WSL Announces 2016 Award Winners; Gajewski Named MVP

November 17, 2016

Following a regular season that saw him lead the league with an even .400 batting average, Oshkosh Giants player-manager Luke Gajewski (UW-Oshkosh Alum) was named the Wisconsin State League's 2016 Most Valuable Player by a vote of the League's head coaches and general managers, the League announced.

Luke Gajewski

Following a regular season that saw him lead the league with an even .400 batting average, Oshkosh Giants player-manager Luke Gajewski (UW-Oshkosh Alum) was named the Wisconsin State League’s 2016 Most Valuable Player by a vote of the League’s head coaches and general managers, the League announced.

West Allis was honored with the Most Valuable Pitcher as Carthage College Alum Jimmy Jungbauer won the award after a stellar season, beating out Marian University Alum Jason Bunton (Kenosha) and UW-Whitewater alum Eric Schmitz (Sheboygan).

The League champion Lombard Orioles picked up two specialty awards in Mike Mateja (North Central College) who took home the Rookie of the Year award and Jeff Vukovich who was named the Manager of the Year.

In addition to Gajewski leading the League in batting average, he finished in the top five in OPS and slugging percentage. The former UW-Oshkosh standout appeared in all 28 games for the Giants (two were rained out and not made up), collecting 109 plate appearances, 95 at-bats, 10 extra base hits to go with his 28 singles and 24 runs scored. In addition to being dominant at the plate, Gajewski saw 44 innings of work on the mound in 2016, leading the Giants in innings pitched.

Gajewski beat out Hunter Fidrito (Lombard Orioles – Kirkwood Community College) and Harry Steldt (Sheboygan A’s – UW-Stevens Point Alum) for the honor, becoming the first Giant to receive the award since Brad Demmin in 2008.

Jungbauer was West Allis’s ace in 2016, pitching 46 innings for a 1.957 ERA. He surrendered only 44 hits in his 46 innings of work and walked only 15 for a WHIP of 1.283. He averaged one strikeout per inning and finished with a 4-3 record. Six of Jungbauer’s seven appearances on the bump came against teams who finished in the top four of the WSL standings.

Jungbauer becomes the first National to win one of the WSL’s top individual awards.

In his debut campaign, Mateja hit .361, collecting one home run and 16 RBI, coupled with an on-base percentage of .440. The Bourbonnais, Ill. native appeared in 21 of the Orioles’ 28 league games (two were rained out) and finished with a .983 fielding percentage, committing only one error in 59 chances. De Pere’s Sam Kohnle (Winona State) and West Allis’s Aaron Goecks (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsivlle commit) finished as the top runner’s up to Mateja.

In what has become an annual occurrence, Orioles’ Manager Jeff Vukovich won the League’s Manager of the Year for a record 14th time. Vukovich, the Orioles only manager since they entered the league in 1992, has won 19 pennants in that time, including the last 12 straight years. Sheboygan’s Derek Loomans finished second for the second straight year in Manager of the Year voting, followed by Steve Elliott of West Allis.

In addition to the major award winners, the WSL has announced the all-league teams for the 2016 season.

West Allis led the way with three first-team honorees in Jungbauer (right-handed pitcher), Goecks (outfielder) and Ben Carpenter (shortstop – University of St. Thomas-Minnesota). Addison and Lombard each placed two on the first-team, with Brian Wiest (first base – Rockford University alum) and Josh Dryden (second base – MacMurry College alum) for Addison and Mateja (outfield) and Hunter Fiorito (third base – Kirkwood Community College) for Lombard. Rounding out the first-team were Taylor Grimm (catcher – UW-Oshkosh) from Sheboygan, Gajewski (outfielder) from Oshkosh, Sam Kohnle (designated hitter – Winona State) from De Pere and Jason Buton (left-handed pitcher – Marian University alum) from Kenosha.

Sheboygan paced the second-team honorees with four. Making the second-team from Sheboygan were Steldt (third base), Schmitz (right-handed pitcher), Trevor Cho (second-base – St. Cloud State) and Wyatt Olson (outfielder – Indian Hills Community College). De Pere and West Allis each placed three on the second-team. Representing De Pere were Kohnle (first-base), Joe Baier (shortstop – Chicago State University) and Jack Collins (left-handed pitcher – University of North Dakota). Honorees from West Allis included Matt Richer (catcher – Carthage College alum), Jonah Meidl-Zahorodny (outfielder – College of DuPage) and Curt Pryal (designated hitter – UW-Parkside alum). Rounding out the second team is the Kenosha King’s Paul Pulera (outfielder – UW-Oshkosh alum).

The Wisconsin State League team and individual awards will be presented at the league’s annual Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner to be held at Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center on Saturday, Jan. 28 in Sheboygan. Details on the event will be released soon.

2016 Post Season Awards

Most Valuable Player Points
Luke Gajewski (Oshkosh) 14
Hunter Fidrito (Lombard) 10
Harry Steldt (Sheboygan) 4
Brian Weist (Addison) 4
Max Widmar (West Allis 3
Sam Kohnle (De Pere) 2
Mike Mateja (Lombard) 2
Ben Carpenter (West Allis) 1
Matt Richer (West Allis) 1
Jimmy Jungbauer (West Allis) 1
Rookie of the Year Points
Mike Mateja (Lombard) 17
Sam Kohnle (De Pere) 9
Aaron Goecks (West Allis) 5
Jonathan Keane (West Allis) 4
Ben Carpenter (West Allis) 3
Jake Falish (Kenosha) 3
Hunter Fiorito (Lombard) 1
Most Valuable Pitcher Points
Jimmy Jungbauer (West Allis) 17
Jason Bunton (Kenosha) 12
Eric Schmitz (Sheboygan) 12
Jack Collins (De Pere) 1
Manager of the Year Points
Jeff Vukovich (Lombard) 18
Derek Loomans (Sheboygan) 9
Steve Elliott (West Allis) 8
Lary Kurkowski (Addison) 3
Kyle Stone (Kenosha) 2
Doug Coe (De Pere) 1
Luke Gajewski (Oshkosh) 1

2016 All-League Team

Position First Team Second Team
First Base Brian Wiest (Addison) Sam Kohnle (De Pere)
Second Base Josh Dryden (Addison) Trevor Cho (Sheboygan)
Third Base Hunter Fiorito (Lombard) Harry Steldt (Sheboygan)
Shortstop Ben Carpenter (West Allis) Joe Baier (De Pere)
Catcher Taylor Grimm (Sheboygan) Matt Richer (West Allis)
Outfield Aaron Goecks (West Allis) Jonah Meidl-Zahorodny (West Allis)
Mike Mateja (Lombard) Paul Pulera (Kenosha)
Luke Gajewski (Oshkosh) Wyatt Olson (Sheboygan)
Designated Hitter Sam Kohnle (De Pere) Curt Pryal (West Allis)
Left-handed Pitcher Jason Bunton (Kenosha) Jack Collins (De Pere)
Right-handed Pitcher Jimmy Jungbauer (West Allis) Eric Schmitz (Sheboygan)

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL