Chris Halbur and Dom Thompson-Williams share several things in common.
They led their baseball teams further than any western Iowa school in their respective classes. Halbur's Carroll Kuemper squad reached the Class 2-A semifinals, while Thompson-Williams' Sioux City East club lost to Johnston in the Class 4-A finals.
Today, the graduated seniors become the most decorated players on The World-Herald's All-Western Iowa teams. Halbur is a first-team selection in 2-A/1-A for a fourth straight season, while Thompson-Williams makes the 4-A/3-A first team for a third straight summer. They are the honorary captains of each division, with Thompson-Williams repeating that honor in the large schools.
And they will share the same dugout as teammates at Iowa Western Community College, which has won two of the past four junior college national championships.
“We're really happy to get them on campus,'' Iowa Western coach Marc Rardin said. “I want to (recruit instate kids). Unfortunately, most of the time the kids that I'm wanting and I'm needing, so is some school that starts with 'the University of …' ''
Division I schools stayed away from Halbur and Thompson-Williams. Rardin said some schools might have shied away from Thompson-Williams because he expressed a desire to try college baseball and football. He came to Iowa Western intending to do both, but walked away from the football team after one practice and will commit fully to baseball.
This season, the speedy center fielder batted .453 with 10 doubles, six triples, four homers and 30 RBIs, while stealing 34 bases in 38 attempts.
“He has the athletic ability that you can't teach,'' Rardin said.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Halbur helped the Knights to their fourth straight state tournament. He finished 10-0 with a 0.57 ERA, including 115 strikeouts and just 15 walks. Halbur ended a spectacular 40-3 for his four-year pitching career. He also batted .398 with 10 doubles, seven homers and 42 RBIs in his senior year.
With a fastball that can touch the low 90s and is consistently in the upper 80s, Rardin said he was surprised Halbur didn't get signed by a Division I program. He said the Kuemper star has loads of potential.
“Being as athletic as he is, and the success that he's had, he's going to be a big-time kid out of here for some major universities and possibly the major league draft in the future,'' he said. “He's won a lot, and I really think his better days are ahead of him.''
The World-Herald again picked first and second teams in each of its two divisions. Four others repeated as first-team All-Western Iowa selections: Sioux City East senior Trey Lapke in 4-A/3-A, along with Council Bluffs St. Albert senior Jake Lewis, Logan-Magnolia senior Brennan Azinger and Treynor senior Alec Sorensen in 2-A/1-A.
Six more rose from last year's second unit to this year's first team: Harlan's David Ratigan, Council Bluffs Lewis Central's Austin Simmons, Sioux City East's Tyler Franko, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln's Connor Gann and Sioux City Heelan's Tyler Cropley in 4-A/3-A, and St. Albert's Jimmy Hawk in 2-A/1-A.
Four others are All-WI performers for a second time: Denison-Schleswig's Robert Lyons in 4-A/3-A, as well as Exira-EHK's Tyler Jacobsen, Treynor's Ben Chapin and Kuemper's Bryce Wessels in 2-A/1-A.
The All-Western Iowa teams were chosen based on ballots returned by western Iowa coaches, observations of World-Herald staff writers and a look at statistical information.
All-Western Iowa Baseball Teams
P: Davis Camarigg, Sioux City East, Jr.
P: Tyler Cropley, Sioux City Heelan, Jr.
P: Nick Norton, Sioux City North, Jr.
C: Austin Simmons, CB Lewis Central, So.
1B: Josh Jones, CB Lewis Central, Jr.
IF: Tyler Franko, Sioux City East, Sr.
IF: Connor Gann, CB Abraham Lincoln, Sr.
IF: Blake Meacham, Sioux City North, Sr.
OF: Brady Mayo, Sioux City Heelan, Jr.
OF: Connor Niles, Sioux City Heelan, Jr.
OF: Dom Thompson-Williams, Sioux City East, Sr.
UT: Trey Lapke, Sioux City East, Sr.
UT: Robert Neustrom, Sioux City North, So.
UT: David Ratigan, Harlan, Sr.
Honorary captain: Thompson-Williams, Sioux City East
P: Justin Fisher, Glenwood, Sr.
P: Alex Lalak, CB Thomas Jefferson, Jr.
P: Cody Selig, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Jr.
C: Zach Powers, Creston, Sr.
1B: Robert Lyons, Denison-Schleswig, Sr.
IF: Jake Daeges, Harlan, Sr.
IF: Sean Smith, CB Abraham Lincoln, Sr.
IF: Jake Westphal, Sioux City East, Jr.
OF: Brandon Carlson, Sioux City East, Sr.
OF: Nate Gettys, Harlan, Jr.
OF: Philip Jacobson, Sioux City Heelan, Jr.
UT: Brady Douma, Glenwood, Sr.
UT: Tyler Jensen, Glenwood, Sr.
UT: Tyler Stolen, Sioux City Heelan, Sr.
P: Chris Halbur, Carroll Kuemper, Sr.
P: Casey Berg, IKM-Manning, Sr.
P: Brett Carstens, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Jr.
P: Korey Kuhlmann, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, So.
