BY DAVE PEDERSEN
CROW RIVER NEWS
Jake Gleason, who pitched for Rockford’s amateur baseball team for several years, was granted a transfer to the Delano A’s in June.
Gleason proved to be a key factor in Delano earning a trip to the state Class C tournament for the first time in 10 years. Also advancing is Loretto, which received good support from three Rockford grads.
After starting the North Star League season with Rockford, Gleason moved to Delano, his home town. Jake was the winning pitcher when Delano upset No. 1 ranked Maple Lake during the regular season. He also pitched a complete game 4-2 victory over Cokato in the Region 12 playoffs.
The pitcher was badly needed when Delano’s three Division 1 college pitchers (Zach Muckenhirn, Tyler Wolfe and Trevor Jaunich) were unavailable for the playoffs because of commitments to their summer collegiate baseball leagues. Gleason was joined by Matt Arens and Cody Mathisen, who picked up the slack.
The Athletics earned the No. 4 seed from the Region 12C tournament at state. Delano will play the Luverne Red Birds, the No. 2 seed from Region 13, in the first round of at noon Sunday, Aug. 17 at Jordan.
Delano finished fifth out of 12 teams in North Star League with a 14-8 record. In the playoffs the A’s lost to D-C 4-2, bounced back to defeat Cokato 4-2 and Maple Plain 8-5 and lost to Howard Lake 4-0.
The squad’s youngest players, 2014 grads Toby Hanson, Hunter Hart and Tyler Hannan, will have played in three state tourneys in one season, including high school, American Legion and now the town team state tourney.
Teams can draft pitchers from teams not going to state. Delano drafted Hutchinson pitchers Kyle Messner (47), Matt Timm and Connor Kern.
Loretto will return to the state tournament starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 against St. Benedict at Jordan. The other state tourney venue is Belle Plaine.
Loretto lost 4-0 to top seed Maple Lake Friday, before defeating Howard Lake 8-4 Saturday. The Larks trailed HL 4-0 until scoring seven runs in the sixth with two outs.
Rockford grad Nathan Maher had an RBI double. Singles by herb Koch Jr., Brandon Scanlon and Kent Koch was followed by a triple by Tyler Maher that drove in two more runs. Troy Beckman pitched all nine innings.
The Larks faced Maple Lake in the title game Sunday, losing 7-2 to earn the No. 2 seed from the Region at state.
Loretto drafted pitchers Jordan Danielson and Jordan Flick from DC and Adam Jacobson from Maple Plain. These are pitchers who cannot bat.
Delano has been led by the hitting of Kevin Jaunich, Joey and Jeff Althoff, Hanson and Ryan Hayes. Stellar double play turning defense has been supplied by Jesse Berg, Adam Schleper and Jay Stevens while Jon Dahl and Josh Hiltner have added speed to the A’s outfield. Hart hit a key home run in the playoffs and Adam Jaunich and John Celander have provided much needed depth.