PESHTIGO — Back-to-back Packerland Conference co-champions in baseball, a regional title and the first sectional berth since 2011 showed just how successful the Peshtigo Bulldogs baseball team was this season.

Far from a fluke, that success was led by many stellar performances on the field and the Bulldogs were well represented by earning two first-team and three second-team all-conference player selections.

Leading the way on the first team was senior Brandon Eick and junior Nick Nielson, who both played their best when the Bulldogs needed them most.

This was the second-straight first-team selection for Eick, who at first base was a vacuum while helping anchor the middle of Peshtigo’s batting order.

Peshtigo coach Neal Henrigillis couldn’t say enough about how much respect he had for Eick and what he provided the Bulldogs as a two-year starter on varsity.

“Brandon fits the mold of what we’re looking for as a Peshtigo Bulldog,” Henrigillis said. “He always hustles. Backs up every play and just takes on the Bulldog mentality to the fullest.”

Henrigillis stated one of the highlights of Eick’s season was when he hit a three-run home run against Sturgeon Bay and its top pitcher Jake Schneider, who shared the Packerland title with the Bulldogs.

Nielson, who was a second-teamer a season ago, took on the role as staff ace on the mound while toting the best batting average on the team in the No. 2 hole.

Finishing with a .467 batting average, Nielson had an earned run average of 1.30 and consistently took down the top opponents in a talented Packerland Conference.

“Nick took on the top-level teams in our conference and was at his best,” said Henrigillis. “He got on base a ton and was a heckuva center fielder. He could have easily made first team in multiple positions. Just a complete player.”

Earning spots on the second team were a trio of seniors in Darren Dionne, Travis Plym and Nolan Lemke.

After making the first team last year, Dionne’s role shifted to being more of a closer, something he became very dominant at, which was evident in his shut-down performance against Bonduel to help guide the Bulldogs to a regional title.

Henrigillis would have loved to see both of his top pitchers on the first team, but with such a talented conference, it was difficult to pull that off.

“Nick and Darren were 1A and 1B and we felt very good when both of them had the ball,” Henrigillis said. “Darren is one of the top pitchers in this area and he continued to get better throughout the year.”

Both Plym and Lemke played instrumental roles in Peshtigo’s success as well.

A three-year starter, Plym grew from a solid defensive shortstop as a sophomore to someone Henrigillis could count on offensively as a senior while Lemke played six different positions for the Bulldogs, while starting primarily in left for the first time in his career.

“Travis went from a defensive shortstop that was DH’d for as a sophomore; our No. 8 hitter as a junior; to our lead-off hitter this year and someone that consistently got on base and made other teams work to get him out,” said Henrigillis. “For Nolan, he was a Swiss army knife that did anything asked of him. Coaches around the league really took note of that and appreciated his approach to the game.”

Henrigillis also noted that the senior class, which had several three-year starters, went from the first playoff victory for the school since 2012 as sophomores, to a second playoff win last year and ultimately a regional title as seniors.

“Our seniors set the standard of where we want to be as a program,” said Henrigillis. “To win five playoff games in three years is an impressive feat and I’m very proud of them.”

Oconto’s Bennett Frazer and Zach Sherman also earned first-team honors. Frazer made it as an infielder for his consistent play at short and Sherman was a utility player.

Both Nielson and Eick were also honorable mention All-District selections.