Quite a catch: Haase led Lannon
Lannon receiver named Sussex Sun Athlete of the Year
Catching fire once again, Dean Haase proved to be a steady backstop and much more playing baseball for the Lannon Stonemen, the 2009 Land O'Lakes Grand Champions and .500 finishers in the Western Division in 2010.
Haase was voted the division's Most Valuable Player award by the LOL Western Division managers and was honored at the annual banquet in October.
He's also the 15th recipient of the Sussex Sun Athlete of the Year award. Haase, who's played on winning teams his entire life, admitted this season was difficult.
"It was tough," said the veteran catcher who played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. "We had a lot of different lineups this year."
Haase spent two years in the Chicago White Sox organization after college before returning to Wisconsin. He's been a staple in the Land O'Lakes ever since, and when the word "catcher" comes up, the conversation begins with Lannon's sweet-swinging left-handed hitter.
"He's very patient at the plate," Paul Vanden Heuvel, the LOL Western Division Commissioner said. "He'll take two or three walks a game and then hit a home run."
Haase is the first baseball player to earn Athlete of the Year.
"He's been a real calming influence on our younger players," said Lannon manager Bruce Mayer said. "He handles the pitching staff tremendously. Dean is the first one to practice and the first one to the pregame. He makes my job a lot easier with all the experience he has. He really had another excellent season even though we didn't do as well as we would have liked."
Cross-country runners earned the Sun award the past two seasons. Former Hamilton runners Marcus Paulson, now a member of the University of Minnesota men's cross country team, and Kellyn Johnson, who starred at Wichita State, received those nods.
Past winners of the Sussex Sun Athlete of the Year Award, honoring the top athlete with ties to the Sussex coverage area, include:
1996 - Melissa Schweinert, Hamilton-Menomonee Falls swimming
1997 - Sussex Jayhawks, youth football
1998 - Sara Urbanek, women's volleyball (Northern Illinois University)
1999 - Jenny Prochazka, Hamilton girls track and field
2000 - Sara Urbanek, college women's volleyball (University of Wisconsin, national runner-up)
2001 - Leslie Osborne, college women's soccer (Santa Clara, national champion)
2002 - A.J. Morgan, Hamilton wrestling
2003 - Jake Ebenhoch, college football (Northern Illinois University)
2004 - Leslie Osborne, college women's soccer (top female college player by Honda Sports)
2005 - Steve Hicklin, college men's basketball (UW-Stevens Point, national champion)
2006 - Leslie Osborne, U.S. women's soccer
2007 - Leslie Osborne, U.S. women's soccer
2008 - Marcus Paulson, Hamilton boys cross country and track
2009 - Kellyn Johnson, college women's cross country (Wichita State)
2010 - Dean Haase, Lannon Land O'Lakes baseball