There were a handful of former Tri-County Area baseball players honored for strong seasons int the college ranks by receiving postseason conference honors.
Justin Sleigh, Nick LaBrasca and Drew Bankovich, who all played their high school ball at DuBois, and St. Marys grad Jeff Wehler all had success at their respective colleges.
Wehler and LaBrasca, who are now teammates at Youngstown State, were both named to the Horizon League’s All-Freshman team after strong freshman campaigns with the Penguins. Wehler picked up a greater honor as well as he also made the Horizon League Second Team as a shortstop.
Wehler had a strong season at the plate for Youngstown State, but his most impressive stat came on the base pads.
Wehler finished the year with 25 stolen bases to lead the team, ranking him second in the Horizon League and 29th in the country.
Among freshman, Wehler was fourth in the country in steals and was the first Youngstown State player with at least 25 steals since 1988 and was the fourth-highest total in school history.
Wehler’s success at the plate led to his high number of steals, as he finished the year with a .241 batting average, leading the league with 204 at bats and finishing fifth in the league with 12 doubles.
The freshman finished conference play second in the Horizon with 15 steals, third with nine doubles and his 35 hits were the fourth most in the conference.
After getting off to a slow start to open the season, LaBrasca also had a strong season at the plate for the Penguins.
LaBrasca went 1-for-12 to start the season but quickly turned things around by going 22-for-67 to close out the season and finish his freshman year with .291 batting average.
LaBrasca also added 18 runs batted in and 13 runs scored in his first season at the collegiate level.
Sleigh, a senior at Lock Haven University, was named to the All-Pennsyvlania State Athletic Conference Second Team in his final season with the Bald Eagles.
Sleigh was named to the team for his success at the plate as a designated hitter, as he finished the season with a .353 batting average to help lead Lock Haven to a 22-19 overall record.
The senior’s batting average was fifth best on the team, to go along with 32 runs scored, 31 runs batted in and 10 doubles, which tied for the second most on the team.
The 2018 season was Sleigh’s best of his four seasons with the Bald Eagles, as he finished his career with a total of 134 hits, 90 runs scored and 76 RBIs.
Bankovich was named to the Liberty League All-Conference Team as an Honorable Mention after a strong freshman campaign with the University of Rochester.
The freshman quickly earned his spot as a starter for the Yellow Jackets, appearing in 31 of their 36 games on the year and starting in 27.
Bankovich finished the season with a .290 batting average, 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored.
In his first season at the collegiate level, Bankovich recorded nine multi-hit games, including a 3-for-5 performance with two home runs and five RBIs against nationally-ranked Oswego State.
Bankovich recorded a .379 on-base percentage and a .420 slugging percentage while recording a pair of seven-game hit streaks to help UofR finish the season with a 19-17 overall record.
At the Divison III level, Penn State Behrend senior Jack Herzing — an Elk County Catholic grad — was the lone Lion to garner First Team All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC), earning that honor for the first time.
Herzing finished with just a 4-6 record but posted a 3.12 ERA and league-leading 109 strikeouts and 33 walks in 69 1.3 innings this season. His strikeouts and strikeouts per nine average (14.15) ranked him sixth and third, respectively, in the nation this past season.
He set a new school record for career strikeouts (296) and tossed the program’s third no-hitter this past year.
Herzing’s impressive season on the mound also saw named to the ABCA All-Region Third-Team as well as the D3Baseball.com All-Mideast Region Team.
Last Tuesday (June 12), Herzing signed a professional contract to play for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore Professional Baseball League.
Herzing is the first Behrend baseball player to sign a professional contract since Clearfield graduate Chad Zurat agreed to a free-agent deal with the Colorado Rockies in 2014.
Teammate Phil Myers (DuBois Central Catholic) earned the AMCC Sportsmanship Award. The junior lefty put together another solid year on the mound. He posted a 5-4 record and struck out 34 batters in 56.0 innings of work.
DuBois graduate Braden Paulinellie, a freshman at Behrend, was named the team’s Rookie Of the Year. he hit .360, recording 13 hulti-hit games while driving in 24 runs. He also played a solid second base, finishing the season with a .971 fielding percentage, 53 putouts, and 48 assists.