C: Alex Drees, Carroll Kuemper, Jr.
C: Jake Lewis, CB St. Albert, Sr.
1B: Brennan Azinger, Logan-Magnolia, Sr.
IF: David Hogue, Shenandoah, Sr.
IF: Austin Konsor, Underwood, Jr.
IF: Alec Sorensen, Treynor, Sr.
OF: Jimmy Hawk, CB St. Albert, Sr.
OF: Kolby Hilgenberg, Carroll Kuemper, Sr.
OF: Avery Umphreys, Treynor, Sr.
UT: Ben Dotzler, OA-BCIG, Fr.
UT: Brandon Huebner, Tri-Center, 8th
UT: Tanner Peterson, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, Sr.
UT: Zach Rasmussen, IKM-Manning, Sr.
Honorary captain: Halbur, Carroll Kuemper
P: Jarrad Cavin, CAM, Sr.
P: Dain Hember, Missouri Valley, Sr.
P: Tyler Jacobsen, Exira-EHK, So.
P: Gabel Sudmann, Underwood, Sr.
C: Brendan McAlister, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Sr.
C: Cash Wilcke, OA-BCIG, So.
1B: Nick Gantt, CB St. Albert, Sr.
IF: Tyler Robinson, A-H-S-T, Sr.
IF: Bryce Wessels, Carroll Kuemper, Sr.
IF: Michael West, Missouri Valley, Sr.
OF: Ben Chapin, Treynor, So.
OF: Ryan Dougherty, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, Sr.
OF: Logan Nolting, Carroll Kuemper, Sr.
UT: Joseph Heitshusen, Nishnabotna, Sr.
UT: Trevor McKee, CAM, Sr.
UT: Jake Petry, CB St. Albert, So.
UT: Clayton Wilson, Fremont-Mills, Sr.
Tucker Askelson, Sioux City West; Gabe Berrera, Sioux City North; Corey Bertini, Glenwood; Cole Crawford, Creston; Drue Cull, CB Abraham Lincoln; Connor Dean, CB Abraham Lincoln; Briar Evans, Creston; Hayden Godfrey, Sioux City East; Sean Houston, Denison-Schleswig; Keaton Hulett, Creston; Sam Jameson, Glenwood; Tanner Johnson, Red Oak; Nick Kaufman, Harlan; Nick Leinen, Red Oak; Johnathan Love, CB Thomas Jefferson; Zach Nelson, Atlantic; Peyton Renning, Carroll; Wyatt Schulz, Glenwood; Caleb Shudak, CB Lewis Central; Trent Solsma, Sioux City Heelan; Luke Sutherland, CB Lewis Central; Daniel Tillo, Sioux City North; Luke Vonnahme, Carroll; Thomas Wisecup, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Spencer Wyant, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Brett Zahner, Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Riley Bach, Carroll Kuemper; Britton Barrier, Tri-Center; Kyle Bauerkemper, A-H-S-T; Schuyler Brennan, Nishnabotna; Tyler Birdsall, West Harrison; Jacob Caviness, Orient-Macksburg; Clayton Christian, Glidden-Ralston; Michael Coates, Sidney; Taylor Curtis, Underwood; Brett Daley, Treynor; Shane Dancso, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto; Caylor Deeth, Coon Rapids-Bayard; Marty Dollen, Tri-Center; Cody Eischeid, IKM-Manning; Colton Fisher, Logan-Magnolia; Shawn Flanigan, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto; Marcus Fouts, Missouri Valley; Ryan Gochenour, Missouri Valley; Brett Greenwood, Logan-Magnolia; Nick Guarino, Tri-Center; Jared Hansen, Exira-EHK; Joe Harris, Exira-EHK; Spencer Hember, Missouri Valley; Ryan Hempel, Treynor; Travis Herzberg, Villisca; Michael Holste, CAM; Steven Humphrey, Missouri Valley; Preston Jager, Underwood; Trevor Jameson, Nodaway Valley; Brady Johnson, Underwood; Jacob Jones, Essex/SP; Keaton King, West Harrison; Brandon Koch, Ar-We-Va; C.J. Kyle, Missouri Valley; Caleb Lange, Lenox; Wyatt Lewis, CB St. Albert; Grant Mantell, Treynor; Jeff Marshall, Stanton; Zac McCoy, Shenandoah; Braxton Mittan, Treynor; Dillon Muhlbauer, IKM-Manning; Taylor Nelson, Tri-Center; Keenan Nunez, West Harrison; Chris Osborn, Sidney; Wyatt Oviatt, Logan-Magnolia; Nick Paulsen, Treynor; Dustin Peasley, West Harrison; Mason Peterson, Lenox; Colby Rattenborg, Audubon; Austin Reitz, West Monona; Trey Robinson, Treynor; Riley Scroggie, Nishnabotna; Kolten Sefrit, Bedford; Nicholas Shipley, Sidney; Michael Story, East Mills; Cole Sunderman, Villisca; Austin Switzer, Fremont-Mills; Sam Wegner, IKM-Manning; Caleb Wichman, Underwood; Johnny Wood, Nishnabotna; Wes Zimmerman, Tri-Center.