The season that never was for the New Franklin Bulldogs baseball team just got a little better after three members were recently selected to the MHSBCA Academic All-State Team for the 2020 season.

With the season canceled in March due to COVID-19, New Franklin baseball coach Erich Gerding said it’s just a testament to the players and their hard work in the classroom, their tentativeness to detail and making sure they get all their work in. "It’s also a testament to their parents and I think the teachers and faculties at the school as well," Gerding said.

Gerding said all four players were four-time academic all-state in their careers at New Franklin.

To be eligible for academic all-state, Gerding said the players had to meet the following requirements. He said they had to start in 70 percent of their games, or as a pitcher in the starting rotation. The players also had to be in the top 25 percent of his class or score of at least 24 on the ACT, and have a minimum GPA of 3.5 percent based on a weighted system but must be converted prior to submission to a 4.0 scale.

Freshmen players were ineligible this year for academic all-state. Coaches also had to be a member of the MHSBCA to nominate players for academic all-state.

Of course the good news didn’t stop there. The Bulldogs were recognized as a team as well for achieving a GPA of 3.32.

While starting the last three years on the New Franklin baseball team, Bishop played mainly pitcher and shortstop for the Bulldogs.

This past fall, Bishop hit .372 with a slugging percentage of .674 and on base percentage of .471. He also had 3 home runs, 9 RBI, 16 runs and 28 assists. On the mound, Bishop finished 2-3 with an ERA of 3.36 with 41 strikeouts and 13 walks in 33 1/3 innings.

Gerding said Bishop was tremendous. "He was fantastic," Gerding said. "I thought Gavin really progressed this past fall. He got a lot more confidence in what he was doing and got a little stronger. I thought he had a great season this past fall as far as defensively, offensively and on the mound just all around. A really great, great fall for us and was really looking forward to the spring this year so he could even build on that."

Dorson also played multiple positions for the Bulldogs. Along with playing his primary position in the outfield, Dorson also played first and caught a little bit, Gerding said. "If I remember right, Jackson also played a little second base as a freshman, Gerding said. "The only positions he didn’t play for us in his three-year career was shortstop and third baseball."

Gerding said Dorson also did a lot of the dirty work.

This past fall, Dorson got off to a slow start while hitting .133 but led the team in sacrifices and played great defense.

"He showed up to practice every day and just generally did things that needed to be done that didn’t necessarily show up in the newspaper or even the score book,"Gerding said. "You knew he was going to be very steady and very dependable. He’s almost like an assistant coach at times. He was also very versatile, which is one thing we kind of pride ourselves on to get kids ready to play at all different kids of spots."

Held was also a player who played many positions in his career at New Franklin.

Gerding said Held started in right as a freshman and then after Hunter Rohlfing graduated became the Bulldogs primary catcher. This past fall, Gerding said Held started to play a little bit more at third base and split time at catcher to keep some guys a little bit fresher.

"Zac ended up playing a phenomenal third base for us,"Gerding said. "Just great. All the practice time he put in the previous two years really paid off. Zac was another versatile player, who caught and played a lot of third base for us."

Held finished the fall season hitting .323 with an base percentage of .475 and 8 RBI. He also had a fielding percentage of .970.

Other players selected to the Class 1 MHSBCA Academic All-State Team for the 2020 season were: Austin Hunt, Luke Nichols, Nate Stone, Bell City; Austin Droege, Brayden McGinnis, Jacob Nelson, Peyton Moore, Troy Brandt, Concordia; Jake Faulkner, Lane Mclevain, Cooter; Cooper Patterson, Exeter; Aiden Knoernschild, Carter Knoernschild, Logan Mahin, Tanner Martin, La Monte; Riley Case, La Plata; Nick Orr, Lesterville; Joe O’Bannon, Tyler Buck, Madison; Chase King, Cody Jones, Nick Garrett, Naylor; Gavin Bishop, Jackson Dorson, Zac Held, New Franklin; Ethan Adwell, Reed McIntyre, Northeast Nodaway; Jacob Davis, Thad Harman, Cairo; Bryce Hahs, David Layton, Drew Glueck, Eli Sachse, Ethan Puchbauer, Garrett Seabaugh, Justin Ward, Logan DeWitt, Zach LeGrand, Oak Ridge; Isaac Beavers, Patrick Hawkins, Summersville; Cadan Kauffman, Ethan Foster, Gage Culbertson, Treyton Foster, Tucker, Hilliard, Weaubleau; Jaden Thacker, Winona.

Cooter had the top GPA in Class 1 at 3.73, followed by Cairo and Oak Ridge at 3.53, Concordia 3.48, Lesterville, 3.46, Weaubleau, 3.40, La Monte and Naylor 3.37, New Franklin 3.32 and Bell City 3.10