All-Area Baseball: Meet the first team

Joe Aeilts
Champaign Central, So.,
infielder/Player of the Year


The numbers: Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year hit a school-record 10 triples (tied for 11th in the all-time IHSA season list) for a 35-win team and ranked third in the area in runs batted in (43) and sixth in batting average (.512). His 63 hits were a single-season school record.

A few of my favorites: Burgers ... Chipotle ... last text to Alec Barger ... first job, mowing lawns ... driving, 2003 Ford Explorer ... English ... favorite entertainer, Vince Vaughn ... favorite athlete, Scott Rolen.

On my bucket list: win a state championship, go skydiving and travel overseas.

In 10 years, I see myself: 26, and graduating from law school

Role model in my life: my dad, Rick Aeilts.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Golf.

Cully Day
Mahomet-Seymour, Sr., outfielder


The numbers: Parkland College recruit is a repeat first-teamer who was an all-conference first-teamer as both a pitcher and an outfielder. The leadoff batter for the Corn Belt Conference champions, he committed no errors this season.

A few of my favorites: Grilled chicken ... Fat Sandwich ... last text to, Audrey Lowry ... first job, working at Day Drainage ... driving, 2003 Mazda G ... Culinary arts ... favorite entertainer, Bradley Gleason ... favorite athlete, T.Y. Hilton.

On my bucket list: go to every major league stadium, watch the Cubs win a World Series and maintain a friendship with Nick Stokowski.

In 10 years, I see myself: having a career in something I love.

Role model in my life: Tom Kenney.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Tennis.

Chase Gadau
St. Joseph-Ogden, Jr., catcher


The numbers: Tied for third in the area with six homers and was sixth in area with 40 runs batted in. Only struck out four times in 118 plate appearances. Batted .469 with 18 extra-base hits. Top defensive receiver, handled a pitching staff that compiled a season team ERA of 0.78 for 225 innings.

A few of my favorites: Mexican ... Rocks ... last text to, Connor Janes ... first job, shoveling snow for Greg Immke ... driving, 2005 Kia Spectra ... Biology II ... favorite entertainer, Kevin Hart ... favorite athlete, Yadier Molina.

On my bucket list: go to every major league stadium, go skydiving and go to Jamaica.

In 10 years, I see myself: with a good job.

Role model in my life: my mom, Jessica.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Lacrosse.

Dylan Grady
Centennial, Jr., infielder


The numbers: Repeat All-Area first-teamer, batted team-high .423 as the leadoff hitter on the Chargers’ 21-win squad. Drew more walks than times struck out, 13-11. Stole seven bases.

A few of my favorites: Prime rib ... Billy Barooz ... last text to, Marybeth Duncan ... first job, mowing lawns ... driving, Toyota Camry ... History ... favorite entertainer, Vince Vaughn ... favorite athlete, T.J. Oshie.

On my bucket list: see the Cubs win the World Series, play college baseball and graduate from college.

In 10 years, I see myself: at the age of 27.

Role model in my life: my brother, Sean.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Bobsledding.

Connor Gross
Cerro Gordo/Bement, Sr., designated hitter


The numbers: Parkland College recruit is a repeat first-teamer who ranked second in the area in batting average (.571), second in strikeouts (95), seventh in runs batted in (39) and tied for fifth with eight pitching wins. Struck out three times in 97 plate appearances.

A few of my favorites: Spaghetti ... Dos Reales ... last text to, Storm Joop and Mike Plecki ... first job, house caretaker ... driving, 2010 Dodge Avenger ... Physical education ... favorite entertainer, Cleavy $tow ... favorite athlete, Jeff Samardzija.

On my bucket list: see the Cubs win the World Series, go to all the major league ballparks and have kids.

In 10 years, I see myself: being an athletic director and coaching.

Role model in my life: my parents, Rich and Michelle Gross.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Lacrosse.

Brock Immke
St. Joseph-ogden, Sr., pitcher


The numbers: Kankakee CC recruit one of 20 athletes selected to the Coaches Association Class 1A all-state team, ranked fifth in the area with 90 strikeouts in 621/3 innings. Was 7-0 with a 1.01 ERA. Hit .347.

A few of my favorites: Steak ... Texas Roadhouse ... last text to, Rowdy Randall ... first job, mowing lawns ... driving, 2005 Chevy Silverado ... Stats ... favorite entertainer, Kevin Hart ... favorite athlete, Adam Wainwright.

On my bucket list: go skydiving, go to a World Series game and go to every major league stadium.

In 10 years, I see myself: with a good job and a family.

Role model in my life: my mother, Sadie.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: ice hockey.

Storm Joop
St. Thomas More, Sr., infielder


The numbers: University of Indianapolis recruit, batted .407 and reached base another 30 times either on walks (17) or being hit by a pitch (13). Struck out seven times in 125 plate appearances. A two-sport All-Area first-teamer, was Area Player of the Year in football.

