Numerous Gusties Vying for State Amateur Baseball Titles

Posted on August 17th, 2020 by

Patrick Timmer, Christian Johnson, and Ethan Mocchi after a recent Mankato Moondogs game.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be good again.”

James Earl Jones’ quote in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams proves to be just as true today as it was when he uttered the words more than 30 years ago. Even during a global pandemic, baseball continues to thrive and provides a sense of normalcy. Although the summer baseball seasons didn’t get off to a regular start, we’re now seeing ball games at every level, from the MLB down to youth.

Here in Minnesota, amateur baseball – better known as “town ball” – is quenching the thirst of many for live action sports. The Minnesota Baseball Association recently released state tournament brackets for its three classes and 15 current Gustavus baseball players have the opportunity to play for a state championship.

In Class C, the most popular class throughout the state, nine Gusties will compete for the state title, hosted by Springfield and Milroy over the next three weekends. Class C teams who qualify for the state tourney are allowed to draft three pitchers from non-qualifying teams in their respective regions. Although the Cologne Hollanders did not make a repeat appearance at state, four Gusties on the Hollanders’ roster were drafted in Region 7 – Carter Clemensen (Sr., Cologne) and Jayce Luna (So., Le Sueur) to Waconia, Christian Johnson (Sr., Buffalo) to Young America, and Torben Urdahl (Sr., Chanhassen) to Carver.

Other Gusties competing in the Class C state tourney include Michael Anderson (Sr., Lake Crystal) with St. Clair, Bryce Novak (So., Cleveland) with New Prague, Jacob Christenson (Sr., Cannon Falls) with Cannon Falls, Nick Fischer (Sr., Courtland) with New Ulm, and Damon Rademacher (Sr., Princeton) with Mora.

Class B has most of its teams concentrated in the suburban metro and three Gusties will compete for a championship over the next three weekends at the host site Shakopee. Ethan Mocchi (Sr., Champlin) and Charlie Hutchinson (Sr., Maple Grove) with Champlin Park, and Jack Garrison (Jr., Chanhassen) with Victoria.

The Class A tournament, which features teams within the 494/696 metro loop, is in full swing at the host site St. Anthony Village. Kathan Decker (So., Apple Valley) plays for the St. Paul Capitals, Jack Hanson (Jr., Minnetonka) is with Minnetonka, and Andrew Gustafson (So., Maplewood) is with Stockmen’s Irish. Across the border, Weston Lombard (Sr., Stillwater) helped the River Falls Fighting Fish to a Wisconsin Baseball Association state championship.

“When the guys leave for the summer we’d love to have them play in the Northwoods League, but when you look at some of these town ball rosters, there are a lot of great players which provides great competition,” Head Coach Brad Baker said. “This is a great experience for our players and allows them to continue to play when they are not on campus.”

To add to the players competing for a state amateur championship, there are also a handful of Gusties playing in the Northwoods League, which is a summer development league for elite college baseball players. Christian Johnson, Ethan Mocchi, and Patrick Timmer (So., Lakeville) are playing locally for the Mankato Moondogs, while Damon Rademacher and Michael Anderson are with the Rochester Honkers.

Two-sport athletes are also making an appearance at the state amateur tournament. Gustie football player Kevin Durham (So., Gaylord) is with Gaylord, while Gustie men’s hockey player Logan Norman (Sr., Luverne) is with Luverne. Another notable is athletic trainer Mitch Bockenstedt pitching for New Ulm. The list could be further extended with numerous former Gustavus student-athletes still playing town ball.


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