Kraushar: Stephen Pennertz experiences state tournament, 12 years later

By Eric Kraushar

ScoreMonster Contributor

erickraushar@gmail.com

Photo by Nick Gerhardt, ScoreMonster

Litchfield was one game from elimination in the 2010 Region 10C playoffs. Stephen Pennertz’s name was called to keep the Blues’ season alive.

What type of team did Pennertz have to face in Sartell?

“The first game they came out and beat us 26-0. It was just brutal, we got destroyed,” Pennertz said.

Litchfield, behind Pennertz, won game two of the series, 3-1. So, when Sartell won the region championship it seemed only fitting, they may tab Pennertz as a draftee for state. They didn’t.

Until 2022, Pennertz now playing for Eden Valley.

“I can’t even remember the circumstances as to why we didn’t draft him, but I felt we owed him one,” Sartell manager Randy Beckstrom following a 4-2 loss to Urbank in the opening round of the 2022 Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 20. 

“I knew he never got an opportunity to come to the state tournament, so I thought it was a great thing to do for him, for Eden Valley, and for baseball,” Beckstrom added.

This was year No. 21 for Pennertz, the 13th with Eden Valley. This year was his first state tournament in any capacity.

“Litchfield didn’t beat Sartell very often, so they haven’t forgotten that. When it came up this year, we, Eden Valley, hosted regionals and they were part of it. They said, we’re going to make it up to you for not drafting you then,” Pennertz said.

“We really haven’t seen each other since the region tournament. We got a chance to talk during regions and said if we get an opportunity and I get it OK’d, would it be OK to draft you? It makes you feel good for him, for amateur baseball, for a good person,” Beckstrom said.

When Pennertz ran onto Bell Field in Faribault, he became the fourth member of his immediate family to play in the state tournament, following in the footsteps of father, Gordon, brother, Matthew, and grandfather, Howard Sr. 

“I was very excited. It was a new experience that I’ve never had. My grandpa was actually the MVP of the first state tournament (in 1939). My dad and my brother both played for either their team or got drafted. It was about time I got a chance to join them,” Pennertz said.

Matthew Pennertz took to social media to personally thank Sartell for the gesture; something that meant so much to so many. “Not necessarily for what he can provide this year, but for what he did to them 12 years ago,” said Matthew about his brother’s selection.

“I was not expecting anything like that. My wife said it was probably the nicest thing he’s ever said about me,” Pennertz joked. “It was very nice of him.”

– Nick Gerhardt contributed to this story.

OPENING WEEKEND NOTES

  • There will be new champions in Class B and C. Chanhassen’s modern-day record of four consecutive state championships came to an end on Saturday, Aug. 20, in a 3-2 loss to Coon Rapids in a late-night affair in Miesville. The Red Birds jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning but managed just one more hit over the final eight innings. Three-time most valuable player John Straka struck out 11 batters in the loss. Sobieski, moved up to Class B, fell in the opening round to Blaine, 5-1.
  • Webster, making its state debut, scored nine runs between the seventh and eighth innings, advancing to the second round with a 10-3 win over the Milroy Irish. Other teams returning to the state tournament after long absences were Willmar (2003) and Urbank (2001). It was also Richmond’s first state win since placing second in 1998, halting a four-game state losing streak.

GAMES OF THE WEEKEND
1. Stark 9, Maple Lake 8: A combined 23 hits, both teams traded ninth-inning rallies, Stark scoring on a bases-loaded chopper in a walk-off win. The Lakers forced the bottom half of the ninth inning with two runs on a Donnie Mavencamp double with two strikes and two outs.


2. Avon 4, Fairmont 3: Knotted at three through three innings, it took until the final frame before Avon got a walk-off win on a Ryan Janzen two-out single to score Joe Dolan. A three-run homer from Caleb Curry erased an early deficit for the Lakers. 

3. Watkins 6, Pierz 5: Back-and-forth all game, Watkins struck last, plating three runs in the eighth inning, rallying past Pierz in Faribault on Saturday. Nolan Geislinger collected the eventual game-winning run with a double.

ALL-WEEKEND TEAM

Bradley Koskie, Loretto, 3-for-6, 2B, 4 RBI, run

Charley Hesse, Miesville, 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, BB, 3 runs

Matt Tautges, Buckman, 9 IP, 3 hits, 0ER, 4 BB, 3K

Ben Clapp, Maple Lake, 4-for-5, two 2Bs, HR, 3RBI, 3 runs

Nate Tillman, Anoka, 5-for-6, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Matt Meyer, Rochester, 9 IP, 5 hits, shutout, 0 BB, 9K

Brady Linn, Cold Spring Rockies, 4-for-5, 2B, 3 runs, 2 RBIs

Justin Clark, Coon Rapids, 5 shutout innings in relief, 1 hit, 8K

Jack Baumgart, Willmar, 5-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 runs, BB

TJ Johnson, Hinckley, 3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs, BB

Lane Glaeser, Hutchinson, 4-for-5, 3 RBI; 6IP, 2ER, 6K (W)

Ryan Sutterer, Blaine, 2-for-2, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 3R

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Total attendance for the first weekend was 5,653.

Faribault: 2,025 (327-878-820)
Dundas: 2,135 (220-887-1,028)

Miesville: 1,493 (384-508-601)

  • Home run tally: 17
  • Scott Finberg (Brownton), Charley Hesse (Miesville), Ben Clapp (Maple Lake), Nate Tillman (Anoka), Jeron Terres (Cold Spring Springers), Jon Traetow (Fairmont), Caleb Curry (Avon), Bo McClintock (Rochester), Tyler Midas (Champlin), Jayse McLean (Moorhead), Jake Wendland (Hutchinson), Sunny Resnick (Ada), TJ Johnson (Hinckley), Kyle Hrncir (Dundas), Roy Larson (Eagan), Ryan Sutterer (2)(Blaine)

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