Baseball: Ram duo snag postseason honors
A mind-bending knuckle-curveball and one of the best defensive shortstops in the state powered Greene County to a pair of the most surprising upsets this summer.
In fact, both Austin Delp and Nick Breon helped the Rams pick up a pair of upsets during the 2019 campaign. The Rams were the last team to beat eventual Class 2A state champion Van Meter back on June 15. The Bulldogs would go on to win 22 straight games, knocking off North Linn, 6-0 in last Saturday’s title game.
The Rams, just 10-23 overall, also pulled off a remarkable upset of eighth-ranked Gilbert in the first round of Class 3A district play, aided by Delp’s stellar pitching prowess and several remarkable defensive plays from Breon.
The Greene County duo was honored for their consistent efforts in a roller coaster year, each snagging a Heart of Iowa all-conference honor and a southeast all-district second team selection.
Delp was named to the HOIC first team as an outfielder while Breon was pegged to the second team as a shortstop. Delp was named to the all district team as a pitcher while Breon’s array of web gems were rewarded with a district nominee as a shortstop.
Delp and his reintroduced knuckle-curve struck out a league-leading 85 batters this summer in just 58 and one third innings of work, which was the 12th best total in Class 3A, though the senior threw the least amount of innings in the top 12. Delp also maintained a team-best 1.92 ERA, surrendering just 19 walks. He finished his senior season with a 5-4 record.
Delp was also Greene County’s most consistent hitter, producing a batting average of .395, which ranked him eighth in the HOIC, just a hair ahead of Breon, who maintained a .392 in his junior campaign.
Breon collected 31 hits and 11 doubles, which was tied for the fourth-best mark in the league. The junior really stood out in the field, making several highlight worthy plays on a regular basis. Breon saved Delp’s magical pitching performance against Gilbert on on a number of occasions, even at one point producing a bare-handed, off-balance catch and throw to first. Breon tallied an 88 percent fielding percentage while making 34 put outs in the field.
Breon also made five starts on the mound this summer, tallying 26 strikeouts in 20 innings, going 1-3.
North Polk’s Colten Parkins led the conference in batting with a .446 average and 45 hits. Comet teammate Jeff lamp led the league with 36 runs batted in and six home runs while a trio of athletes were atop the conference with 12 doubles each.
North Polk’s Ryan Fausch was No. 1 with 34 steals.
The Comets and Gilbert shared the league crown, both producing identical 13-1 conference records. The two programs split their only two meetings in the opening week of the season.
Greene County finished alone in fifth place with a 4-10 conference record.
Senior third baseman Joe Anderson and junior Brent Riley were named Heart of Iowa Conference honorable mention.