Showcasing their stuff
Disney, Hoeg, Randall play in IHSBCA All-Star Series
WAUKEE — Though the summer baseball season ended last week, there are still games to be played, as the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association hosts its annual all-star series this weekend, with three area all-state players featured on one of the four teams.
West Marshall graduates Ross Randall and David Disney and North Tama grad Cameron Hoeg joined their teammates on the Small Schools East squad to take on the Large Schools West team Friday afternoon, a day after knocking off the Large Schools East team.
Unfortunately the Small East team couldn’t improve to 2-0 against their larger-school opponents, as they fell 15-7.
Despite the loss, Disney said he enjoyed another chance to face some tough competition.
“Today obviously didn’t go very well if you look at the score but we faced a really good pitcher today and it was a good challenge,” Disney said of going up against Dowling Catholic’s Ben Probst. “That was probably the best pitcher I have ever faced. It was fun to face him and see how you match up against other people from around the state.”
Randall agreed with his Trojan teammate, saying facing a guy like Probst, who is heading to the University of Iowa in the fall, was no easy task.
“It is different competition, I faced a kid who threw like 92 (miles per hour) today, I have never seen that before,” Randall said. “That’s good though, it’s good experience.”
Of the three, Hoeg had the most success at the plate on Friday, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs in the game. He said after the loss that offensively the team did alright, they just had a few defensive lapses.
“It could have gone better on defense but otherwise we played pretty well,” Hoeg said. “Hit it around better than expected with that quality pitcher on the mound.”
North Tama head coach Dan Kopriva, who is serving as an assistant coach on the Small Schools East squad this year, agreed with Hoeg that the offense did alright against a talented roster.
“I thought we were swinging the bats really good today,” Kopriva said. “Hats off to the other team, they were putting the ball in play you know, I think they put up crooked numbers in almost every inning and their offense was on today. We were pleased to come out with a split and hopefully we can win tomorrow and sneak into that championship game.”
One aspect of this series that both Hoeg and Kopriva said they are enjoying is a final chance to work together for some wins, considering the success they’ve experienced with Redhawks baseball over the last few seasons.
“I am really loving getting to be on the field with Cameron, you know,” Kopriva said. “That’s nice to watch, it was great to see him succeed today, he swung the bat real well. I am really pleased and proud of what he’s done.”
“There have been a lot of memories made between us through five years of starting on varsity, so ending that hopefully on a high note unlike how we ended the season, that would be great,” Hoeg said.
This is also the final chance for Randall and Disney to compete together on the same field, something that the longtime teammates definitely aren’t taking for granted.
“I wish we would have gotten to room together, we have spent a lot of time together though so it’s been a lot of fun,” Randall said.
“We have been playing against or with each other since probably about second grade,” Disney said. “We were rivals growing up but now we are pretty good friends and he is probably one of my favorite teammates to play with.”
The Small Schools East team now sits at 1-1 in the series with one more game to go today against the Small Schools West. If they manage to get a second win, they set themselves up with a chance to play for a series championship on Sunday.
Randall said he and the rest of the guys would love a shot at that title, and he’s going to do what he can to make sure that happens.
“I just want to keep hitting, I didn’t hit very well today, but I want to keep hitting the ball and keep making plays,” he said. “I think I may pitch a little bit tomorrow too.”
All of the players featured on these teams are talented and competitive individuals, and Hoeg said even if they don’t play in the championship game he is just happy for a chance to play against the best of the best.
“It is great but it’s also humbling to be able to play with other players from some of these larger schools and same-sized schools that are all the same talent level,” he said.
As for the expectations on the coaching end, Kopriva said they would love to come out on top today and play for a series title, but this weekend is about more than just wins and losses.
“It’s relaxed, we are having fun, we get to meet a lot of people and it is just a blast,” Kopriva said. “Players are having a fun time, coaches are having a fun time, even with the umpires, we are just hanging out with the guys and talking baseball all week. It’s very fun but of course we want to win out here too. I think that’s what it’s about, having fun and meeting people and celebrating everyone’s good years and careers.”
Today’s game between the Small Schools East and Small Schools West is set for an 11 a.m. start at Johnston High School.