Bennett headlines ACC baseball honors squad

Allen Community College freshman Levi Bennett was named this week the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division Most Valuable Player and Freshman of the Year for his work as a third baseman and relief pitcher.

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May 27, 2021 - 6:31 AM

Allen Community College's Levi Bennett was named the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division Most Valuable Player and Freshman of the Year for the 2021 season for his work as a third baseman and relief pitcher. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

About the only thing Levi Bennett didn’t do this baseball season was drive the team bus.

Because he wasn’t asked.

But whatever else was needed, from getting a key hit late to closing down the game from the mound, the Allen Community College freshman was up for the task.

“He’s that type of athlete,” Red Devil head coach Clint Stoy said. “He loves to play the game, and he loves to compete.

“He’s really good at baseball, too,” Stoy chuckled.

Bennett’s accomplishment netted him an armful of conference honors, most notably being named the Kansas Jayhawk Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player.

Bennett’s that type of athlete. He loves to play the game, and he loves to compete. He’s really good at baseball, too.Clint Stoy, ACC baseball coach

The Bentonville, Ark., native was the only Eastern Conference player to be named all-conference first team at multiple positions, as third baseman and relief pitcher. He also was named Conference Freshman of the Year.

Bennett was joined on the all-conference teams by Allen teammates Alec Roberts, first-team outfielder, second-team catcher Lukas Rich and infielders Josh Prinner and Jonah Weisner, who earned honorable mention.

Bennett ranked second on Allen with his .393 batting average, while smacking five home runs and driving in 37. He hit at an even higher clip (.424) in conference play.

On the mound, Bennett was tasked with serving as the Red Devils’ primary closer.

Bennett went 5-1 with seven saves on the year, compiling a 2.45 ERA.

He even suited up twice in the outfield this season when the need arose.

“With his competitive nature, he’d do anything,” Stoy said.

Alec Roberts

ROBERTS played primarily as Allen’s designated hitter, and he did so with aplomb.

“He was the common staple in the middle of our lineup,” Stoy said. “He protected our other hitters as well, and he rarely struck out. That’s a big deal.”

Roberts paced Allen in hitting with a .444 clip batting average, eight home runs and 50 RBIs.

The Alexandria, Va., native is uncertain where he’ll play next, Stoy said.

“He’ll find some place, for sure.”

Lukas Rich

RICH, as Allen’s catcher, shined both offensively and defensively. On top of his .357 batting average, seven home runs and 44 RBIs, all of which ranked second on the team, Rich also was a guiding force for the Red Devil pitching staff.

“He was a good field general,” Stoy said. “He commanded the pitchers. And his ability to throw out base stealers changes the game for you.”

Rich is the son of former Iolans Jaison and Kim Rich, now of Olathe.

He has signed to play next season at Emporia State University.

Jonah Weisner

WEISNER and Prinner offered ACC solid defense up the middle at second base and short stop, respectively.

Weisner, of Mission, British Columbia, hit leadoff, batting .345 with a team-leading 13 stolen bases.

“Jonah was our spark plug and our team captain,” Stoy said. “He led the offensive charge. He played with a lot of energy, and was a big part of our success.”

Weisner has signed to play at Ottawa University in 2022.

Josh Prinner

Prinner, meanwhile, hit .348, but he made his mark just as much defensively.

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