Despite a losing record, the West Allis Hale baseball team improved as the 2016 season went along.
"We were young and had a lot of inexperience," head coach Paul Dooley said. "We lost seven starters from last season. We played much better as the season went on, though. Our team batting average went from .220 to .260 at the end. It always takes time for the younger players to jell."
Hale played a number of top GMC teams tough all season and downed a solid Whitnall squad, 7-0, in WIAA regional action.
"Our offense, defense and pitching were all strong in that game," Dooley said.
The Huskies then lost to a strong Muskego team in their regional title game to finish at 8-24.
The Huskies were hurt when junior infielder Tyler O'Brien was limited to just 13 games by injury. O'Brien, who was expected to be one of the top players, hit .370 from his cleanup spot in those games, including .440 in Greater Metro Conference play, and earned honorable-mention all-conference despite his shortened season.
Senior Isaiah Mundt was named to the all-conference second team at utility after batting .415 with 15 stolen bases and 24 runs batted in for the Huskies. He was versatile on defense, catching about 15 games, playing outfield for about six contests and pitching on occasion. Mundt was a three-year team captain.
Junior Michael Schmidt hit around .310, and junior outfielder Sam Valona batted .300 and earned all-GMC honorable mention as well.
The top pitchers were junior Kaleb Kling, who tossed the shutout against Whitnall in the playoffs; senior Max Pauer; and Nikk Regalia, who posted three victories on the season.
Mundt was named the team's Most Valuable Player, and senior Evan Gaynor earned the Coaches' Award for hard work and dedication, named after former Hale coach Jim "Chach" Sagorac.
The Huskies lose seniors Gaynor, Mundt, Austin Lee, Matt Mihaljevic and Pauer but return Schmidt, Valona, Kling and O'Brien, among others.