What Ever Happened to Pretty Boy Jimmy Heck?

Fear not!  The storied career of the prettiest man this writer has ever laid eyes on is not over!  Jimmy is tearing up the American Association.

Jimmy started the year with the Joliet Jackhammers of the Frontier League.  These nincompoops released him before they even really got started.  But this was a blessing in disguise as he was picked up by the Salina Stockade of the American Association.  Which anyone who follows independent ball will tell you is a much stronger league.

Now, Jimmy is starting every game and is hitting a very respectable .298.  Keep up the good work Jimmy!  And now here is a picture for the ladies!

A Battle of Two Dinosaurs

The lucky few who attended the town ball game between the Saint Louis Park Pirates and the Northwest Orioles last week were rewarded with a scene seldom viewed outside of old black and white movies.  Two genuine dinosaurs did battle…

I play for the Pirates and when I started this blog I decided I would avoid talking about myself, but I think I have finally found the perfect moment to mention my on field exploits.  You see, I was one of the dinosaurs.

In a strange twist of fate I found myself pitching.  I am not really a pitcher but hey this is town ball, everybody pitches eventually.  The Orioles veteran manager was quick to pounce.  He saw this as the opportunity he had been waiting for; time for an AB.  That very shrewd manager is none other than town ball legend Joe Lavin and while I don’t know Joe’s exact age, I do know he was already a veteran when I entered the Riverview in 1991.  So early cretaceous most likely.  I always wanted to find a way to say that.

Back to the action.  The two wily vets squared off, like T-Rex versus Triceratops.  But I just couldn’t find the zone and quickly went down 3-0.  Finally I reached back and threw another ball that Joe swung at anyway and fouled off so that he wouldn’t walk.  I am telling you this guy is a genius.  So out of respect I said “Here comes a fastball you fossil!” then threw a speeding ball at least 71 MPH right down the middle.  Joe would not be denied!  He smoked a single right through the glove of the third basemen who may or may not have been watching the monumental clash of titans occurring right before him.  Base hit Lavin!  The entire episode can be summed up by this picture.

Hey There is a Minnesota Kid on Davidson

In case you don’t follow college baseball here is a pretty cool story.  The  Davidson Wildcats just pulled off a major upset.  In their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament (and they have been playing baseball for 115 years) these young college go getters just became the second 4th seed to ever sweep a regional tournament and only the sixth to ever move on.  This was no easy task as they had to beat North Carolina, the No. 2 overall DI team, twice to move on.  They completed the sweep last night with a 2-1 win over the Tar Heels.

Former Minnehaha Academy super stud Alex Fedje-Johnson had a front row seat.  He is a freshman with the Wildcats.  Congrats to Fedje and all the best of luck to him and the Wildcats in the Super Regional.

I Guess Dickmeyer Didn’t Read My Last Post

I was really afraid that  I might jinx Jake Dickmeyer when I mentioned in my last post that it would be cool if he finished the season with zero walks.  It turns out I didn’t!  Jake led the entire nation (DIII) with 0.00 walks per 9 innings.  Jake threw 64 innings this season.  I have been playing, coaching and scouting baseball for a long time and I have never seen anything like this.  Admittedly I wasn’t always paying close attention to how often pitchers walked hitters but zero walks in 64 IP is truly amazing.

The rest of Jake’s stats were pretty darn good too.  He was 6-2 overall and posted a 2.25 ERA.  At 4-1 in conference play with a 0.81 WHIP he was named to the all MIAC team.  Congratulations Mr. Dickmeyer!

Dickmeyer Refuses to Walk Hitters

A couple years ago I wrote an article about a guy named Jake Dickmeyer.  In it I talked about his drive to be a college baseball player despite being one of the smaller guys on the field.  Fast forward a couple years and he is playing his second year at St. Johns University, and it turns out he is pretty much the ace of the staff.

Knowing Jake, that really doesn’t surprise me.  Nor does his 6-1 record (8-1 for his career) or his 2.37 ERA.  What blows me away is that Jake has not issued a walk in 57 IP spanning 11 appearances.  That is ZERO walks.  I don’t have any idea what the school record is for most innings without a walk but that has to be close.

I know it is unreasonable to expect that Jake will not issue a walk for the entire year.  But that would be sweet, and I am definitely rooting for him to do it.  Good luck Jake!

Former EP Pitcher Adam Bray Moves up to AAA

The plethora of talented players from Eden Prairie over the last decade is really stacking up.  So far only Neil Wagner has managed to make it all the way to the show spending parts of 3 seasons with Oakland and Toronto.

Adam Bray took a step closer yesterday when he was called up to the AAA affiliate of the LA Dodgers in Oklahoma City.  In his first game he showed no signs of jitters pitching 3.1 scoreless innings while allowing only 1 hit and earning the save.

Congratulations to Adam!  You are a true master of the FIP statistic!

 

Sam Hunt Mashes Baseballs

Sam Hunt is in 8th grade.  While this fact is by itself unremarkable, as there are many other 8th graders playing baseball, I want you to keep that piece of information in the back of your mind as you read on.

