Statistics don’t always tell the whole story.
There are many players who are having great seasons as the baseball season reaches its halfway point, and the numbers clearly show that those players are worthy of mention.
I will get to those players soon, but I would like to start this column by mentioning a player who may not have the best numbers, but his importance to his team is vital.
Richwoods junior Nate Greenwood gets my vote for Most Valuable Player at the halfway point of the season, for a couple reasons.
For most of the season, Richwoods has been without shortstop/pitcher Peter Cunningham due to a disciplinary suspension. His absence left a void in the starting rotation and heart of the batting order.
Greenwood stepped up in both areas.
On the mound, he has lived up to the term, “workhorse,” often used to describe a starting pitcher who gives his team valuable innings. As of last week, Greenwood logged a team-high 30 innings, second only to Peoria Notre Dame’s Josh Roberts in the Mid-State 6 Conference.
Greenwood was 2-3 with a 4.42 earned run average, but he has actually pitched much better than those numbers would indicate. In the handful of games I attended, I noticed that Greenwood showed the ability to get out of jams and keep his composure even when a couple runners got on base (sometimes by no fault of his own).
He leads the conference with 33 strikeouts and he has yielded just 11 walks.
Greenwood is hitting .304 with two homeruns, 14 runs scored and 11 RBIs.
There are players who have better numbers, but you have to ask, “Where would this team be without him?”
So, for his solid performance as a No. 1 starter and his production in the lineup during Cunningham’s absence, I will give Greenwood my MVP vote for the first half of the season.
Here are some other players who are in the midst of a fine season:
• Luke Garrison (.481), Jake Rockhold (.432), Ryan Bohmer (.409), Kyle Morgenstern (.383), Mark Schifeling (.368), and Josh Swank (.361), are all hitting above .350 for Peoria Notre Dame, which is 16-5.
Garrison and Morgenstern lead the conference with six doubles each. Morgenstern is 4-2 with a 1.77 earned run average. He has 23 strikeouts and just nine walks.
Garrison also has two triples, 11 stolen bases and 18 RBIs.
• Garrison and Richwoods catcher Danny Ardis were tied for the conference lead with a .481 batting average as of last week. Ardis has two homeruns, 18 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, five doubles and a league-best 21 runs scored.
• Richwoods batters Nate Mahrt and Joe Monahan are also hitting above .300.
• Riley Metzger of Richwoods went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs in an 11-1 win over Manual Monday.
• Notre Dame pitcher Mark McShane is 3-0 with a 2.85 earned run average.
• Notre Dame’s Cody Gilfillan hit two homeruns last week.
• Zach Simmons (.462), Alan Jablonski (.429) and Dan Clements (.425) are all hitting over .400. Simmons is second in the Mid-Illini Conference with 19 RBIs.
Clements was 3-for-3 with a homerun in a 7-4 loss to Eureka Saturday. Catcher Tyler Cassidy was 3-for-4 for the Eagles.