M&M all-stars proved their value
Four Twin-City players invited to league all-star game
Thursday, August 08, 2013 7:00 PM
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Versatility and leadership were common denominators of Marinette and Menominee's four Legion baseball all-stars.
Menominee's Derek Reiswitz and Jaden Kleinke and Marinette's Scott Eldredge and Jake McMahon have been named to the Fox River Valley Legion All-Star Game, to be held Saturday at Fox Cities Stadium.
The game will be played at 11:30 a.m., and an awards banquet will follow.
They'll represent the American Conference All-Stars, who will play the National Conference All-Stars.
Eldredge's value extended well beyond his .303 batting average. He was a quality catcher, steady left fielder, pitched a few good innings and could have played just about every position.
"He really improved himself as an all-around position player," Marinette coach Brian Lesdandrini said. "He's very versatile. Obviously a lot of hard work. He pushed himself. I think he pushed others with him."
In league play, Eldredge hit two home runs to rank second behind Menominee's Landen Maccoux (three). Eldredge has a high baseball I.Q., and his all-out effort was contagious.
"He's turned into a leader on the team this year," according to Lesandrini. "He led by example."
Overall on the season, Eldredge batted .286 with hist 12 strikeouts in 133 at-bats. Batting in the No. 2 spot, he had 28 RBIs, 24 runs and four stolen bases. He posted a 3.5 earned run average in eight innings pitched.
Reiswitz was similarly versatile. He primarily played catcher but also played some first and third and pitched.
"He's always tried as hard as he could," Red Wave coach Tony Hofer said. "He's a good ballplayer."
The Red Wave backstop batted .353 in league play with 12 RBIs in 34 at-bats. A good contact hitter, he homered once and had good gap power.
"He's a smart catcher back there and he works at it," Hofer sasid. "He does a very good job of keeping runners close."
McMahon's league stats (3-0, 1.19 ERA, 31 strikeouts and just five walks in 17 2/3 innings pitched) are impressive. His season stats (65 innings pitched, 40 hits, 12 earned runs, 22 walks, 91 strikeouts, 1.29 ERA) are even more eye-opening.
"He was our workhorse on the mound," Lesandrini said. "He kept us in every ballgame. He throws strikes, changes speeds real well."
He took three losses this season because he didn't always get good run support.
McMahon developed a slider and changeup to complement his overpowering fastball.
"In order to be a power pitcher like that you need to have a two pitch and a three pitch," Lesandrini said of the skider ane change. "He has really developed other pitches. He had great stats this year."
While Reiswitz was the leader by example, Kleinke is a colorful presence in the dugout, a guy who keeps the team loose. He finished fifth in the North Division with a .429 batting average and second in hits with 16. The left-handed batter drove in eight runs and had three doubles and a homer.
Slowed by injuries last summer, Kleinke was on a tear during June.
"His bat carried us for a month," according to Hofer. "This year he just saw the ball better."
A slap hitter in the mode of Major Leaguer Ichiro Suzuki, Kleinke gets out of the box quickly. He often hits to the opposite field.
Kleinke played all three outfield positions, manned first base, and posted a 3.85 ERA in 20 innings pitched. He had 24 Ks in 20 innings.
"He really enjoys himself out there whereas Derek's more of the quiet leader," Hofer said.
Peshtigo's Trevor Bero also made the all-star team. Bero played good shortstop and pitched on occasion.