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Nixa's Nelson and Piepmeier sweep COC POY awards to top Eagles' seven First-Teamers


Nixa’s undefeated run through the COC earned the Eagles seven selections on the All-COC First-Team, including the Player Of the Year and Pitcher Of the Year awards.

Catcher Jaret Nelson is the COC Player Of the Year. He is Nixa’s first COC Player Of the Year since Brett Hammit in 2018.

Nelson put together a senior season that included a .467 batting average with four home runs and 42 RBIs. In addition, he collected three triples, 12 doubles, 25 walks, 30 stolen bases, 45 runs scored and a .560 on-base percentage.

Nelson banged out 50 hits to finish his career with 95.

Keith Piepmeier is the COC Pitcher Of the Year. Piepmeier, a senior, is the third Nixa pitcher to receive the honor in the past three seasons, joining Ace Akers in 2019 and Isaac Mitchell in 2021.

Piepmeier owned a 7-0 W-L record in eight starts on the mound. Over 48 innings, he logged a 1.17 ERA, while striking out 56 and walking 19. He gave up only 30 hits.

Nixa’s First-Team choices also include right fielder Sam Russo, second baseman Rylan Michel, third baseman Tanner Grant, catcher Jackson Edwards and pitcher Hardy Dougan.

Russo, a senior, hit at a .400 clip, walked 21 times and stole 21 bases out of the lead-off spot. He scored 39 runs, drove in 31 and had a game-winning RBI-single in a District semifinal.

Nelson shared Nixa’s catching duties with Edwards, a sophomore who hit .340 with five homers and 41 RBIs.

Michel, a sophomore, topped Nixa with 16 doubles on his way to a .336 batting mark. He had 45 runs scored, to go along with 26 RBIs and 24 walks. In addition, he was hit by a pitch seven times.

Grant, a junior, ripped 41 hits to finish with a .383 batting average. He scored 32 runs and drove in 30.

Dougan, a senior, was 7-1 in 10 starts. Over 42 innings, he struck out 45, walked 21 and fashioned a 3.17 ERA.

Ozark is represented on the First-Team by senior pitcher Brody Baumann and senior center fielder Devyn Wright.

Baumann ended his Tigers career on the mound with a shutout of Carthage at Districts. He was 5-5 with a 3.30 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 16 walks over 40.2 innings.

In addition, Baumann hit .322 with 21 RBIs and 20 runs scored.

Wright topped Ozark with 39 hits, a .379 batting average and 25 runs scored. In addition, he was 5-3 with a 2.60 ERA while pitching 41.2 innings.

It’s worth noting the only unanimous First-Team choices among Nixa and Ozark players are Nelson, Piepmeier and Dougan.

Altogether, a whopping 20 players landed on the First-Team. Last year, 18 players were named First-Team.

Nelson and Russo are the only repeat selections to the First-Team.

Other First-Team selections this year are Willard’s Cooper Wilken, Owen Bushnell, Kyden McMain and Cade Biellier, Branson’s Carter Jenkins, Joplin’s Ethan Guifford and Kyler Stokes, Webb City’s Cy Darnell and Cooper Crouch and Republic’s Cale Iies and Gavyn Beckner.

Nixa first-year coach Logan Hughes is the Coach Of the Year.

Nixa’s second-teamers are pitcher Rylan Evans and center fielder Wyatt Vincent.

Evans, a junior, was 4-2 with a 1.09 ERA. Over 26.2 innings pitcher, he yielded just 10 hits.

Vincent’s freshman season included 35 hits, five home runs among 14 extra-base hits, a 376 batting average, 24 RBIs, 33 runs scored and 24 stolen bases.

Ozark’s second-teamer is junior catcher Cooper Buvid. Buvid batted .330 with a pair of home runs and 24 RBIs.

Conspicuous by his absence among the 37 players on the First-Team and Second-Team is Ozark senior outfielder Greydon Miller, who hit .342 with two home runs, 21 RBIs and had a .459 on-base percentage.