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Carlton sluggers named Academic All-State

Accolades for local athletes continued to roll in this past week as a pair of Carlton baseball players were named Class A Academic All-State.

Jackson Mickle and Leif Herman earned the honor as a result of their stellar playing careers and high academic achievements. Mickle was also named All-State for his play during the year, and Mickle and Herman were All-Polar League. Chase Parker and Mickle were also named All-Section for the Section 7A tournament team.

"It's so great to have kids on the team that you never have to wonder about their grades," Carlton coach Ryan Schmidt said. "Jack and Leif are two of those guys. Both are in National Honor Society and they are shining examples of what student athletes should be."

Mickle and Herman have been staples in the Bulldog lineup for years. Mickle started his first varsity game as a seventh-grader in the section championship game against Floodwood, while Herman has played regularly since his freshman year and has been a starter since 10th grade.

"Jack has been the backbone of our team for much of the time and he is a quiet leader whose class shines through whether we are winning or losing a game," Schmidt said. "If Jackson is the quiet leader, Leif is our fiery one. He really grew into that role in his senior year and became the guy that would pull the team together if we were struggling and whip them into shape a bit."

Both players had fantastic seasons on the field as well as in the classroom. Herman, who played third base and did some pitching for the Bulldogs, finished with a gaudy .343 batting average while driving in 12 runs. Mickle, a shortstop and pitcher for Carlton, batted an amazing .562 with 21 RBIs along with four home runs.

"Leif was an invaluable player for us," Schmidt said. "He really grew into a leader down the stretch and during our fantastic run in the playoffs this season. He deserves a lot of credit for keeping the team together at times when things could have gone sideways. He will be missed by his teammates and our coaching staff."

Herman and Mickle helped take a Bulldog team that finished the regular season right near the .500 area all the way to the Section 7A championship game, where South Ridge pulled out two straight wins to capture the title.

"I don't think there is a better player in Section 7A this year than Jackson," Schmidt said. "No one meant more to his team — I can tell you that. It says a lot about a kid when other coaches are happy they won't have to play against him anymore, but that they still will miss him next year."