Reusse: New Prague baseball goes from one win to No. 1 seed

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 1, 2014 - 12:29 AM

The prep baseball team has had a remarkable turnaround.

– The residents of New Prague take pride in the support that they muster for the athletic teams at the local high school. That loyalty can only be stretched so far, as demonstrated in the spring of 2013 by a baseball team that finished 1-20.

How was attendance for games at Memorial Park as that season progressed? “A handful of parents and three girlfriends,” catcher Joe Heinz said.

The atmosphere was considerably different at noon Saturday, as the Trojans prepared to play Eden Prairie in the last of the winner’s bracket games in the Section 2AAA tournament.

New Prague went 17-2 in the regular season and gained the No. 1 seed in the section that also includes mega-schools and baseball powers Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.

Victories over Mankato West and Waconia had elevated the Trojans into this showdown with Eden Prairie. It was a game to determine exactly how much magic there was in this New Prague baseball turnaround.

For sure, it had created enough interest to grow the crowd from parents and girlfriends to close to 1,000 people jammed into Memorial Park.

Dan O’Brien was among the witnesses. He was a standout town-team ballplayer and also was the long-serving football coach at New Prague.

“We don’t have a great hitting team,” O’Brien said. “The pitching has been very good — starting with Daniel [Feneis] — and they have been outstanding in the field.”

Feneis is a tall lefthander headed for Minnesota State Mankato. We would benefit as a society if Feneis’ pitching pace would be copied at all levels of baseball. Call him the anti-Pelfrey (as in Mike).

“I do encourage our pitchers to work quickly, but Daniel was like this from when I first saw him a few years ago,’’ New Prague coach Tom Wetschka said.

Feneis was opposed by Corey Binger, the Eden Prairie ace headed for Nebraska Omaha’s Division I program.

Feneis tore through the first, getting a couple of nice plays from Auggie Isaacson, a quick shortstop. Issacson promptly led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single, and worked his way around the bases to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.

There were two more hits in the inning, but a baserunning mistake ended the possibility of further damage. Sadly for the home crowd, the gaffe was also the first indication of how Saturday’s game was going to play out.

A simple bouncer to first, a double-play relay, a fly ball to left … all were misplayed by the Trojans as part of a five-error meltdown that gift-wrapped the first four runs for the visitors.

Eden Prairie cruised to a 6-2 victory. The result left the Eagles needing one more win to advance to the Class 3A state tournament and New Prague needing three.

According to Wetschka’s statistics, his team came into the game with a fantastic .963 fielding percentage.

“This was completely uncharacteristic for us,” catcher Heinz said. “We didn’t give runs away to the other team all season.”

Baseball is expected soon to go from three classes to four, as softball has done, for future tournaments. For now, New Prague is in the top class with Eden Prairie, a school with three times as many students.

  • related content

  • New Prague's Auggie Isaacson rounded third base. (Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune)

  • Catcher Joe Heinz chased a ball during New Prague’s 6-2 loss to baseball heavyweight Eden Prairie on Saturday. “This was completely uncharacteristic for us,” Heinz said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland 8 Bottom 12th Inning
Kansas City 8
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 3rd Prd 7:27
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close