Editor’s Note: All awards and statistics are based on regular season play and therefore exclude playoff game statistics

League Awards

League Cy Young: Ground Sloths #8 Austin Baker, LHP (Lakeland Sophomore)

30.2 IP, 5-1, 38 K, 3.55 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 30 H, 10 ER, 12 BB

Austin Baker

This year’s Kernels Collegiate League Pitcher of the Year has been awarded to #8 on the Ground Sloths from Mattoon, Illinois, Austin Baker. The southpaw sophomore attending Lakeland Community College amassed a 5-1 record, while no other pitcher in the league had more than 3, with a 3.58 ERA and 1.66 WHIP across six regular season starts for the Sloths. In 25.1 innings of work, he allowed only thirty hits, ten runs, and twelve walks, while striking out a league-leading 38 strikeouts along the way. He has been at every game for the Sloths, whether he pitches or not. On Saturday night, Baker got the well-deserved starting nod in the KCL Championship for the Sloths, going 5.1 IP with 3 H, 1 ER, and 8 K, giving him one last Pitcher of the Game Honor and the KCL trophy. Congratulations Austin Baker!

League MVP: Bobcats #11 Auggie Rasmussen, CF (ISU Commit)

29/74, 6 2B, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 18 R, 14 BB, 12 K, 15 SB, .392/.595/1.089

Auggie Rasmussen

This year’s Kernels Collegiate League Hitter of the Year has been awarded to #11 on the Bobcats from Blair, Nebraska, Auggie Rasmussen. After spending two seasons at Iowa West Community College, Auggie finds himself in Normal, IL after transferring to Illinois State University where he will begin playing baseball in the fall. Rasmussen led the league or was near the top of the league in almost every major statistical hitting category including top in hits with 29, homers with 3, RBIs with 24, on-base percentage at .494, slugging at .595, and OPS at 1.089. He is also second in doubles with six, stolen bases with 15, and average at .392. In their semifinal game, he went 1-4 with an RBI and 2 runs and was a core part of the Bobcats’ second-place finish. Congratulations Auggie Rasmussen!

Coach of the Year: Ground Sloths Jonathan Brandt

Jonathan Brandt

This year’s Kernels Collegiate League Coach of the Year has been awarded to Jonathan Brandt, coach of the regular season champion Ground Sloths. He is an alumnus of Parkland Community College and currently serves as the Recruiting Coordinator and Hitting Coach for Southwestern Illinois College. Additionally, Brandt was head coach of the KCL Howlers in 2021, who finished third in the KCL that season, before coaching the Sloths to regular season victory in 2022.  Brandt led a team that finished last in 2021 and that was predicted to do the same in 2022 by a preseason poll, to absolute domination of the regular season, finishing at the high water mark of 19-10. They were the only team with a winning record and the only one with a positive run differential leading the league in runs scored at 159, while simultaneously allowing the fewest runs by far at 131. Additionally, Brandt’s team ended up being the ones to lift the trophy by winning the postseason. Congratulations Jonathan Brandt!

Team Awards

BlueCaps Cy Young: #27 Griffin McCluskey, RHP (Valparasio Freshman)

25.0 IP, 2-1, 36 K, 2.16 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 19 H, 6 ER, 9 BB

Griffin McCluskey

BlueCaps MVP: #28 Ben Karpowicz, LF (ISU Commit)

17/52, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 10 R, 12 BB, 23 K, 2 SB, .327/.577/1.033

Ben Karpowicz

Bobcats Cy Young: #14 Will Jackson, RHP (St. Thomas R-Junior)

28.2 IP, 2-2, 34 K, 4.71 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 24 H, 15 ER, 16 BB

Will Jackson

Bobcats MVP: #11 Auggie Rasmussen, CF (ISU Commit)

29/74, 6 2B, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 18 R, 14 BB, 12 K, 15 SB, .392/.595/1.089

Auggie Rasmussen

Ground Sloths Cy Young: #8 Austin Baker, LHP (Lakeland Sophomore)

30.2 IP, 5-1, 38 K, 3.55 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 30 H, 10 ER, 12 BB

Austin Baker

Ground Sloths/Playoff MVP: #10 Peyton Dillingham, RF/DH (UIS Commit)

23/70, 4 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 23 R, 14 BB, 11 K, 6 SB, .329/.514/.964

Peyton Dillingham

Merchants Cy Young: #21 Nathan Garard, RHP (Eureka Junior)

25.2 IP, 1-1, 31 K, 4.09 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 30 H, 15 ER, 2 BB

Nathan Garard

Merchants MVP: #18 Logan Van Heuklon, C/DH/1B (Carl Sandburg Freshman)

23/78, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 19 R, 19 BB, 11 K, 6 SB, .295/.321/.765, 29/30 GP

Logan Van Heuklon

All-KCL Teams


  • C: Logan Van Heuklon, Merchants, Carl Sandburg (Team MVP)
  • 1B: Daniel Pacella, Ground Sloths, ISU
  • 2B: Alec McGinnis, Bobcats, Augustana
  • 3B: Mike Maloney, BlueCaps, SWIC
  • SS: Liam McGill, BlueCaps, Millikin
  • LF: Ben Karpowicz, BlueCaps, ISU (Team MVP)
  • CF: Auggie Rasmussen, Bobcats, ISU (League MVP)
  • RF: Peyton Dillingham, Ground Sloths, UIS (Team MVP)
  • DH: Eli Hensley, Bobcats, Black Hawk CC
  • SP1: Austin Baker, Ground Sloths, Lakeland CC (League Cy Young)
  • SP2: Keegan Gagliardo, Ground Sloths, ISU
  • SP3: Griffin McCluskey, BlueCaps, Valparaiso (Team Cy Young)
  • RP1: Logan Wombles, Ground Sloths, Lakeland CC
  • RP2: Ryne Willard, Bobcats, SWIC


  • C: Luke Lawrence, Ground Sloths, ISU
  • 1B: Patrick Mulcahey, BlueCaps, Black Hawk CC
  • 2B: Jackson Blemler, Bobcats, Parkland CC
  • 3B: Zach Carpita, BlueCaps, North Central College
  • SS: Derek Botaletto, Merchants, WIU
  • LF: J.P. Gauthier, Ground Sloths, ISU
  • CF: Joey Hagen, BlueCaps, EIU
  • RF: Travis Lutz, Merchants, Bradley
  • DH: Dan Mosele, Bobcats, Heartland CC
  • SP1: Will Jackson, Bobcats, St. Thomas (Team Cy Young)
  • SP2: Nate Righi, Ground Sloths, Parkland CC
  • SP3: Nathan Garard, Merchants, Eureka (Team Cy Young)
  • RP1: Trey Krause, Ground Sloths, ISU
  • RP2: Thomas Harper, Bobcats, ISU

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