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September Dugout Chatter

By Don Gawreluk, 09/11/18, 5:45AM CDT


Dugout Chatter – Fall 2018

Don Gawreluk

President, Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association


                Hello Baseball Fans!  Our 2018 season came to a close and much has happened since our last Dugout Chatter!  We have crowned 4 new state champions, held a very successful All Star Series for our top 2018 graduates, named All-State Academic Award winners, hosted our annual Junior Showcase and awarded lots of scholarships – let’s get to the details:


First of all, congratulations to our four 2018 State Champions:

A – Heritage Christian Academy, Head Coach Jon Ledeboer

AA – Maple Lake, Head Coach Brooks Marquardt

AAA – Mahtomedi, Head Coach Rob Garry

AAAA – Stillwater, Head Coach Mike Parker

Our state champions were crowned at Target Field! The MSHSBCA would like to thank the Minnesota Twins and President Dave St. Peter for the use of Target Field, and to Bob Madison (MSHSL) for his team’s assistance in making this day possible. 

Congratulations also go out to the 2018 MSHSBCA players of the year and Mr. Baseball finalists

Mr. Baseball – Heritage Christian Academy’s Seth Halvorsen - Halvorsen, drafted in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball draft, was selected largely for his prowess on the mound. He has opted to play the next three seasons at Missouri, where he hopes to develop as a hitter.

The other finalists for Mr. Baseball were: Jake Dykhoff (Wadena-Deer Creek), Otto Grimm (Bemidji), Nick Juaire (Lakeville North), Aidan Maldonado (Rosemount), Nathaniel Peterson (Lakeville North), Zack Raabe (Forest Lake) and Tommy Springer(Eastview).

Nic Juaire (Lakeville North) in AAAA,

Brock Anderson (Alexandria) in AAA,

Grant Mergen (Maple Lake) in AA,

Seth Halvorsen (Heritage Christian) in A.

As for the 2018 Play Ball! MN All Star Series, the messages came from players, parents, baseball supporters from all across the state of Minnesota. The message the same, "thank you!" Eric Kraushar from the Chaska Herald reported the following from the All Star Series:

The Play Ball! MN All-Star Baseball Series at Athletic Park in Chaska June 22-23, bringing together top senior ballplayers on six all-star teams, was as former Chaska High School coach Dale Welter always says, "the best tournament ever!"

"What a wonderful way to watch and experience the end of our son’s high school career! Thanks Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association, the City of Chaska, the countless volunteers and many sponsors that made the Minnesota All-Star series so memorable!" said Sandy Brinkman, mother of a South all-star player.

"Great way to end my high school career with a great group of guys! Great time playing against the best in the state! Thank you Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association for a very memorable weekend," said Jake Kapphahn, North All-Star, on Twitter.

The Metro West was the champion, a 3-0 record, including a walk-off win over Metro East 4-3 in the finals.

The Standings were as follows:

Bartley Bracket – The Metro East was 2-1, the South finished in 3rd with a 2-1 record, while the Metro South won their first ever Series game as they ended with a 1-2 record.

The Laufenburger Bracket featured the 3-0 Metro West with Dale Welter Most Valuable Player, Zack Elliott, of Eden Prairie and Todd Oakes Most Valuable Pitcher, Grant Mergen of Maple Lake.  The Metro North finished with a 1-2 record while the all stars from the north were 0-3, but played very close games!

Our incredible group of coaches in the 2018 Series were: Kale Henry (Forest Lake), Ben Johnson (Woodbury), Douge Schildgen (De La Salle), Jay Brown (Chisago Lakes), Allen Iverson (Prior Lake), Brent Goracke (Jordan), Scott Glenn (Minnehaha Academy), John Buteyn (Eden Prairie), Mark Grundhofer (Waconia), Derek Denny (Parkers Prairie), Mike Gullingsrud (Thief River Falls), Derrick Jenniges (Westbrook-Walnut Grove) and Scott Chirpich (Granada-Huntley-East Chain.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, the Chaska Cubs, our excellent players, fans and the city of Chaska for making the 2018 Play Ball! MN All Star Series so fantastic! For more information on All Star Series game details, please visit our website and click on the MN All-Star Series tab or follow on Twitter @mshsbca.   

The annual MSHSBCA Junior Showcase was a great success as well this year.  There were 145 players from border to border represented.  Over 90 coaches and scouts were there to evaluate our state talent. Thank you to Minnetonka HS and coach Paul Twenge for the use of their great facility and to Tink Larson, Dale Welter, Bruce Woitas, John Wilkens and all the coaches who helped out to make this event run so smoothly (except for the 60 yard dash =) 


The annual John Wilkens Fall Clinic is right around the corner.  The clinic will be held at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis (same place as last year) October 26th to 28th.  Please share the information with your staff and bring them along to the clinic.  The annual coaches social will take place after the Friday night sessions at 8:30 p.m.. 

We will hold our annual coaches meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 27th. 


On Saturday night, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. at the Delta Marriott (formerly the Ramada Plaza, the same place that we have always been.) we will welcome a new class to the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and also honor our association award winners.  Check the website,, for more details and Thank You to John Wilkens and his family for all of your work with our annual clinic. 


The national conventions this year will be held in St. Louis, MO and Dallas, TX.  The BCA will be held in St. Louis from November 29th to December 2nd. The ABCA will be held in Dallas from January 3rd to 6th, 2019. Please consider attending these annual conventions. These are also great opportunities to network with other coaches and learn from some of the best in our game.   


Final Notes:


*Congratulations to Minnetonka’s Paul Twenge on being named the 2018 ABCA Regional Coach of the Year.  Paul will be honored at the ABCA Convention in January.

*Craig Anderson is entering the MSHSCA Hall of Fame!  Way to go, Craig!

*In preparation for the 2019 season, remember to join the MSHSCA and MSHSBCA.  Membership in these organizations provides the liability insurance we all need plus provides eligibility for your players to receive post-season awards.    

*MSHSBCA membership was at its highest level ever in 2018 – way to go!

*Follow us on Twitter @mshsbca, and continue to check for updated information and the Fall 2018 newsletter (click on news tab) on our website;


As my term winds down this October, I want to thank everyone for their support, dedication and friendship.  It’s been an honor to serve this incredible organization. I would recommend that if you have the interest (even though none of us really has the time we’d like) to put your name in the ring for our upcoming election.     


See you at the Fall Clinic!