Josh Abel • De Smet baseball
A senior left-handed pitcher, Abel ended the season with three successive shutouts, including a two-hitter in a 1-0 win over Staley in the Class 5 semifinals, paving the way for the Spartans to win their first state championship since 2000. Against Staley, Abel allowed just two baserunners in the first five innings and finished the game with four strikeouts and one walk. In his previous start, Abel tossed a one-hitter with nine strikeouts in an 8-0 win over McCluer North in the sectional after shutting down Francis Howell North in a 3-0 district semifinal win. A first-team all-Metro Catholic Conference selection, Abel compiled a 7-1 record with a 0.78 ERA.
Belle Boschert • Duchesne soccer
A sophomore goalie, Boschert led the Pioneers to the Class 1 state championship. In the title game against St. Vincent, Boschert gave up a goal midway through the first half and the Pioneers trailed until Haley Stockhausen tied the game 1-1 on a penalty kick with 10 minutes left in regulation. Boschert made a big save late in the second half and kept the game tied in the second overtime by tipping a shot over the bar. Boschert, who made nine saves in the game through two overtime periods, stopped a pair of penalty kicks in the shootout, including the final one, to help the Pioneers capture the sixth state title in program history.
Drake Downing • Waterloo baseball
A junior right-handed pitcher who is the Bulldogs ace, Downing went the distance to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-1 win over Carbondale in the Class 3A Salem Sectional final. He threw 96 pitches while striking out 10 and walking no one. In his previous start, Downing tossed a complete-game one-hitter with five strikeouts to beat rival Columbia 3-1 in the Columbia Regional final. A second-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference selection this season, Downing is 7-3 with a 1.82 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings.
Jessica Larson • St. Dominic soccer
A freshman forward, Larson came up big at the state tournament to help the Crusaders capture the Class 3 state championship. She had a hand in all three St. Dominic goals in a 3-2 semifinal win over Kearney. Trailing 1-0 at the half, Larson assisted on Grace Bindbeutel’s game-tying goal eight minutes into the second half and set up Avery Malloy for the go-ahead goal six minutes later before scoring what proved to be the game-winner with eight minutes left. In the championship against Summit, Larson tied the game at 1-1 with her 30th goal of the season early in the second half, setting the stage for the Crusaders to win in penalty kicks.
Tim Reinholz • Gibault baseball
A junior center fielder and pitcher, Reinholz hit four home runs in seven playoff games to help the Hawks to a runner-up finish in Class 1A. In a 12-4 win over Steeleville in the state semifinals, Reinholz was on base four times with two singles, a pair of walks and one RBI. He finished the season by going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in a 14-5 loss to Ottawa Marquette in the championship game. His postseason was also highlighted by a walk-off grand slam that beat Carrollton 6-3 in the Greenville Sectional final. For the season, Reinholz batted .404 with a team-best five home runs and 43 RBI.
Joe Schmidt • Borgia baseball
A senior pitcher, Schmidt threw the 16th no-hitter in Missouri state baseball championships history and capped off an early offensive outburst with a long two-run homer to lead the Knights to a 5-0 win over Helias in a Class 4 semifinal. Schmidt, who threw 86 pitches, worked around an error in the third inning and a walk in the fifth. He hit batters in both the sixth and seventh innings, but the Knights turned double plays to end each threat. Schmidt capped off his season by going 2-for-4 with two RBI to help the Knights defeat Westminster 13-1 in the championship game. The AAA Large player of the year, Schmidt has signed with John Logan College.
Drake Westcott • Edwardsville baseball
A junior first baseman, Westcott has led the Tigers to the Class 4A semifinals Friday in Joliet. In a 12-8 victory over Normal Community West in the Bloomington Sectional final, he hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam in the second inning. Westcott then burned Marist with a solo home run in the first inning of the Springfield Super-Sectional, prompting the Redhawks to intentionally walk him in his next three plate appearances. A three-time all-Southwestern Conference selection and an all-state pick last season, Westcott is batting .390 with nine home runs, 38 RBI. He made a verbal commitment to Louisville.