The region’s best baseball players to watch in the 2022 season

Section 1 produced a 2021 Class A state baseball champion and a fourth-place finisher in Class AA. There are a lot of elite players returning this spring, so higher status finishes may take place.

The season is near and here are 15 of the region’s best players to watch in the 2022 season.

Easton Fritcher, Hayfield

Fritcher, who has committed to playing at the University of Minnesota, was a Class A All-State a year ago while leading the Vikings to a 26-0 record and a Class A state championship He throws and hits with his left hand and dominates at home plate and the mound. As a junior he hit .543, .673 OBP, 8 doubles, 5 triples, 8 home runs, 48 ​​RBIs, 52 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases. Was 11-0 on the mound with 1.55 ERA and 90 Ks in 49 innings pitched while allowing 26 hits. Should be a Mr. Baseball nominee.

Karver Heydt, who helped Hayfield go 26-0 and win the Class A state title in 2021, is the player to watch this spring.

File photo by Traci Westcott/Post Bulletin

Heydt beat the cleanup for the Class A state champion Vikings a year ago when he was a Class A All-State selection. The power hitter hit a high .519 with an OBP of .589, 9 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 41 RBIs, 34 runs scored and 7 stolen bases. He drove Hayfield’s first inning as the Vikings rallied at New York Mills 7-4 in the state title game.

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Byron’s Jackson Schroeder kicks a ball during the 2021 season. Schroeder is a player to watch this spring.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Schroeder was the best offensive player for the top-scoring Bears. The left-handed hitter hit .410 with 9 doubles, 2 HR, 27 RBIs and 19 runs scored. Helped Byron earn the Section 1AAA seed and the team finished second in the Section.

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Byron’s John Lutzi is delivering ground in the 2021 season. Lutzi was 7-2 a year ago and is a player to watch this spring.

File photo by Traci Westcott/Post Bulletin

Was the staff ace of a Byron team that finished 17-6 and was a Division 1AAA runner-up. He posted a 7-2 record with a 1.34 ERA and 58K. The right-hander beat Lourdes in the regular season and has two section wins.

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Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Matthew Keller is welcomed to the dugout after scoring a run during the 2021 season. Keller is a place to watch this spring for the defending Division 1AA champions.

File photo by Joe Ahlquist/Post Bulletin

Matthew Keller, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

He battled an arm injury a year ago, but that didn’t stop him from hitting .471, with an OBP of .544, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 3 HR, 32 RBI and 34 runs scored. Was a key offensive force in helping the Bulldogs win the Section 1AA title and rank fourth in the state.

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Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Jason Feils returns to the dugout after completing a run during the 2021 season. Feils helped PEM win a Section 1AA title a year ago and is game to keep an eye on. on this spring.

File photo by Traci Westcott/Post Bulletin

Jason Feils, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

Senior, Shortstop/Pitcher

Feils excelled on defense and at home plate to help PEM win the Section 1AA title and rank fourth in the state. He batted .444, with a .486 OBP, 13 doubles, 3 triples, 30 runs, 23 RBIs and 18 stolen bases while also anchoring the infield midfielder.

Senior, pitcher/first base

Nolte is one of the best returning pitchers in the area. He was the Gophers ace a year ago when he went 8-2 with a 1.47 ERA and 42K. His two losses were to Division 1AA champion PEM. At plate, he hit .277 with 5 doubles, 29 RBIs and just 6Ks in 90 appearances.

Senior, third baseman/pitcher

Meiner helped the Warriors go 21-5 and rank third in Section 1AA a year ago when he hit .473 with 7 doubles, 16 RBIs, 37 runs, 28 steals and a .524 OBP . He was 5-3 on the mound with a 3.34 ERA and 53 strikeouts.

Brady Augedahl, Caledonia

With Augedahl and Meiners back, the Warriors should once again be in contention for a Section 1AA title. At plate, Augedahl hit .344 as a junior with 17 RBI, 15 runs, 20 steals and a .512 OBP. He also excelled on the mound, going 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 26K.

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Pine Island’s Matt Horkey, right, hits teammate Riley Kuehl (22) after scoring a run in a 2021 baseball game. Horkey is coming off a strong junior season and is a player to watch this spring.

File photo by Joe Ahlquist/Post Bulletin

Horkey was a double threat for the Panthers as a junior. On the block, he hit .451, with 4 doubles, 12 RBIs and 19 runs scored. On the mound, he went 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA and also had one save. Pine Island was 17-6 a year ago and could make another leap this season.

Carl Schultz, Isle of Pines

Schultz is part of a strong returning cast that could make the Panthers a contender in both the Hiawatha Valley League and Section 1AA. He hit .389 with 26 runs and 16 RBIs as a junior. He also went 2-0 with two saves and a 1.53 ERA at the mound.

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Southland third baseman Harrison Hanna (1) threw a ground ball during the 2021 season. Hanna was 10-3 as a pitcher a year ago and is a player to watch this spring.

File photo by Joe Ahlquist/Post Bulletin

Harrison Hanna, Southland

Hanna won 10 games a year ago. He was 10-3 with a 2.66 era while striking out 96 in 63 innings. He held opponents to a .171 batting average and helped the Rebels finish third in Section 1A. He’ll need to be at the top of his game and get plenty of help if the Rebels are to beat Hayfield in the section this spring.

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Kenyon-Wanamingo’s Gavin Sommer bats in a baseball game during the 2021 season. Sommer hit .352 as a junior and is a player to watch this spring.

File photo by Traci Westcott/Post Bulletin

Gavin Sommer, Kenyon-Wanamingo

Sommer should be the team’s ace on the mound. Last year, he won four games for the Knights with a 3.68 ERA while striking out 63. He was also solid at the plate, going .352 with 5 doubles, 23 runs and 11 RBIs.

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Triton’s Braxton Munnikhuysen catches a pop-up during the 2021 season. The left-handed receiver is a player to watch this spring.

File photo by Traci Westcott/Post Bulletin

Braxton Munnikhuysen, Triton

Munnikhuysen is a bit odd as a left-handed throwing catcher. But he is very solid in defense and can also strike. As a junior he hit .434, with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 13 RBIs and scored 11 runs.

Peter Meyer, Zumbrota-Mazeppa

Senior, Shortstop/Pitcher

Due to the pandemic, the Cougars only played 15 games a year ago. But Meyer took advantage of his opportunity, especially at home plate. He batted a .500 average, with 19 runs, 8 RBIs, 2 doubles and 2 triples. As a pitcher, he had a 3.64 ERA and collected one save.

—Guy N. Limbeck, [email protected]

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