WEST DES MOINES - The Large School West all-stars, featuring MHS coach Steve Hanson and graduated senior Blake Judkins, completed its sweep of the field Saturday and Sunday as the squad picked up two more wins, went 4-0 overall and claimed the championship of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Iowa All-Star Series.
The Large School West closed out the tournament with an 8-3 win over the Small School East squad at West Des Moines Valley. Before that, it handed the Large School East a 5-1 loss.
"It was a lot of fun being around so many quality players," said Hanson, who was an assistant coach on the Large School West squad. "The guys went about their business in a very mature, professional way. There was never any panic in their approach. Plus, we got four great starts from (Nick) Belzer, (Tyler) Vaughn, (Ethan) Kenkel and (Grant) Otte."
Kenkel threw seven shutout innings in Saturday's game against the other large school all-star squad. Judkins, who will play for Central College next season, tossed the final two frames, struck out four and earned the save. He played six innings of errorless ball at shortstop in the championship game Sunday.
"Jud did wonderful job on the weekend and represented the Bobcat program and our community well," Hanson said. "Being around such a talented group of players can be overwhelming, but Blake showed all weekend that he can play with the state's best.
"I am sure coach (Adam) Stevens is anxious to get him on campus in Pella, and confident that he'll contribute both on and off the field next spring."
Jacob Lamoreux of LeMars hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning of Saturday's win. That ended up being all the runs the Large School West squad would need. Lamoreux, who will play for Morningside next season, was eventually named Tournament MVP of the team.
Otte, who played his prep ball at Dowling Catholic, pitched the first six innings in Sunday's championship game before giving way to Ankeny's Matt Johnson.
The winners jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning thanks to back-to-back doubles by Valley's Ben Miller (Nebraska) and Johnson. They eventually won 8-3, which was the same score in the first meeting Friday.