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Darlington dominates SWAL AC selections
Banfield Player of the Year; Solberg Coach of the Year
Darlington Baseball

By Natalie Dillon


DARLINGTON — For the first time since 2017, Darlington won the SWAL in baseball. Player of the Year Gage Banfield and Coach of the Year Brad Solberg highlight the list of all-conference selections.

Banfield, a two-way player, was 17-for-61 at the plate for a .279 batting average. He was second on the team in doubles (4) and hit by pitches (3). He also drove in 11 runs, scored nine of his own and drew 10 walks. He swiped four bases. On the bump, Banfield was Darlington’s most-used pitcher. He threw 66 1/3 of the team’s 140 innings, posting a 10-1 record. Despite the most innings, Banfield gave up the third fewest earned runs for a 0.95 ERA. He struck out 91 and walked 25.

Solberg has compiled a 97-88 record in nine active seasons, leading Darlington to four conference championships in 2024, 2017, 2016 and 2015. Each of those seasons he was named Coach of the Year. He also coached three Players of the Year in Gage Banfield (2024), Jesse Sturtz (2017) and Cole McDonald (2015). 

Four other Redbirds were selected to the first team, including Maddox Goebel, Breylin Goebel, Reagan Jackson and Tye Crist.

Outfielder Maddox Goebel led the team in multiple offensive categories, including at bats (72), hits (28), triples (1) and batting average (.389). He also scored 23 runs while driving in 16. Maddox Goebel drew 11 walks and stole 11 bases. 

Breylin Goebel supplied power and speed, leading the team in home runs (3), RBIs (21), walks (14) and stolen bases (16). He was 23-for-61 for a .377 batting average. He was also the team’s catcher, working together with POY Banfield.

Shortstop Reagan Jackson was one of four players to hit .300 or better, going 18-for-60 at the plate. He led the team in doubles (5), triples (1) and hit by pitches (9). He also provided power with two home runs and 20 RBIs. Jackson was the No. 2 pitcher on the staff according to innings pitched (33 2/3). His record of 1-3 was deceiving, as he struck out 36 and had a 2.91 ERA.

Leadoff batter and outfielder Crist generated runs with his speed, drawing a team-best 14 walks, stealing 16 bases and scoring 26 runs. He was 23-for-71 at the plate for a .324 batting average. 

Collectively, this group went 109-for-325 for a .335 batting average, which is above the entire team average of .264. They hit 17 doubles, two triples and five home runs. The all-conference selections also drove in 77 runs, scored 93, drew 54 walks and stole 52 bases. 

SWAL all-conference

First Team Grade

Bryar Wayne Boscobel 11

Tyson Richard Cuba City 11

Breyden Johl Cuba City 11

Gavin Vaassen Cuba City 11

Breylin Goebel Darlington 12

Gage Banfield Darlington 12

Reagan Jackson Darlington 12

Maddox Goebel Darlington 11

Tye Crist Darlington 12

Ethan Sheckler Fennimore 11

Macoy Miles Fennimore 11

Gavin Hinderman Iowa-Grant 11

Brach Holman Iowa-Grant 12

Brady Radtke Mineral Point 12

Jaxon Wendhausen Mineral Point 11

Grady Finley Mineral Point 10

Logan Kagel Riverdale 12

Chase Chitwood Riverdale 11

Honorable Mention

Landon Hassely Boscobel 11

Talan VanNatta Cuba City 11

Tyson Gehrke Fennimore 12

Tyson Starkey Fennimore 11

Corey Dresen Fennimore 10

Everett Zimmer Iowa-Grant 10

Bryce Vamstad Mineral Point 12

Landon Thousand Mineral Point 12

Adam Cody Mineral Point 10

Carson Kinyon Riverdale 12

Lucas Foley S-western 9

Player of the Year

Gage Banfield Darlington 12

Coach of the Year

Brad Solberg Darlington