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How do you follow-up a one-hit pitching performance in the state finals that propels your team to its first-ever state baseball championship?
Well that’s simple, if you’re Walker Retz you go out the next week and win the Most Valuable Player award in the All-Star Classic that features the best 72 seniors in the state of Wisconsin.
Retz, who was joined by Boyceville teammate and classmate Trett Joles in the two-day event played July 9 and 10th at Oshkosh North’s E.J. Schneider Field, was tabbed as the MVP of the 37th Annual Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Classic.
If that wasn’t enough, the recent Boyceville graduate added to his season accolades. Retz was then named as a first-team member of the Wisconsin Prep Baseball Report’s All-State team to go along with his second-team WBCA All-State award and was chosen as the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram’s athlete of the year.
Joles’ accomplishments over the past four years have also been impressive earning him a second-team all-state selection this year as well and a spot on the all-state academic squad with fellow Class of 2021 co-valedictorian Connor Sempf.
In the annual select-senior Classic, Retz and Joles helped the West All-Stars to a 2-0-1 finish. Retz pitched four scoreless innings in those contests giving up just two hits and a walk. Offensively, Retz made his bat sing with pair of hits and four RBIs in the West’s 10-3 victory over the South. Joles played catcher in the games and had a hit and scored a run.
Well before Joles and Retz capped their prep baseball careers by leading the Bulldogs to the WIAA Division 4 State Championship June 28, they were named as the Dunn-St. Croix Conference’s Most Valuable Baseball Players of the Year.
“This is the first time I have had a D-SC Conference Player of the Year. So to have 2 guys share the award from our team is pretty special,” stated head coach Michael Roemhild.
Retz, who played shortstop and was Boyceville’s top thrower, finished with a .507 batting average and a team-best 41 hits with 16 singles, 145 doubles, four triples, and six home runs. He also had nine stolen bases, and led the team with 29 runs scored and 51 RBIs.
On the mound, he was 6-0 including victories in the regional, sectional, and state finals. In 41 and a third innings pitched, Retz allowed just 20 hits including a single home run and only seven runs of which three were earned, and seven walks to finish the season with a .51 Earned Run Average (ERA). Defensively, he had 31 putouts in 35 chances, eight assists, just nine errors and a fielding percentage of .812.
Retz did all this on a sore shoulder according to his head coach.
“Walker was playing with a sore shoulder a majority of the year so he didn’t throw as many innings as we were predicting before the season,” noted Roemhild.
“But what he had to miss out on with pitching he more than made up for in hitting,” the coach added. “He was really dialed in and led this team offensively. Then, when the playoffs came and he started to feel healthy with his arm again…WOW. Just an amazing pitching performance Walker put on.”
“Not only was he D-SC co-player of the year, he was nominated twice as WISSPORTS athlete of the week, 1st team all-district, 2nd team WBCA all-state, 1st team PBR all state, and EC Leader-Telegram athlete of the year.”
Behind the plate, Joles had 163 putouts, with nine assists and only five errors to finish with a fielding percentage of .972 that led the team. Offensively, he was a threat at the plate and on the bases.
In his 76 at bats, Joles had 40 hits (second on the team) with 21 base hits, a dozen doubles, and six homers (tying with Retz for the team lead). As the lead-off hitter, all those hits led to a team-topping 52 runs scored for Joles thanks in part to another Bulldog best of 29 stolen bases. He finished third in RBIs with 27.
“Trett was our leader throughout the whole year,” Roemhild said. “He was working with guys on their swings, helping anybody with defensive work, and just being as vocal as he could be. He knew this was it for his high school career.”
“I have never and don’t know if I will ever have a catcher like Trett again,” added the head coach. “The amount of work that he puts in and the baseball knowledge he has is just unbelievable.”
“Trett’s role this year was to lead us defensively and get on base as a lead-off hitter. He did just that,” continued Roemhild. “And when he got on, watch out, because he was determined to steal bases and score every time.”
“I think they both would tell you that they wouldn’t have been able to do it without their teammates encouraging and pushing them as well. I know that you could take all of these awards away from these two, because the one award that they set out for is the one that means the most….state champions!” concluded Roemhild.
Both players will be taking their talents and drive to the Division 1 collegiate level. Retz will be attending the University of St. Thomas while Joles is headed to Indiana State.