by Dave Pedersen
Sun PRESS Newspapers
The dust has not yet started to collect on Delano’s state baseball tournament trophy when players were back in action gearing for a busy summer.
Since most sports compete over the summer, the three-sport athlete has some work to do. Take Toby Hanson for example, who recently finished his junior year at Delano.
Last Wednesday he started the day by going through basketball drills conducted by varsity coach Terry Techam. In the afternoon he was quarterback in a 7 on 7 football passing league at Crown College near Waconia. In the evening he played for the Delano men’s amateur baseball team in Buffalo.
In between, he plays for the Delano Legion baseball team and tries to squeeze in some weight lifting and some rest. Maybe the wide variety of activities has helped Hanson become a better all-around athlete.
Hanson is well on his way to leaving a great legacy as one of the top Delano athletes in school history. This was his third state baseball tournament as the starting catcher. He made the All-State tournament team as a ninth-grader. This season he batted .547 with 34 runs batted in, 11 doubles and seven homers. The Tigers finished fourth at state.
A two-year starter in basketball, Hanson led the team in scoring both seasons and played in the school’s first state basketball tournament in 20 years last March. Playing quarterback for the first time, Hanson helped the Tigers advance to the section title game before losing, just missing a triple crown for playing in three state tournaments.
Delano baseball players had no rest before changing uniforms and represent the summer Legion team. Delano is 3-0 after defeating DC 8-3, Rogers 4-0 and Mound 3-0. The wins did not come easy.
“A lot of us are mentally and physically not ready quite yet when coming off a disappointing end to the baseball season,” said Hanson. “We will have a really good Legion team.”
Zach Muchenhirn leads the pitchers on the Legion team. He recently played in the state All-Star game. John Celander will do much of the catching so Hanson can rest his knees. Hanson will play at first and third base.
Also at first base are Christian Triplett and Hunter Hart. At second base are Sam Stevens, Sam Fink and Taylor Larson. Adam Schleper and Justin Oja work at shortstop and Hart shares third base with Hanson.
Outfielders are Landon Hayes, Brett Norling, Noah Stone, Jon Dahl and Muchenhirn. Other pitchers are Kurtis Burley, Tyler Hannan, Larson, Schleper and Hart.
During the high school season that got a cold start, Hanson had a hot start, slamming seven homers in seven games. He did not hit another homer the second half of the season.
“To be honest I was still hitting the ball well, but was just not getting them out,” said Hanson about how a couple long drives bounced off the fence.
What bothered Hanson the most about the season was losing for the third straight year in the first round at state. He thought the Tigers had the team that could have won it all.
Hanson will primarily be a designated hitter for the town team. He said it is a different feel to use a wood bat and may take a little time to get used to it. He also noticed how the veteran pitchers are smarter about mixing in off-speed pitches and can hit their spots.
As the football passing league is just starting, Hanson admits his arm is starting to hang a little lower after playing so much baseball. He said it took time to get comfortable in his role as quarterback, but having a year under his belt should help next season.
“Summing up his productive high school career so far with one year to go, Hanson says, “I played with a bunch of great guys in every sport and had a blast doing it. We have great coaches and I have memories for the rest of my life.”
Hanson is mostly being recruited to play in college by baseball teams, including the University of Minnesota, Nebraska and St. Cloud State.
Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]