Teener baseball roundup: Mount Vernon holds perfect record

Losing is not something that the Mount Vernon teener baseball team is familiar with this season. The team is 12-0 and head coach Eric Denning said that his team takes a lot of pride in the way it plays baseball.

Charlie Mahaffey
(Kevin Pottebaum/Republic) Mount Vernon's Charlie Mahaffey throws a pitch in a teener baseball game against Howard Wednesday night in Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon won the game 11-1 in six innings.

Losing is not something that the Mount Vernon teener baseball team is familiar with this season. The team is 12-0 and head coach Eric Denning said that his team takes a lot of pride in the way it plays baseball.

"We have a pretty veteran team and some really good players this year," Denning said.

"Our pitching lineup is pretty solid and overall we're just a really well-rounded team."

Denning said his team has been using an aggressive offense to pressure its opponents and that has been helping the team win all of its games. He said it was never a goal to try and have a perfect season; he just wants his team to play every game the best that it can and to continue to keep improving.

"I think the biggest thing that we take pride in is getting on base," he said. "We have a good base percentage and we're really good at getting on the bases and putting pressure on other teams when we're on offense."


Although the team takes pride in its style of play, Denning said he doesn't want his players to take any opponent for granted or feel too comfortable just because they have a perfect record.

"We've got some tough games coming up in our schedule. We host a tournament on July 7 and 8 and we'll be playing against some of the better teams in South Dakota," Denning said.

"We're excited to host the tournament and pair up against some of those really good teams and see where we stand with some of the best baseball teams in the state."

Denning said it's always a goal to make it to the state tournament at the end of the year, and he's hoping this team can continue its success through the second half of the season.

"We just try to play the game the way we think it should be played and play to our strength," he said. "We're just going to keep working on our weaknesses and hopefully we'll peak at the end of the year."

In Wednesday night's game against Howard, Mount Vernon extended its winning streak to 12-0. Mount Vernon won the game 11-1 in six innings.


The Ethan teener baseball team has been struggling this year, but coach Jeff Grosdidier said that he's seen a lot of improvement since the beginning of the season.


Grosdidier said that one of the main problems the team has is playing in a 16-and-under league and having four kids who are 16. Ethan only had 13 kids come out for baseball this year

and Grosdidier said it's something that the team just has to deal with.

"I'm counting on a lot of young guys to play a lot and I'm expecting them to step up, which is a lot to ask from kids this age," Grosdidier said.

"Basically I just try to let the younger kids know that times will always get better and in a couple years they'll be better."

The team is 6-5 and although that's not an ideal record, Grosdidier is happy where his team is at right now.

"I think we could be a little bit better, we lost some games that we probably shouldn't have in the beginning of the year but that's teener baseball for you," Grosdider said of his team's record.

Grosdidier said his team is lacking pitching depth, but it's been hitting the ball really well lately and the has a lot of speed which is a good thing for them. He said he tries to get his team to focus on the positives and work to improve every game.

"If we can get by the first two guys we're usually OK. After that if we can start making outs in the outfield instead of just watching we'll be OK," he said.


Mitchell Gold

One of the main things Mitchell Gold teener baseball coach Nick Zawacki wanted to help his team with this season was to help his players get ready to play Legion ball in the next couple of years. So far, he feels that the team is right where it needs to be at this point of the season and he's proud of the improvement its made so far.

"I think the team's made great progression on an individual and team level so far this season," Zawacki said.

"We're in a challenging division and right now we're just taking it game by game. Our goal since the begging of the year has been to make it to the postseason."

Zawacki said that early on in the season a lot players had to miss games which really hurt them, but he feels happy with the team's 13-13 record. Overall, he feels that the team has made big strides since the beginning of the season and all of the players are playing better than they were before.

"We just want to play well every game and hopefully we can make something happen in the postseason," he said."

Mitchell Black

Mitchell Black teener baseball coach Peyton Smith said he feels that his team is having a lot more fun playing the game of baseball this year than it has in previous years. The team is 11-11 so far this season and Smith feels his team is in a pretty good spot right now.

"They're playing a lot better than they have been in the past couple of years and I think that they're getting better game by game," Smith said.

Smith said his team's strengths lie in its pitching and hitting. He said one pitcher doesn't really stand out from the rest and all of them are really strong players.

"We have a lot of depth in pitching and our whole pitching staff is capable of going out and getting us a win," Smith said.

The biggest challenge that the team faces at this point in the season is keeping the team focused and ready to play every game, he said. He said he feels confident his team has the capability to do well at the state tournament.

"I just want the guys to get better every game," Smith said.

Mitchell Gray

The Mitchell Gray teener team is 2-13 this season. But that record doesn't reflect how they play as a team according to coach Keith Flemmer. He said his players are improving every game and every practice and that's the most important thing.

"Obviously our record isn't ideal, but the kids are working hard," Flemmer said.

"We've had a lot of games where the kids are right in there until the very end and that's a good sign."

Flemmer said one thing his team has done really successfully this season is base running. He feels all of his players really understand how to base run and are smart and aggressive about running bases in all of their games. He also feels that he has a lot of pitchers that have stepped up and improved tremendously since the beginning of the season.

"I just want the kids to stay positive and have fun playing the game of baseball," Flemmer said.

"I tell them the time you have playing baseball goes by so quick I want them to enjoy every minute of it. We've just got to keep improving every single practice and every single game."

The biggest challenge for the team in the second half of the season will be having the kids stay positive, Flemmer said. He doesn't want the kids to focus on the games that they've lost, but instead focus on the games they have yet to play.

"If every player can get a little bit better every practice and every game, then the whole team is going to improve," he said.

Mitchell White

The Mitchell White teener baseball coach said that the biggest challenge the team has had so far this season has been communication.

"We're still too busy looking at the guy next to us instead of taking charge and doing things ourselves, Flemmer said.

"Even when the kids are communicating with coaches we need to get better at watching for signs and when to look to the coaches for help."

The team is 12-9 this season and in the last five games has gone 4-1, which is something Flemmer feels really good about. He said all the players on the team are just becoming a little bit more comfortable in their roles.

"We've asked some players to move around depending on who is pitching and we've even shifted some roles from infield to outfield," he said.

"I think the moving around has helped everybody embrace their role and embrace their niche on the team."

The team travels to Brookings this weekend for a tournament and Flemmer said if the team can pull out some wins, it will be in good shape.

"If we can pull out another successful tournament run like we did in Spearfish, that will be a really good thing," Flemmer said.

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