A two-vehicle crash in Carver County left a Minnesota state champion pitcher in critical condition and seriously hurt a Minnesota Gopher baseball player as the summertime teammates took advantage of a rare day off in pursuit of “a home-cooked meal” with family members.
Kasey Ralston, who pitched Holy Family High School in Victoria to the Class 2A state title in 2012 and who was on Indiana University’s roster this past season, was in critical condition Monday at Hennepin County Medical Center, the day after the car he was riding in was struck by a pickup truck with the right of way north of New Germany, according to the State Patrol.
Driving was Dalton Sawyer, a Gophers freshman who pitched for Waconia High School. The patrol at first said neither Ralston nor Sawyer was wearing a seat belt. Lt. Eric Roeske said Monday night, however, that Ralston was belted in and the patrol has yet to determine whether Sawyer was wearing his.
Sawyer, 19, is being treated at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia for a collapsed lung, broken rib and a concussion, said his father, Duane Sawyer. “Right now, he’s doing good. He’s improving. If there’s a plan, he’s on it. He’s hitting all the benchmarks as they come up. He should be ready to go home soon.
“He really doesn’t remember the accident. You ask him questions and he doesn’t have any recollection at this point.”
Information on Ralston, of Chaska, has only been available through a Caring Bridge website. According to a post on Monday: “What we know at this point is that he suffered several broken ribs, a collapsed right lung, his jaw is broken in two places, his pelvis is fractured in three places, he has lacerations of the liver, spleen, and bladder, and one of his kidneys was injured. … Currently they are trying to determine if he has any cervical spine injuries … Luckily he has been able to move his arms and legs and can respond to pain stimuli.”
The four people in the pickup all were wearing seat belts and escaped serious injuries, according to the patrol. Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the crash.
Since their college seasons ended, Ralston and Sawyer had been playing for the St. Cloud Rox of the amateur Northwoods League.
The Rox had a day off Sunday, the team’s first since the season started late last month.
“They were coming home for a home-cooked meal and some family loving,” said Duane Sawyer.
Ralston, 18, who did not get into a game for the powerhouse Hoosiers, has left Indiana and was looking to enroll elsewhere, a school official said.
Sawyer appeared in 18 games for the Gophers this spring, usually as a reliever.
Rox co-owner and general manager Scott Schreiner said the team planned to play Monday night at home vs. Alexandria. He said he spoke with Mike Ralston, Kasey’s father, and the message was to not call off the game.
“He said, ‘Go win it,’ ” Schreiner said. “He didn’t even let me ask that question.”
Staff writer Jim Paulsen contributed to this report.