Prep athletes of the week: St. Francis catcher Benson adds pop at the plate

  • Updated: May 6, 2014 - 6:41 AM

Shane Benson, St. Francis baseball, jr., 2013-14

SHANE BENSON

St. Francis • baseball

Already gaining attention for his skills as a catcher, the junior added power to his repertoire last week, stroking his first two home runs as the Saints improved to 7-0.

He hit his first Friday in a 4-0 victory over Buffalo, breaking a scoreless tie with a two-run, fifth-inning blast.

“I knew I hit it good, but it wasn’t that high,” Benson said. “I thought I had a double. I couldn’t believe it. It was the first home run I’d ever hit in my life. It was an unreal feeling.”

Benson connected again Friday, turning on an inside pitch for a grand slam, the big blow in an 11-run second inning in a 16-0 rout of Duluth Denfeld. This time, it was less of a surprise.

“I hit it good,” he said. “I knew it was either gone or it was foul.”

The power is great, Benson said, but it’s his abilities as a catcher that define him. St. Francis pitchers have a 0.85 ERA with him behind the plate, and he’s thrown out 60 percent of potential base-stealers.

“I love playing catcher,” he said. “It’s the only position I’ve ever wanted to play. I love being in control of a game.”

BOONE ALMQUIST

Osseo/Park Center • lacrosse

The sophomore midfielder had 16 goals and nine assists in three games, including a seven-goal, 10-point game in a victory over Elk River. Almquist has 18 goals in five games and leads the metro with 32 points.

ASIL ASFOUR

Eden Prairie • lacrosse

In her first varsity season, the junior goalkeeper has stepped in and proven herself quickly. In two games, she posted a .702 save percentage, including 19 saves in a 10-5 loss at defending Illinois state champion Loyola Academy of Chicago.

SARAH BURNHAM

Wayzata • golf

The senior displayed the form that helped her win the Minnesota Women’s Open last summer, shooting a 3-under 69 to defeat a state-tournament-level field and win the Northfield Invitational at Willinger’s Golf Club.

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