Tribune notebook: Three Bird Island Bullfrogs earn all-tournament honors

Sep. 4—DELANO — One of the traditions of the state amateur baseball tournament is learning who wins all the awards, including the all-tournament team.

In Class C, the Bird Island Bullfrogs did exceptionally well, as expected. Catcher Jimmy Woelfel, Atwater pitcher Josh Kingery, and first baseman/pitcher Aidan Elfering were all named to the all-tournament team, which was announced in the post-game awards ceremony at the Delano Municipal Baseball Park.

Maple Lake beat Bird Island 6-4 to win the state Class C championship.

Kingery is the left-hander who Bird Island has relied on heavily the past two years."He's just that kind of special player that we've decided needs to have the ball when he's playing for us," Bird Island manager Mike Nagel said.

Woelfel, a BOLD graduate, is back with the Bullfrogs after wrapping up his Bethel University career and playing Class A ball for the Minneapolis Mudhens the past two seasons.

"He's been great all year," Nagel said. "He was MVP of the Jordan tournament and did an outstanding job for us."

Elfering, also a BOLD graduate, pitches and hits for the University of Dubuque in Iowa.

"Aidan worked his tail off and just played great," Nagel said.

Nagel said that shortstop/pitcher Jordan Sagedahl, another BOLD graduate who plays for South Dakota State, also had an excellent tournament overall.

"They're all MVPs to me," Nagel said.

Also earning all-tournament honors were Maple Lake's Donnie Mavencamp, Ben Clapp, Hunter Malachek and Rockford pitcher Aiden Smith.

Malachek, a center fielder/pitcher and the Lakers' No. 3 hitter, was named the Class C tournament's most valuable player.

Also on the all-tournament team were: Delano pitcher Max Otto, Bluffton pitcher Jake Dykhoff and Sebeka pitcher Kolby Kiser, Jordan pitcher Tommy Thompson, Nisswa's Nate DeChaine, Buckman draftee from Foley Drew Beier and Matt Kummet, New Ulm's Hunter Ranweiler.

Other awards:

* The J.M. Brennan Sportsmanship Trophy went to the Hutchinson Huskies in Class C and the Miesville Mudhens in Class B.

* The Waterville Indians' William J. Grose Field was named the DuraEdge 2023 Class C Minnesota Baseball Association Field of the Year.

* The MaxBat Maple Bats Slugger of Award went to Clapp of Maple Lake.

* The outstanding pitcher for the Class C tournament was given to Thompson of Jordan.

This year's final attendance over the three weekends at Delano, Litchfield, Dassel and Waconia was 28,007. That's the most fans since 1953, when there were 31,031 paying fans in New Ulm. The all-time tournament record is St. Cloud in 1950, which drew 35,318 fans.

Note that this year's tournament had more games than ever before, with the Class A and B tournaments combining and Class A teams, made up entirely of clubs from the Minneapolis and St. Paul area and their inner-ring suburbs, playing in the outstate event.

As a comparison, when Dassel, Litchfield and Hutchinson were host to the 2016 event, there were 15,506 fans.

In 2010, Willmar, Bird Island and Spicer drew 11,247 fans.

The 2024 state tournament will be in Belle Plaine, Jordan and Green Isle. Jordan was last a state tournament host in 2018 with Shakopee and New Prague. Green Isle was a host in 2017 with Hamburg and Norwood. Belle Plaine was last a host in 2014 with Jordan and LeSueur.

Future sites and the years they will host:

* 2025 — Brownton, Gaylord and Hutchinson

* 2026 — New Prague, Shakopee and Jordan

* 2027 — Cold Spring, Watkins and Avon

* 2028 — Red Wing, Cannon Falls and Miesville

There are currently 61 teams in Class A and B and 215 teams in Class C.