A few of my favorites: Sushi ... KoFusion ... last text to, Grace Lamb ... first job, working for Gatorade ... driving, 1995 Buick ... Mathematics ... favorite entertainer, Luke Bryan ... favorite athlete, Johnny Manziel.

On my bucket list: visit all 50 states, go skydiving and have children.

In 10 years, I see myself: still in school.

Role model in my life: Kevin Carroll.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: cricket.

Joe Kenney
Mahomet-Seymour, Jr., infielder


The numbers: Third-year All-Area first-team selection, tied for third in the area in home runs (six). Third-year varsity starter only unanimous all-conference pick in the Corn Belt Conference. Batted .436 and stole 15 bases. Eastern Illinois among colleges showing interest.

A few of my favorites: Macaroni and cheese ... Arby’s ... last text to, my boys ... first job, working for my dad ... driving, 2012 Chevy Silverado ... Pre-calculus ... favorite entertainer, Bradley Gleason ... favorite athlete, Derek Jeter.

On my bucket list: go skydiving, play baseball overseas and own my own company.

In 10 years, I see myself: out of college, married and doing big things with my life.

Role model in my life: my dad, Tim Kenney.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Lacrosse.

Mike Plecki
St. Thomas More, Sr., outfielder


The numbers: Third-year All-Area first-team selection, third in area in stolen bases (28), tied for fifth in pitching wins (eight), seventh in batting average (.510) and ninth in earned run average (0.75). Third year in a row without committing an error. Had a 22-3 career pitching record and was a .425 career hitter.

A few of my favorites: Steak ... Manzella’s ... last text to, Sarah Plecki ... first job, landscaping with my brother, Dan ... driving, 1996 Nissan Maxima ... Calculus ... favorite entertainer, Jason Aldean ... favorite athlete, Emilio Bonifacio.

On my bucket list: Go to Italy, go to Las Vegas and swim with sharks.

In 10 years, I see myself: starting a family and having a good job.

Role model in my life: My dad, Bob.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Cricket.

Jake Snider
Champaign Central, So., infielder


The numbers: Unanimous all-Big 12 Conference pick for second year in a row, struck out just five times in 136 plate appearances. Hit a team-high 19 doubles and was second on team with a .440 batting average.

A few of my favorites: Steak ... Portillos ... last text to, Katie Sloniger ... First job, mowing lawns ... driving, BMW ... Marketing ... favorite entertainer, Adam Sandler ... favorite athlete, Robinson Cano.

On my bucket list: go skydiving, win a state championship and win a College World Series.

In 10 years, I see myself: successful.

Role model in my life: Joe Yager.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Golf.

Nick Stokowski
Monticello, Sr.,
outfielder


The numbers: Parkland College recruit a repeat first-teamer who was one of 20 athletes selected to the Coaches Association Class 2A all-state team. Led the area in home runs (eight) and runs batted in (54).

A few of my favorites: Italian ... Portillos ... last text to, Samantha Terstriep ... first job, farm work ... driving, 2007 Toyota Hybrid Prius ... History ... favorite entertainer, Yung Polo ... favorite athlete, Carlos Zambrano.

On my bucket list: go to Italy, ride in a hit air balloon and watch the Cubs win the World Series.

In 10 years, I see myself: with a nice family.

Role model in my life: my dad, Mike Stokowski.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Sepak Takraw.

Phillip Swartz
Champaign Central, So., pitcher


The numbers: Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year was fourth in the area in earned run average (0.41) and tied for third in pitching wins (nine). Also totaled three saves. Threw a team-high 682/3 innings.

A few of my favorites: Meathead’s Burger ... Lotawata Creek ... last text to, Lydia Sink ... first job, working for Brown Woods planting plants ... driving, 2004 Nissan Maxima ... Sports Marketing ... favorite entertainer, Kevin Costner ... favorite athlete, Adam Wainwright.

On my bucket list: win a state championship, do an extreme sport and go to Europe.

In 10 years, I see myself: living a great life.

Role model in my life: my dad, Dan Swartz.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Golf.

Cole Taylor
Salt Fork, Sr., utility


The numbers: Parkland College recruit a repeat first-teamer who was one of 20 athletes selected to the Coaches Association Class 1A all-state team. Fourth in area in batting average (.563), fifth in runs batted in (41), tied for fifth in pitching wins (eight) and sixth with strikeouts (88).

A few of my favorites: Pizza ... Monical’s ... last text to, Toria Plotner ... first job, working on my grandpa Jerry Taylor’s farm ... driving, Ford F-150 ... Physical education ... favorite entertainer, Kevin Hart ... favorite athlete, Mike Trout.

On my bucket list: vacation to Hawaii, Cardinals’ World Series tickets and visit every major league stadium.

In 10 years, I see myself: getting a good job and starting a family.

Role model in my life: my dad, Ron Taylor.

Sport I would like to try but haven’t: Lacrosse.

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