By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports
A great meal is often topped off by a delicious desert.
In much the same way, the 2018 Washington baseball team gathered together one last time Monday at the high school to celebrate their season by ingesting various flavors of cake.
Head coach Nathan Miller emceed the affair and repeatedly mentioned how vital the parents are to a team.
?I can?t stress enough how important the parents are to a successful season,? Miller said.
The parents also got a bit of a reward when the team was able to play at Busch Stadium the day before Father?s Day.
?The commitment and time families put in is so appreciated,? Miller said.
Miller also pointed out the importantance of his assistant coaches -- T.J. Rausch, Jared Henry and Nathan Mathes.
?They have a great connection with the kids,? Miller said.
It may be because they are closer in age to the players than the head coach.
?This is the first time in 14 years that I have been the oldest coach,? Miller said.
The Demons were 21-12 and 11-4 in the Southeast Conference and had the conference Player of the Year in Cade Hennigan.
Hennigan and teammate Luke Turner both had 53 hits in 113 at-bats for an average of .469. That sets a new school record, besting Jeremy Kuntz? mark of .455 set in 2007. The 53 hits is second in the school record books behind Josh Moore?s 2011 mark of 54.
Hennigan also broke the school record for singles in a season with 46 while Turner tied it. Anthony Ossman had the old record of 37, set in 2011.
Coach Miller?s voice wavered at one point and it was when he was talking about his graduating seniors -- Kiowa Keith, Jacob Hall, Erik Murphy and Landon Hinckley.
?I don?t want those guys to graduate,? Miller said. ?Their character is top-notch. They each brought something different. These are the types of guys you want in your program. These four are really special and I will miss them deeply!?
The coach presented players with team awards.
Brandon Dickel won the Coaches Award.
?He did all the little things,? Miller said.
Brady Knutson won the Rookie of the Year.
?In the box, on the mound, catching, he always had great focus,? Miller said.
Chase McDole and Kole Hinrichsen shared the Cy Young Award.
?I couldn?t pick between them,? Miller said. ?They were both equally deserving.?
McDole (4-1) had an earned run average of 1.64 and Hinrichsen had 71 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched with a 6-0 record.
Hennigan and Turner shared the Silver Slugger Award and Hennigan was the team MVP.
?This team created a brotherhood,? Miller said. ?We had a clubhouse with a TV and an Xbox and it didn?t get turned on until the last week of the season. We had the young guys interacting with the older ones. They created a bond and that?s what helped make this season so special.?