Hendricks, Rutledge, Leif, Nissen make All-State baseball team
BEMIDJI - Bemidji's memorable 25-3 campaign, Blackduck's run to the state tournament and the players who made those successes possible caught the attention of the coaches who belong to the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association.
The coaches named their All-State team Wednesday and among the players included on the Class 3A squad were Lumberjacks Collin Leif, Cody Rutledge and Mitchell Hendricks.
And among the players named to the Class A team was Aaron Nissen of Blackduck. Nissen helped the Drakes (23-6) advance to their first-ever state tournament, where they finished fourth.
Bemidji made its state-record 20th trip to the tournament and placed second.
BHS was the only Class 3A team to have three players make the All-State squad.
Evan DeCovich of Eastview, the pitcher who tossed a two-hitter against the Lumberjacks in the state championship game, also was named to the All-State team, as were Cory Quinlan and Luc Henke of Hill-Murray, and Cameron Mingo of Eden Prairie.
Bemidji defeated Hill-Murray in the opening round of the state tournament and downed Eden Prairie in the semifinals.
Among the players joining Nissen on the Class A All-State team was Austin Host of Browerville, Mitch Knippenberg of St. Agnes and Jake Marcus of BOLD. The Drakes faced all three teams in the state tournament.
Nissen started his varsity baseball career as a freshman and, according to coach Dwight Kalvig, the senior more than meets the qualifications of an All-State player.
"Aaron has been a leader in both word and deed," Kalvig said. "Whether it's practice or a game, lecture or a test, Aaron displays the need to be ready to face any challenge."
"Aaron also has been an exceptional teammate and leader over the course of his high school career. He has been a willing mentor to his teammates and classmates alike."
On the field Nissen was Blackduck's pitching ace. He compiled an 8-2 record and a 1.29 ERA in 70.2 innings. Offensively he had 24 hits in 87 at-bats, scored 22 runs and drove in 22 more.