After the loss of projected top starter Grant Steinike to a season-ending injury, the pitching outlook for Cedarburg in 2016 was uncertain.
Steinike was sidelined with a broken ankle and never saw any action for the Bulldogs, leaving them with a giant question mark on the mound.
"We had a mystery staff," head coach Jack Friess said. "We didn't know exactly what we had."
As it turned out, though, Cedarburg was in good hands. The pitching staff ended up posting a fine team earned-run average of 2.84 for the season, helping the Bulldogs finish 18-11, including 11-7 in the North Shore Conference, tied for second place.
The group was led by senior Alex Prickett, who was coming off knee surgery in 2015. He was followed by junior Johnny Gillette, and the third spot was by committee, although senior Kyle Jansen got much of the work.
Gillette earned all-North Shore Conference honorable mention as a pitcher, and Prickett was honorable-mention at utility and was named the team's Most Valuable Pitcher.
"All our pitchers really battled all season," Friess said.
Kadrich made all-state
The offense was paced by senior outfielder Christian Kadrich, who earned first-team all-state honors by the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association and was a unanimous first-team all-North Shore choice as well.
Kadrich batted .453 with 43 hits in 95 at-bats with an on-base percentage of .536, leading the North Shore in all categories. He also scored 23 runs and brought in 19 more, hitting .333 with runners in scoring position. The .453 is the fifth-highest batting average in school history.
Kadrich was named the Bulldogs' Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Offensive Player as well as a co-captain with Jordan Grimm.
"He made good contact, with not many strikeouts," Friess said. 'He knew how to get on base."
Jansen hit .442 (30 for 86) with 23 runs scored and 13 runs batted in this season, batting .480 with runners in scoring position.
He made the second all-North Shore team in the infield and was named the Bulldogs' Utility Player of the Year.
Sophomore Keagan McCarthy hit .347 (25 for 72) with 17 runs and nine RBIs. He batted .378 in North Shore play and was given honorable-mention all-conference and the team's Most Improved Player award, along with Tyler Jeske.
Team was a family
Also winning team awards were Tommy Willer, Most Valuable Defensive Player; Alec Collins, Coaches' Award; and Alec Baye, Most Valuable Teammate.
"It was somewhat of a roller coaster," Friess said of the season, "but to win 18 games, you are doing something right. The kids really had a tight bond. This was a family; everybody got along and cheered for each other."