Four Dodgers earn all-CIML Iowa baseball honors

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Drake Miller pitches for Fort Dodge on Thursday against West Des Moines Valley at McNeil Field. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

A trio of Fort Dodge baseball players were honored as first team all-CIML Iowa Conference selections, the league announced recently.

Seniors Drake Miller and Drew Callon were joined by junior Shane Halligan on the squad, with 11th-grader Mason Bockoven scoring second team all-league status.

“Going down, I thought we might get just one player because of the depth of our league,” FDSH head coach Blake Utley said. “So to get three on the first team, I was feeling very good. Once we started comparing the numbers of the guys, I felt like we had the chance to get them there.”

Callon led the Dodgers in league play with a .317 batting average, driving in seven runs with a homer, a triple and a double among his 13 hits. He also scored eight runs and drew five walks.

“Drew had done a lot for our program,” Utley said. “It really fit for him to be utility because that’s what he did for us.”

On the hill, Callon was just 1-4 but had a 3.50 earned run average with 23 strikeouts in 26 innings. Opponents hit only .210 off him in league play.

Miller had a .417 on-base percentage thanks to eight walks and four hit-by-pitches. He also scored six runs, had two doubles and had 19 strikeouts in almost 26 innings of work.

“Drake might not have had the numbers like he has in the past, but coaches still respected what he was capable of doing,” Utley said. “Like Drew, he too has done so much for our program over these past several years.”

In the field, Miller led Fort Dodge with a .986 fielding percentage in 13 league games, as he tied Halligan with just one error.

Halligan had a slugging percentage of .353 with four RBI, eight hits and twice as many walks as strikeouts at the plate.

“Shane had the respect of the other coaches because what he did to their run games,” Utley said. “A lot of times, coaches don’t look at defense when it comes to all-conference teams, but you can tell with Shane making the first team, they noticed how important of a role he played.”

From behind the plate, he gunned down five would-be base stealers in seven attempts, sporting a .985 fielding percentage.

Bockoven batting just under .300 and had a team-high eight RBI in conference games with 13 hits and three doubles. He scored six runs.

“Mason had a great spring for us and just got in a bit of a funk early in the year at the plate,” Utley said. “But there at the end, he was back hitting the ball for homers, doubles and triples like we saw.

“I’m very happy for Mason because he puts in the extra time and it’s great to see kids like that get rewarded.”

Dylan Zimmermann and Brycen Bell, two more underclassmen, were named honorable mention all-league.

Halligan and Miller were also selected to the all-North Central district second team. Halligan was tabbed as a catcher with Miller earning a utility spot.

The Dodgers lose Callon, Miller and Anthony Wagner, but return the rest of their roster for next year. That includes seven players that saw action in at least 11 league games this past summer.