Last week Sam became the starting catcher for the Saint Louis Park Orioles varsity baseball team.  This fact is a bit more remarkable.  I played high school baseball at Saint Louis Park and at that time it had been in the neighborhood of 20 years since even a freshman had played varsity.  This was in the late 80’s.  I freely admit that I do not have all of the rosters at my disposal but I am pretty sure there has not been an 8th grader playing varsity since I left.  That means it has been at least 40-50 years since an 8th grader has started a varsity baseball game for SLP.  Sam has now started 3.

How is he doing?  I asked head coach Brian Kelly.

“Super comfortable, hitting a lot of hard ground balls.  Elevated one yesterday and it would have one hopped the fence if it wasn’t caught.”

As a catcher, “Sam has looked really good behind the plate.”

Turns out this is just the tip of the iceberg for Sam.  This winter Sam competed in the 13U International Power Showcase.  This event is held in Miami Marlins Park and hosts some of the best young talent in the world.  The home run derby portion of the event consists of two rounds: the preliminary round and the championship round.  The top two home run totals plus the person with the longest home run in the prelims move on to the finals.  Sam ended up with both the highest total (17) and the longest home run (406 ft.) and easily secured a spot in the championship round.  There he showed well hitting 8 more home runs and another 406 foot blast but fell to the reigning champion Gio Cueto.  The home run line for the 13 year old division is set around 300 feet which is a pretty healthy poke for that age, but Sam managed to hit 9 of his home runs over the actual big league fence.  Sam is in 8th grade.

I asked Sam what was the coolest thing about the experience.

“It was all so cool, but I guess walking up to a major league plate.  Then having a ball come in and then seeing it go out over a big league fence.  That was cool.”

The next day is reserved for games.  Sam was asked to play in the 15U division instead of his own age group.

“I hit a ball really deep to center but the other team had the fastest ranked kid  in the country for the 2020 class  playing centerfield and he tracked it down.  It was really fun playing against that level of competition.”

The player who hits the longest home run is awarded a replica of Babe Ruth’s bat.

“That was really cool too.  This thing is huge, it weighs like 50 ounces.  Babe Ruth’s granddaughter actually presented it to me.”

Sam also recently tried out for the Baseball USA 15U regional team.  As you might expect by now, he made it.  The regional teams play in a week long tournament in Raleigh North Carolina in August.  Sam will be joining the Midwest team as a catcher.  During the tournament the coaches evaluate the players and pick the roster for Team USA.  Sam is in 8th grade, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes it.  Good luck Sam!

Sequence 03

Roskam Vs. Kozicky!

I looked back at my last two posts about Chaska grad Luke Roskam and Southwest grad Jordan Kozicky and realized they were playing each other this weekend!  Naturally I hustled out to the game to check out the battle for Stimpy’s blog supremacy!  Here is what went down…

I walked.  Like forever.  Seibert field is super cool but the parking makes zero sense.  That is because there is none.  You park on the long dirt road down the third baseline that is littered with signs that say “No Parking” but everyone seems to park there anyway.  Then, since you end up a mile away, you walk.  So I was late, and…

I missed both of them get a hit.  Kozicky singled to left in his first AB, but Roskam hit a bomb, his second of the year.  Neither managed another knock but Luke flew out to the track to left and managed a walk while Kozicky struck out and did something else unremarkable.

So I am giving this round to Roskam with the home run.  Well played luke.  Oh, the Gophers won 5-3.

Gopher Jordan Kozicky Named BIG 10 Freshman of the Week

Jordan Kozicky is making Southwest High School so proud.  First, he became the first Minneapolis player to be signed by the gophers in like 30 years and now as a redshirt freshman he is tearing it up.

He was named the Big 10 Freshman of the week after going 9-16 (.563) with a home run.  He had a 5-5 game against Indiana and ended up with 7 consecutive hits.

Jordan is hitting .365 this year in 22 games with a .540 slugging percentage.  Not bad.

Two summers ago Jordan played town ball with the Minneapolis River Rats of the Park National League.  Last year he was an all-star in the Northwoods collegiate league.

Chaska Grad Roskam Homers for Nebraska

The Nebraska baseball program is kind of a big deal.  They are coached by former major league all-star centerfielder Darrin Erstad who I am sure has many leather bound books and a study that smells of rich mahogany.

Luckily for Minnesota, Nebraska is a sparsely populated state and they sometimes have to look abroad for ballplayers.  There are currently five Minnesotans on the Nebraska roster.  Over the weekend one of these baseball fellas, true freshmen Luke Roskam, belted his first jack of the year against Kansas State.  Luke is currently hitting .310 for the Cornhuskers.  He is joined on the team by two other freshman, Jeff Athey (Eden Prairie) and Angelo Altavilla (Lakeville) who is starting and leading the team with a .345 average.

Sophomore Robbie Palkert (Hopkins) has 10 appearances and a 1.76 ERA and junior outfielder Zac Repinski (Prior Lake) is 2-5 on the season.