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December 2019 Dugout Chatter

By MSHSBCA, 12/30/19, 7:30PM CST



By: Rick Zollner – Pipestone Area


The MSHSBCA Fall Clinic was presented by a collaboration of MN coaches fulfilling the duties once done by John Wilkens. Special thanks goes out to the following coaches: Craig Anderson, Alan Amdahl, Mark Downey, Don Gawreluk, Ryan Holmgren, Tink Larson, Dean Schwirtz, Todd Smrekar, Paul Twenge, and Dale Welter. These gentlemen all had specific duties in making this event a success! ** 2020 Fall Clinic will be November 13th and 14th the site is yet to be determined. 

The MSHSBCA wants to recognize the 2019 HOF inductees: Dale Bruns, Jon Fellows, Hans Hanson, Jack Kelly, Bill Lechner, Bucky Lindow, Jim O’Neill, and Jeff Wollin. Thank you gentlemen for your time and service to the game of baseball! If you know a coach deserving recognition check out all our awards and make a nomination. You can find all this past year’s award winners and nomination forms at our website

The 2020 baseball season is less than 100 days from opening, but the convention and clinic season is hitting on all gears. The BCA clinic in Columbus, OH runs from December 5-8, 2019. The 76th ABCA clinic in Nashville, TN runs from January 2-5, 2020. If you are looking for something closer the St. Olaf clinic will be on January 25, 2020.

The NFHS, our national organization, also approved changes that will take effect January 1, 2020. Rule 3-1-4 will allow the starting designated hitter to also be a starting defensive player. Utilizing this option, the player has two positions: defensive player and designated hitter. The team would begin the game with nine starters - nine defensive players – one of whom also assumes the role of the designated hitter. This rule change is similar to the pitcher/dh rule we utilized a few years ago. 

Another rule change will be all baseballs and chest and body protectors shall meet the NOCSAE standard at the time of manufacture. These rules apply to all levels that include 10-12 graders. Make sure when ordering that your athletic director is aware of this. 

For more information on these rule changes please visit website. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Baseball.”  

The MSHSL Coaches Clipboard opens March 9th and closes March 25th. Have all your coaches complete this. All pertinent rule changes will be presented. Also, please update your roster and schedule before your first game. The arm care/conditioning week is March 9-13th. Regular baseball practice starts March 16th and first games can take place on March 26th. 

The Play Ball! MN All-Star Series is a six team tournament that will be played on June 26th and 27th at the beautiful Chaska ballfield. When nominating deserving players please check to make sure of their commitment to these dates! IF the player cannot commit then there is no need to nominate that player.  We thank the Twins for their continued support of high school baseball. Thanks also to our other GOLD sponsors – Cambria and BIG Athletics. Due to their generosity, our association has been able to make some major donations to many worthwhile organizations such as: The Miracle League, ALS, Stand-Up to Cancer, Coaches for Coaches, MDA, Hope House Emergency Shelter, The Salvation Army, and scholarships to graduating high school baseball players. Thank you Don Gawreluk (series director) for all the time and effort you put towards making the series a wonderful experience for players and families! You can check all time lines for the Series and scholarship information at

All levels of coaches are welcome to join the MSHSBCA! This can be done by joining our parent organization at Benefits include liability coverage and post season player awards. Also, the Twins will be offering free tickets to select games in 2020 but you must belong to our association to receive this benefit. 

To help promote our sport and players nominate them to the Breakdown Sports magazine. If you do not receive an email please contact them.

Continue to visit our website as it is updated frequently, and follow us on Twitter @MSHSBCA. A huge shout out to Todd Smrekar for running such a tremendous website. If you have games or scrimmages you are looking for or you have a player that may have set a state record please contact Tink Larson at

If you are a new coach, do not hesitate to reach out to local coaches or your section representative (found at for help and guidance. Also, if you have questions, ideas, or concerns please contact me at:

“There are only two seasons – Winter and Baseball.” Bill Veeck