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Sometimes a little luck goes a long way toward producing state championships. Great coaches have been known to mold pretty good baseball teams into champions as well.
But nothing beats talent.
As the Nebraska state baseball tournament came to a conclusion last weekend, MaxPreps began taking a look at which Nebraska prep baseball players made the year's strongest run toward the Triple Crown (leading the state in batting average, home runs and runs batted in).
After running through the numbers on MaxPreps' statistics database Tuesday morning, eight different baseball programs placed baseball players at or near the top of the list. Two schools, however, stood out after landing two players each on the list.
Grand Island, the No. 15 team in the latest MaxPreps Class A ratings, placed shortstop/outfielder Cole Evans at No. 4, while fellow Islander infielder Shay Schanaman slips in at No. 5. In Class B, No. 6 Elkhorn South's Tino Zach jumps into the lineup at No. 7 and Storm sophomore James Valdivia rounds out this week's Top 10 at 10th.
Austin Schultz of Class B runner-up Norris did not achieve the Triple Crown, according to the numbers posted by Tuesday morning. But he did come real close and takes the top spot. Schultz finished in the top 10 in all three hitting categories. The second baseman/shortstop/outfielder posted the state's sixth-best batting average at .440 and sits first in home runs and eighth in RBIs.
Bellevue West's Matt Koenigsman finds himself in the No. 2 spot in this week's Top 10 after hitting .411 with three round-trippers and 20 runs batted in. Brennen Bales of Nebraska City, meanwhile, sits third after producing the state's top batting average of .500 and tying Schultz atop the home run chart with five.
In order to be considered for this week's Top 10, a baseball player had to make the Top 50 in at least one of the three categories according to MaxPreps' statistics database. Then, after we logged each of the 134 athlete's numbers in each category, a point system was used to calculate the Top 10.
Nebraska's Top 10 Triple Crown baseball players1. Austin Schultz, Norris (Firth, Jr. — SS/2B/OF
.440 Batting Average, five Home Runs, 24 RBIs2. Matt Koenigsman, Bellevue West, Jr. — C/LF/RHP
.411 Batting Average, three Home Runs, 20 RBIs3. Brennen Bales, Nebraska City, Sr. — INF/P
.500 Batting Average, five Home Runs, 17 RBIs4. Cole Evans, Grand Island, So. — SS/OF
.378 Batting Average, three Home Runs, 27 RBIs5. Shay Schanaman, Grand Island, Jr. — SS/RHP
.396 Batting Average, two Home Runs, 20 RBIs6. John Horner, South Sioux City, Sr. — OF/P
.390 Batting Average, two Home Runs, 20 RBIs7. Tino Zach, Elkhorn South (Omaha), Sr. — OF
.366 Batting Average, two Home Runs, 28 RBIs8. Donovan Warren, Ralston, Sr. — OF
.441 Batting Average, one Home Run, 18 RRBIs9. Joe Folkers, Millard South (Omaha), Sr. — 3B/P
.357 Batting Average, two Home Runs, 26 RBIs10. James Valdivia, Elkhorn South, So. — INF/C
.392 Batting Average, one Home Run, 19 RBIs