Plecki, Tabeling earn top individual honors

GIFFORD — Heading into his final season of collegiate baseball, Mike Plecki was hoping to pick up some momentum this summer before traveling back to Bloomington.

Before the summer began, Austin Tabeling probably didn’t know he would lead the league in ERA and have one of the best overall pitching performances of the 21-game Eastern Illinois League season.

Mission accomplished for both Gifford-Flatville baseball players.

Plecki, a senior-to-be on the Illinois Wesleyan baseball team, and Tabeling, a former Parkland pitcher, were each showered with Eastern Illinois League individual awards last week.

Plecki was named the Ralph Loschen Most Oustanding Player and Dick Franzen Batting Champion, and Tabeling earned the Virgil Scheiwe Most Outstanding Pitcher award.

Tabeling finished with six wins, 1.21 ERA, 53 strikeouts, three complete games and one shutout across 74 1/3 innings in the regular season. He allowed just 19 runs in nine starts and 12 appearances.

Plecki helped pave the way for an 11-10 season, including a 7-1 finish and No. 2 seed in the E.I. League Tournament, with a .461/.533/.539 AVG/OBP/SLG slash line. He finished 35-for-76 with 11 RBI, five doubles and 15 runs scored. Plecki also stole 14 bases and had a 13:5 BB:K ratio while playing all 21 games.

“It feels good. It feels like all the hard work is finally paying off, and I’m excited to go back to school with the same momentum,” Plecki said. “My teammates this summer really pushed me. It’s funny, me and Ryne Bundy were always pushing each other to see who can get more hits each game.

“I always just went out there and focused on trying to win the games and just had a really good summer. It does feel good. It’s a great sense of accomplishment, and I’m really happy for Austin because he had a great summer as well.”

Tabeling was also thrilled with earning his top pitching accolades.

“That’s awesome,” Tabeling said of the award. “I had a really good defense for the most part. Some outfielders ran down some balls, played smart and played well. I probably only throw 81 or 82 miles an hour, so I can’t throw that 88 up there. But if you’re smart and you can compete with all you’ve got, you can compete with some guys who can really hit.

“I want to stay in central Illinois, so if I can work Monday-Friday and still come out here, there really aren’t a whole lot of better ways to spend your Sunday than out at the ball field. When I’m 40-45 years old and can’t play anymore, I’m going to look back and wish I did it as long as I could. If I can be out here, I will be out here.”

Contact Zack Carpenter at and on Twitter @ZCarp11.

Categories (4):Prep Sports, Baseball, Misc., Sports


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