High school baseball: Oconto Falls’ Manns, Bouche honored for NEC play

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Local co-ops each have two all-conference selections
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Oconto Falls junior Mitchell Manns, right, looks to make a throw after a play at the plate in a nonconference game against Shawano on April 22. Manns made the NEC second team this spring. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

The Oconto Falls High School baseball team played in a number of close games this spring, but ended up coming up on the wrong end of several of those games.

In the tough North Eastern Conference, Oconto Falls was able to earn three wins. The team had two players recognized for their efforts on the field with spots on all-conference teams.

Junior catcher Mitchell Manns made the second team, while sophomore infielder Tucker Bouche was an honorable mention.

Manns helped guide the team’s pitching staff through games, while also serving as a consistent hitter at the plate.

Manns finished the conference portion of the season with a .315 batting average, collecting 17 hits across as many games. He drove in nine runs, doubled five times and clubbed two home runs.

“It means a lot to be second team all-conference as a junior and it will only motivate me to get second team again or to get first team next season,” said Manns.

Bouche was the team’s top hitter in NEC play, finishing with a .346 batting average.

Bouche finished with 18 hits, 10 runs scored and five RBIs.

“I was super excited to hear that all the offseason work and extra at-bats I got with my friend Braden (Uelmen) payed off,” said Bouche. “The conference had some very put together players and very good shortstops. It was a honor to be recognized as one of those many players.”

Oconto Falls received a No. 5 seed for the postseason, but was shutout by fourth-seeded Marinette in a regional quarterfinal.

Gillett/Suring

The Marinette & Oconto Conference standings were top heavy, with three teams finishing with eight or more wins.

Gillett/Suring finished near the bottom of the standings, but still had a pair of players earn all-conference honors.

Ethan Hischke earned a spot on the second team, while Josh Reed was an honorable mention.

Hischke, a junior, earned his spot for his work on the pitching mound.

“It really means a lot to get second team all-conference. I love to play baseball and it is really cool to be recognized for something that you love to do and spend a lot of time on,” said Hischke. “Improving from honorable mention last year to second team shows that my work has paid off, but it also shows that I still have work to do. I plan to keep improving and use this as motivation to improve to all-conference first team next year.”

Reed was pleased to end his high school career with an all-conference nod.

“It is a privilege to be able to make the all-conference honorable mention team as a senior,” he said. “It feels good to be recognized for the hard work and time I have put into the sport.”

Gillett/Suring was a No. 8 seed in the playoffs, having its season ended by top-seeded Peshtigo.

Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy

Like Gillett/Suring, the Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy co-op also finished near the bottom of the M&O standings, but also had two players earn all-conference recognition.

Junior Bryce Hosking and sophomore Griffin Knox were each honorable mentions, giving the team a solid duo to build around heading into next spring.

“To be able to make honorable mention as a junior is a big deal and a motivation factor, especially after being out half of the season recovering from a broken ankle I got earlier in the year during basketball,” said Hosking.

“Receiving this award will help keep me motivated to work harder in the offseason to get to where I need to get to that next level of skill and to be to be recognized again as a senior.”

Lena/STAA was a No. 7 seed in the postseason. The co-op was topped by Green Bay NEW Lutheran/Providence, a No. 2 seed.