Mustangs’ Stuhr earns top baseball player honor

Marion, Witt-Birn split top team honor
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

Area high school baseball teams enjoyed strong results this spring, with several teams winning conference titles or being in the title hunt all season and several individual players finding great success at the plate or on the mound.

Marion’s baseball team had a memorable spring and was one of the top-ranked teams in Division 4 all season. Jaden Stuhr was the driving force that powered the Mustangs, and his dominant overall season earned him the NEW Media Inc. Player of the Year honor. It’s the second straight season Stuhr has earned the honor.

Stuhr is headed to UW-Stevens Point, where he plans on pitching. This spring, he was just about lights out every time he stepped on the hill.

The senior covered 47 innings this spring, striking out a whopping 103 batters over that span and walking just 14. He surrendered just 21 hits, and only two of the 14 runs he allowed were earned for a sparkling 0.30 earned run average.

Stuhr won 10 games and was dealt just one loss.

“Off the mound this year I became pretty dominant, mostly by mixing my pitches when I needed to and locating them where I needed to,” said Stuhr. “I worked the corners of the plate and zone and hit my spots while mixing in the off speed to keep hitters off balance….”

While his numbers on the mound were elite, Stuhr’s statistics at the plate also stood out.

Stuhr hit for a .500 average and posted 19 extra-base hits, with 10 triples, eight doubles and a homer. The senior walked 27 times and stole 35 bases. He drove in 42 runs and scored 33 times.

“This year was by far my best year at the plate and I changed my stance a touch to really engage my lower half even more,” said Stuhr. “Just putting the ball in play and spraying it all over the field helped bring success as well.”

Stuhr’s standout season almost was wiped out before it began after the senior dealt with some health issues during the school year.

He had to overcome reactive arthritis syndrome, an auto-immune disease that took away his vision, along with his ability to walk because of swollen joints.

“Hearing that I may not restore my vision on top of numerous other things really brought me a sense of reality,” said Stuhr. “It made me realize that everything that I have is a gift, whether I believe it to be something big or small in my life, and hearing that really drove me to want to succeed greater than the season before.

“Pushing through the mental and physical challenges that came with by working out and getting reps in as much as possible — even though some was a little sooner than I should’ve — really helped get back to as close as I was the previous season. Everything happens for a reason and everything that is put into our lives God knows we can overcome, and that positive go get it attitude really was the key to it all. Using it as fuel and wanting to prove myself.”

Stuhr was able to accomplish everything he hoped to individually and more, which helped him earn the Central Wisconsin Conference-North Division Player of the Year honor for the third straight season.

He will play on Team North at the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Classic in Oshkosh on June 30 and July 1.

Honorable mentions

There was no shortage of individual talent in the area, as demonstrated by the many all-conference first team players. A few players stood out this spring.

Shawano’s Ashton Henning overcame a slow start to the season and landed on the Bay Conference first team unanimously for a third straight spring. He was a threat at both the plate and on the mound.

Lena’s Josh Kristof made the Marinette & Oconto Conference first team in his senior season, starring primarily at the plate.

Pulaski’s Kyle Olson earned double all-conference honors in the Fox River Classic Conference. He hit for a strong average and was the team’s most-used pitcher.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Mason Meverden helped lead his team this spring, earning a CWC-East first team honor for his work at the plate and on the hill.

Noah Weier was a two-way star for Bonduel on his way to a CWC-East first team recognition.

Ryan Malueg also had a big season for Marion, both at the plate and on the mound, on his way to an all-conference first team nod.

Team of the Year

Marion and Witt-Birn share the Team of the Year honor after producing similar seasons.

Marion won the CWC-North outright with a perfect record, while Witt-Birn won a share of the CWC-East crown with an 11-3 record. Eight Mustangs earned all-conference nods, while six Chargers were honored.

Both teams advanced to regional title games before falling in tight contests.