BHS baseball team honored on awards night
The Bemidji Lumberjacks baseball team was honored Thursday afternoon at Diamond Point at its annual Awards Day ceremony.
The event drew a large turnout of players, parents and fans honoring the varsity which ended 11-11 with one of its youngest teams in many seasons.
Three sophomores and three freshmen were among the 20 lettermen named.
Coach Mike Fogelson served as emcee for the event.
Freshman Coach Zach Mc Dermott introduced his ninth grade team which posted a school record 29-2 season. The only setbacks were 3-1 to Brainerd and 1-0 to Fergus Falls.
The team posted a .376 batting average and 1.45 earned run mark with six players hitting more than .500. It had 172 more hits and 155 more runs than its foes. It reached double figures 16 times with two games topping 20 runs.
Steve Thompson introduced the B Team which finished 11-7, winning five of its final seven starts including 17-3 and 15-0 routs at Moorhead in its closing double header.
He rated the group as a "very talented team" that was a fun group to work with.He also cited the addition of two assistants this year for the first time as a major aid in the team's progress.
But he stressed the challenge facing his players in earning varsity spots next year, urging them to play summer ball and engage in weight training to further their development.
Fogelson said the young varsity unit made steady progress and was very strong in two of the three phases of play, pitching and fielding.
Despite employing 11 hurlers, the mound staff ended with a 3.11 earned run average fanning 129 and walking only 66 in 149 innings of work.
It was best at the sub-section meet where Bemidji lost 2-1 and 1-0 to end its season.
Despite an improvement over 2008, the team still batted only ,243 which is the phase of play it will concentrate on this summer in Legion and VFW play.
The mound development was a strong point, Fogelson said, since the team started play with only one veteran moundsman, Simon Anderson. He paced the staff with a 1.14 earned run average and 4-2 record.
A highlight of the year was the season-ending sweep at Moorhead which elevated Bemidji to the No. 2 seed for the sub-section meet.
"What I liked most is that the team was competitive in almost every start this year, win or lose."
Anderson won the Cy Young Award as the team's top hurler.
Second baseman Jeremiah Graves was the Gold Glove winner for his defensive play while Sol Schneider took the batting championship with a .344 average.
The Golden Spike Award as the team's top base runner went to Alex Hengel with freshman Cody Rutledge named Newcomer of the Year.
The Most Improved Player Award went to Graves and Most Valuable Player Award to Anderson.
Captains Anderson, Nick Lee and Billy Statton were cited for their leadership through the year.
Top two awards
The team's top two awards found Derek Lofgren earning the Des Sagedahl Award for his dedication, spirit and leadership while the Horace May Award went to Anderson as its MVP.
Fogelson introduced his players, paying particular attention to the nine seniors for their contributions through their careers.
All received Bemidji Baseball lifetime patches.
He extended his thanks to the many groups aiding the sport at BHS including the BBA, BYL, BSU and Booster Club and paid particular thanks to the parents for their continued support.
"Next year we are going to become even more competitive with a strong group of younger players ready to move up to varsity roles."
But, he cautioned, the jump from B and C Team ball to the varsity level is the largest made during the player's career. Summer baseball, he stressed, is a must, and was pleased that all of the returning players are already enrolled with the Legion, VFW and BYL programs.
He also stressed multi sport participation for players to benefit from the different disciplines of fall and winter competition.
And, he pointed out, work in the weight room is a must if the players hope to improve.
He also stressed academic achievement with college baseball scholarships limited and usually going to players with higher academic achievement.
Matt Hietala and Graves were named 2010 captains with another to be named prior to the start of play.
He also requested parents to avoid taking vacations during the short high school season when players need every day available to develop.
Earning their baseball letters were:
SENIORS: Simon Anderson, Derek Lofgren, Sol Schneider, Nick Lee, Trevor Andrews, Billy Statton, Alex Hengel, Auston Zetah and Tony Baumgartner
JUNIORS: Matt Hietala, Luke Burns, Paul Voss, Chad Head and Josh Kane
SOPHOMORES: Jeremiah Graves, Tyler Follis and Booster Russ
FRESHMEN: Tyler Tatro, Colin Leif and Cody Rutledge