Mustang players earn state, Pioneer League recognition

Five Iola High School baseball players received postseason accolades for their work in 2021. Two, Nathan Louk and Bradyn Cole, also received state plaudits.



June 3, 2021 - 9:03 AM

Iola HIgh's Nathan Louk earned first-team all-state and Pioneer League honors for 2021. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Despite losing their 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iola High’s baseball players didn’t let the disruption spoil their fun on the diamond this spring.

The Mustangs rolled to a 16-5 record, losing a heartbreaker in the Class 4A Regional title game to eventual state champion Bishop Miege, 3-2.

As is to be expected, that diamond success translated to a shelf full of postseason accolades.

Two seniors, Nathan Louk and Bradyn Cole, earned state recognition, with Louk being voted to the first team All-State squad by the Kansas Baseball Coaches Association.

Iola HIgh’s Bradyn Cole earned first-team All-Pioneer League baseball honors and received honorable mention for the all-state team for Class 4A.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Cole, meanwhile, earned honorable mention all-state recognition both as a third baseman and as a starting pitcher.

They also earned first-team All-Pioneer League honors for their work, as did teammate Ryker Curry. Two other seniors, Dillon Bycroft and Kole Rogers, earned second-team all-league honors.

The Iola contingent drew high praise from first-year head coach Ryan Latta, who noted the legacy the outgoing seniors have left for younger players to emulate.

Latta spoke first about his two all-state players before shifting focus to the other honorees.

“Nathan was so competitive, and he’d wear his emotions on his sleeve,” Latta said. “Bradyn was more easy-going, and he never got too up or down. You’d never see him get rattled.”

The key, Latta said, was both players were able to use their demeanors to get better.

“With both of them, you could put them out there and you’d know what you’d get — offense, defense and solid pitching,” Latta said.

Their offensive statistics were nearly a mirror image.

Both wound up sharing the team lead in hits (29), doubles (seven) and home runs (2), while holding down the top two spots in batting average and RBIs . 

For the record, Louk led Iola with a .500 batting average, going 29 of 58, while scoring a team-high 31 runs. He also stole six bases.

Louk also was one of Iola’s mainstay pitchers, going 4-1 with a 3.08 ERA. He led Iola in both innings pitched (36) and strikeouts (42).