EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Marinette’s Rylie Nelson (left) and Trey Bretl (right) were both named to the All-North Eastern Conference First Team. Bretl was named as a pitcher and Nelson made it as an infielder.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts

Marinette’s Rylie Nelson (left) and Trey Bretl (right) were both named to the All-North Eastern Conference First Team. Bretl was named as a pitcher and Nelson made it as an infielder.

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MARINETTE — What a world of a difference one year can make from another and that was the case for the Marinette baseball team.

After finishing dead last in the North Eastern Conference in 2018 with just three wins, the Marines bounced back to a respectable 7-11 record in conference play while also advancing to the regional semifinal game in Division 2.

That was success, in large part from the stellar play of seniors Trey Bretl, Rylie Nelson and Tyler Fayta. For their efforts Bretl and Nelson earned first team NEC honors and Fayta also was honored by making the second team.

For Bretl, who finished off his career as a four-year varsity starting pitcher, the growth and development of both his game and maturity was what head coach Andy Walters raved about when reflecting on his season.

“Trey always has had the physical talent, but I was really proud of his growth, not only with his play, but by how much he grew up this year,” Walters said. “He learned how to conduct himself as a leader and he gave us a chance to win every game he pitched in.”

Bretl led the NEC in strikeouts along with K’s per inning and also allowed the fewest hits per inning. He finished conference play with a respectable 1.89 earned run average and also pitched the most innings per appearance, something Walters was really pleased with given the poor spring weather conditions and strict pitch counts to work with.

Heading to UW-Whitewater in the fall with plans of playing baseball, Bretl excelled against the best of a talented NEC Conference by defeating both Denmark and Freedom, who both tied for second in the conference.

“Trey beat some really good pitchers and got better as the season went on,” said Walters. “He’s someone that will be very tough to replace. I’m just very proud of everything he’s accomplished.”

This is the second straight season Nelson earned a spot on the first team. After moving from third base to shortstop late last season, Nelson stayed there all season and was as reliable as a middle infielder can be, according to Walters.

Finishing with a .386 batting average while also having an on base percentage of over .500, Nelson was the most consistent hitter for a Marinette team that averaged just three runs per game.

“Rylie played some of the best shortstop I’ve seen since Derek Klegin several years ago,” said Walters. “He exceeded all expectations at the position while also carrying a high average. He was also our most clutch hitter.”

Another stat Walters highlighted was the fact that Nelson struck out just three times all season, a feat that had him ranked second in the conference.

When it comes to consistency, Fayta was the poster-child for that description and he carried that in every sport he participated in.

Playing a solid outfield while aiding to the pitching staff and hitting in the lead-off position, Fayta was someone Walters could count on for positive results in every game.

“Just a very even-keeled kid that is as steady as it gets,” Walters said. “Tyler didn’t have any slumps and he had hits in 17 of our 20 games, which was huge at the top of the order.”

Fayta finished the season with a .302 BA and was also a threat on the base paths, finishing with seven stole bases. He was also a 4.0 student that earned Academic All-State honors.

“Just the leadership Tyler provided by doing all the little things right, it made everyone else better around him,” said Walters. “He’s a great role model and someone the younger kids looked up to.”

Both Bretl and Nelson also made the All-District team as honorable mention honorees.