DES MOINES — Garrett Finley was a productive hitter the past two seasons for Central DeWitt's baseball team. His batting average hovered around .340 and he was a consistent run producer.

Still, Finley admitted there was something that held him back from being even more explosive in the batter's box.

"The curveball really gave me trouble," Finley said. "This past offseason, I really worked on keeping my hands back and driving the ball to right field."

The result was the best season of Finley's career.

Finley was named captain of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association Class 3A all-state team. The catcher batted .493 for the Sabers, who won a school-record 38 games and played in the state championship game.

The three-year starter, off to play baseball at Central College in Pella, was among the top seven in 3A in hits (67), doubles (15) and RBIs (53).

"This was the first year where I was 100 percent healthy," Finley said. "I was injured a lot and had a bad ankle the majority of last year.

"I tried to do the extra stuff in the offseason. I'm proud of the senior season we had here."

Finley was one of seven players from the Quad-Cities area selected to a first team.

Davenport Assumption senior Nick Gottilla and Central DeWitt pitcher Lucas Bixby joined Finley on the top squad in 3A.

Gottilla, selected at utility, was 9-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings. The University of Central Florida signee also batted better than .360 for the 32-win Knights. Bixby was 8-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 79 strikeouts.

In 4A, Pleasant Valley junior Jack Young was a first-team choice at utility. Young led the state-qualifying Spartans with a .407 average. He also was 7-2 on the mound.

Wilton's Collin McCrabb was first team in 2A at utility. McCrabb, off to play at North Iowa Area Community College, batted a team-high .476 with 15 doubles, 9 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Calamus-Wheatland pitcher Caleb Banowetz and outfielder Hunter Rickels were first-team selections in 1A.

Banowetz, a junior, batted .505 with 32 extra-base hits (13 homers) and 72 RBIs. On the mound, he was 9-1 with a 0.91 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 61-plus innings.

Rickels, who batted second in Cal-Wheat's order and played centerfield, hit .462 with 11 doubles, six triples, 43 RBIs and 34 stolen bases.

Among the second-team selections were Muscatine first baseman Drew Logel, Clinton shortstop Max Holy and Davenport West outfielder Logan Gluba. North Scott pitcher Graysen Drezek was a third-team choice in 4A.

Assumption outfielder Nate Schlichting was selected to the second team in 3A. Wilton pitcher Jared Townsend made the second team in 2A.

Johnston's Peyton Williams (4A), North Linn's Jake Hilmer and Mason City Newman's Josh Fitzgerald (1A) were named the captains of the other classes.

Williams, an Iowa recruit, batted .480 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. Hilmer, off to play basketball and baseball at Upper Iowa, was 15-2 with a 0.74 ERA. Fitzgerald clubbed 15 home runs and stole 35 bases for the state champion Knights.

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.