Our distractions seem to multiply exponentially by the year. For better or worse, we now have Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to fill the lulls in our daily routine.
High school baseball is no different. While Iowa prides itself in being the only state which plays its prep baseball in the summer, it doesn't guarantee utopia. Distractions are everywhere.
For the athletes, there are summer jobs, summer camps, summer vacations, summer weight training sessions and summer open gyms, to name a few. For journalists and fans, the state soccer tournament now runs well into June, grabbing attention from the diamonds. At The World-Herald, this little event called the College World Series demands plenty of our time and effort, some of which could be used chronicling Iowa baseball's regular season.
But the players and teams push forward, determined to improve their skills and their conference standing. With just more than two weeks until the beginning of Class 1-A and 2-A district play, let's pause and recognize some of the teams and athletes doing the best work.
Although both have taken some spills, Sioux City Heelan (Class 4-A/3-A) and Council Bluffs St. Albert (Class 2-A/1-A) continue to head The World-Herald's western Iowa baseball ratings in their respective divisions. The ratings reflect play through Tuesday night.
There are four ratings newcomers. Sioux City East, fresh off a Missouri River Activities Conference sweep of Sergeant Bluff-Luton on Tuesday, jumps in at No. 2 among the large schools after winning eight of its last 10.
In Class 2-A/1-A, Missouri Valley enters all the way at No. 3. The Big Reds had won eight of nine entering Wednesday, including victories over St. Albert (3-2) and Treynor (6-5).
Also joining the ratings are No. 9 Walnut and No. 10 Tri-Center. The Trojans entered the week having won six of the past seven WIC tournament titles.
Individually among large-school players, Heelan senior Paul Jacobson has been on a tear. The South Dakota State recruit is batting .518 with 11 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 26 RBIs in 26 games, along with 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts.
In the Hawkeye Ten Conference, Glenwood junior Alec Forbes leads the league with 26 RBIs, to go with a .482 average and four triples.
Among small-school players, St. Albert senior lefty Ben Hecker, an Iowa Western recruit, is 5-0 on the mound with a 1.52 ERA. Treynor junior Alec Sorensen entered Wednesday batting .556 to go with 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Also in the WIC, junior Michael West of Missouri Valley entered semifinal play leading his club in batting average (.413), RBIs (16) and steals (8).
Elsewhere, seniors Dayton Rasmussen (.468) and Nolan Parker (.413) of Exira-EHK share the Rolling Hills Conference RBI lead with 21 apiece. Lucas Blum of Walnut is 5-1 with a 0.46 ERA, along with 93 strikeouts and 14 walks in 4523 innings of work.
At Coon Rapids-Bayard, senior Gage Reis continues to wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. He's batting .592 with 13 doubles and 20 RBIs.
Distractions don't appear to be an issue with Reis thus far.
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