Panther 10-and-under team earns state championship

The state Class AAA champion Monticello 10-and-under baseball team, first row from left: Wyatt Wilson and Noah Hines. Second row: Henry Wolken, Maddox Henderson, Hayden Hackney, Harris Hackney, Henry Hoeger, Jack Jesenovec, Ajay Jamison, Will Sperfslage and Gavin Gogel. Third row: coaches Drew Hackney, Wes Wilson and Mike Hines. (Photo submitted)

     This season, the Monticello 10-and-under baseball team was moved up to Class AAA from AA after winning a USSSA state championship a year ago.

     It didn’t faze the Panthers, who earned a second consecutive state title in this year’s AAA state tournament, held July 9-11 in Cedar Rapids. 

     “It just seems these guys step up in the big moment,” said Wes Wilson, who co-coaches the team with Drew Hackney and Mike Hines. “Everybody played a part in this tournament. They just kept battling each game.”

     Monticello went 1-1 in pool play, then scored a big victory in the first round of bracket play, beating the Cedar Rapids Hurricanes 11-3. The Hurricanes had defeated Monticello twice prior to the tournament.

     The Panthers went on to defeat Indianola 8-5 and Prairie Thunder 9-6 to reach the finals, and then scored a 5-4 victory over the Centennial Storm of Ankeny for the championship.

     “There are not very many school teams in AAA,” Wilson said. “We were playing against a lot of travel teams, so it was a pretty cool accomplishment for the boys.”

     Monticello, which played in a Cedar Rapids league during the regular season, finished the 2021 campaign with a record of 19-10.



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