Morton utility player and leadoff hitter Nick Guerra put together a remarkable senior season that earned him 2019 Journal Star Baseball Player of the Year honors.
The Maryville University commit reached base safely in every single game except for one for the Potters (27-9), who won the Class 3A state championship. He had an outstanding .529 batting average with 55 hits, 13 doubles, six triples, seven home runs and drove in 37 runs. On the mound, the right-hander finished with a 6-2 record and 1.57 ERA. He was named first team all-state by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association.
"It was a great feeling knowing that I had the ability to hit anyone that I faced. I spent a lot of the offseason visualizing certain pitchers that we would see throughout the year and take that approach into the cage," Guerra said. "There are some unbelievable arms in the Mid-Illini that beat me a lot more than I beat them, but having some some success off of them gives me a lot of confidence moving forward."
Guerra went up against some of the toughest pitchers in the state during conference action, including Dunlap right-handers Andrew Pogue (Illinois commit) and Taylor Catton (Bradley commit). The road didn't get any easier from there as he also faced Limestone left-hander Mike Dunne, who was dominant all season.
Morton suffered a 6-4 loss to Lincoln in the regional championship to end this season, but Guerra felt like his individual season was still a success, and his leadership helped build a strong foundation for the upcoming seasons at Morton.
"Individually this was a great way to cap off my high school career, and it definitely built a lot of confidence moving into college. I knew that I was more than prepared for the season, but there was still uncertainty about how the season would go," Guerra added. "In the end, it was nice to see the hard work pay off. It is hard to be satisfied knowing that our season was cut short and that there are still some holes in my game that I need to shore up over the summer."
"It seems like the past four years flew by, and it took playing my last high school game to really reflect on how blessed I was to play with such great people for such a great school," said Guerra. "I was extremely blessed to play under coach Crawford and the entire staff at Morton."
Morton head coach Jesse Crawford said the things that Guerra accomplished on the field were nothing short of remarkable and said this will be an individual season he will remember for a long time.
"I haven't seen a kid put up video game numbers like that against this level of pitching. The way he stayed dialed in every game this season was phenomenal, and it is just a testament to how hard he works in the off-season," Crawford said. "He was the hardest working kid in every weight lifting session from his freshman to senior season."
"He is a very quiet kid, but very humble. He doesn't show flash and just goes about his business," Crawford added. "He never slumped the entire season, and I just can't say enough about his leadership and how he carried himself. I think he will do a great job at Maryville next season."
John Komosa can be reached at 686-3214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jkom91.