevenson; OF Brandon Fern, sr., Grayslake North; P Blake Fiedelman, sr., Stevenson; P Kyle Fosco, sr., Grayslake North; IF Charlie Gandolfi, sr., Mundelein; P Mark Gawinski, sr., Grayslake Central; P Isaac Greenspon, sr., Stevenson; OF Alex Grimm, sr., Antioch; OF Jon Gurchak, jr., Grayslake Central; IF Anthony Gutierrez, jr., Round Lake; IF Ryan Hamrick, jr., Grayslake Central; OF/P Tim Hendricks, sr., Carmel; P Nick Hibbing, sr., Lakes; IF Deek Idstein, sr., Grayslake Central; OF Pat Kenney, jr., Warren; P Mike Lutz, jr., Lake Zurich; P Erik Maki, sr., Wauconda; C Kristian Meehan, jr., Grayslake Central; P/Of Ryan Newman, fr., Round Lake; OF Kyle Noon, sr., Lakes; IF Brian Palmer, sr., Vernon Hills; P Tyler Radtke, sr., Stevenson; P/IF Chris Rana, sr., Round Lake; IF Kevin Staszczak, sr., Grayslake North; IF Jordan Villarreal, soph., Grant; P Adam Warkenthien, sr., Carmel; OF Jake Ziolkowski, jr., Wauconda
Selection and profiles by Patricia Babcock McGraw
This article filed under
- Lake County
- Buffalo Grove
- Deer Park
- Fox Lake
- Gages Lake
- Green Oaks
- Hawthorn Woods
- Island Lake
- Lake Villa
- Lake Zurich
- Long Grove
- North Barrington
- Round Lake
- Round Lake Beach
- Round Lake Heights
- Round Lake Park
- Third Lake
- Vernon Hills
- Prep Boys
- Antioch High School
- Grant High School
- Grayslake Central High School
- Grayslake North High School
- Lakes High School
- Lake Zurich High School
- Libertyville High School
- Mundelein High School
- Round Lake High School
- Stevenson High School
- Vernon Hills High School
- Warren Township High School
- Wauconda High School
- Carmel High School
- Indian Creek
- Spring Grove
- Old Mill Creek
- Port Barrington
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