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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 a couple of weeks ago, MaxPreps began taking a look at which Nebraska prep pitchers made the year's strongest run toward the Triple Crown (leading the state in earned run average, wins and strikeouts).
After running through the numbers on MaxPreps' statistics database, we discovered that nine different baseball programs placed at least one pitcher at or near the top of the list. Millard South, however, stood out after placing two athletes in this week's Top 5. The Class A state runner-up Patriots landed Jarrett Novak and Jayden Payne in this week's Nos. 3 and 4 spots, respectively.
Jonah Reiser of Waverly did not achieve the Triple Crown this spring, but he did come awful close. The senior hurler owns a 1.03 earned run average, 11th-best in the Cornhusker State, finished sixth with 47 strikeouts and posted six wins, second best in Nebraska.
Sayer Diederich of Elkhorn South and Thurston-Cuming County's Zack Hegge rounded out the Top 5 at Nos. 2 and 4 respectively. Payne and Hegge finished in a tie for fourth place this week. Concordia/Brownell/Omaha Christian Academy's Coleton Kanzmeier finished with a Nebraska best win total of 7, while Class B state champion Bennington's Colton Smith struck out a state-leading 63 batters.
Chandler Welker of Kearney and Class A state champion Millard West's Corbin Hawkins produced earned run averages of 0.00. Hawkins threw 16 innings on the year to 3.1 innings pitched for Welker. Elkhorn's Kyler Randazzo led the Cornhusker State in earned run average at 0.30 when it came to pitchers who threw 20 innings or more.
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 98 athlete's numbers in each category, a point system was used to calculate the Top 10. The statistics for this week's Top 10 were pulled from MaxPreps' database Monday evening.Nebraska's Top 10 Triple Crown pitchers
1. Jonah Reiser, Waverly, Sr. – P, Util.
1.03 Earned Run Average | 6 Wins | 47 Strikeouts2. Sayer Diederich, Elkhorn South (Omaha), Sr. – P
1.31 Earned Run Average | 4 Wins | 54 Strikeouts3. Jarrett Novak, Millard South (Omaha), Jr. – P
1.79 Earned Run Average | 5 Wins | 46 Strikeouts4. (tie) Zack Hegge, Thurston-Cuming County (Bancroft), So. – P
1.22 Earned Run Average | 5 Wins | 33 Strikeouts4. (tie) Jayden Payne, Millard South, Jr. – P
1.49 Earned Run Average | 6 Wins | 33 Strikeouts6. Caleb Riedel, Millard West (Omaha), Sr. – P
1.53 Earned Run Average | 3 Wins | 42 Strikeouts7. Adam Eggert, Plattsmouth, So. – P
2.14 Earned Run Average | 4 Wins | 50 Strikeouts8. Tucker Hagan, Omaha Westside (Omaha), Sr. – P
1.81 Earned Run Average | 5 Wins | 35 Strikeouts9. Braden Olson, Concordia/Brownell/Omaha Christian Academy (Omaha), Sr. – 3B, P
2.83 Earned Run Average | 5 Wins | 47 Strikeouts10. Colton Smith, Bennington, Jr. – P
3.02 Earned Run Average | 5 Wins | 63 Strikeouts