Senior leadership helped bring the Muskego baseball team another successful season in 2016, and at the forefront were pitcher Jacob Breider and outfielder Michael Frasher.
Breider went 8-0 on the mound and Frasher drove in a team-high 29 runs and batted .372 to help the Warriors capture another Classic 8 Conference championship and advance to a WIAA sectional title game before falling to Oak Creek.
"Jacob was one of the guys who drew the tougher assignments (opponents), and he wanted the ball in the big games," coach Jacob Paige said. "He accepted his role as a leader on the team, and the rest of the pitching staff followed him.
"Michael led us in RBIs and was a staple in the middle of our lineup. He was another of the leaders who the younger players followed. He was probably our hardest worker, staying after practice to work on his swing."
For their play on the field and their inspiration and leadership on and off the field, Breider and Frasher are members of the 2016 Now Newspapers All-Suburban baseball team.
They received other recognition as well. Frasher was named to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches' Association's all-state second team, and Breider was given honorable mention, along with Muskego teammates Brett Finke (infield) and Caleb Wagner (outfield).
All four were also named first-team all-Classic 8 Conference, along with outfielder Alex Kalisnig and catcher Ryan Zizzo.
Frasher said being named second-team all-state was a special honor.
"That means a lot," he said. "That shows that all the hard work paid off. It is humbling for sure to realize that other people took notice of what I did.
"I put in a lot of work in the off-season. (The 2015 season) was OK, but I was inconsistent. As a senior, I wanted to have a consistent year, and I think I did well."
Breider also said consistency was a big goal of his as well.
"All year long, I was able to consistently throw strikes," he said. "My teammates backed me up on defense, too."
Breider said it helped him to have Jake Homan and Rob Zolecki as reliable pitchers as well, taking some of the pressure off him. Together, the trio formed a strong rotation.
"They were both great all year, and I didn't feel like I had to be the ace every time I pitched," he said.
Due partially to injury problems, the Muskego pitching staff struggled to find its way early in the season but put things together to the tune of 14 straight Classic 8 Conference victories.
"We had some injury issues; I was not 100 percent myself," Breider said. "It took time for everyone to click and to reach mid-season form, but once we did, we strived to become a great team, and I think we did that."
Loss spurred team
Frasher said Muskego's loss in WIAA regional play last season spurred the Warriors this time around.
"Everybody was upset that we lost early in the playoffs, and we wanted to change the way the season ended," he said. "We got the younger guys to buy into the work we needed to do, and to win back-to-back conference championships was great."
Both Breider and Frasher plan to attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this fall, but Breider is the only one who plans to play baseball there. Frasher will major in business and Breider in business management.