The upset minded Sartell-St. Stephen baseball team is back in the Class 4-A State Tournament for a 3rd straight season.  In 2022 Sartell finished 6th having lost in the consolation championship while in 2021 the Sabres captured 3rd place.  The Sabres were seeded 6th in the Section 8-4-A tournament this season and went unbeaten in the tournament despite their underdog status.  Sartell is an underdog once again as they are set to play against top seeded Rosemount at 4:30 p.m. at CHS Field in St. Paul Tuesday in the State Tournament quarterfinals. Hear the game on AM 1390/93.9 FM with Dave Overlund calling the action.

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Jerome Nemanich is in his 25th year as the head baseball coach at Sartell.  He joined me on WJON. Nemanich says they played really good teams to set themselves up to make this run to the state tournament.  He says their record in the section in the regular season wasn't great which led to them being the #6 seed.  Nemanich says the timing of when they faced opponents played a role because they faced some teams facing their #1 pitcher while they didn't have their top pitchers available due to a busy schedule.

photo courtesy of Jerome Nemanich
photo courtesy of Jerome Nemanich

Nemanich says their offense really came alive down the stretch led by leadoff hitter Kade Lewis who he calls a dynamic baseball player.  Their #2 hitter has been 2nd baseman Jake Greubele, followed by shortstop Gavin Schulte and designated hitter Drew Ritter.  Nemanich calls Schulte an unsung hero who's hitting .450 with just 5 errors at shortstop in 24 games.  He says Kade Lewis, pitchers Tyler Phel-Hemmesch and Wesley Johnson tend to get most of the attention.

Tyler Phel-Hemmesch and Wesley Johnson have been the top two pitchers for the Sabres this season.  Nemanich calls them 1A and 1B.  He says they are a contrast as Phel-Hemmesch is a hard thrower with a slider while Johnson exhibits great control and limits walks.  Nemanich plans to start Phel-Hemmesch against top seeded Rosemount and is prepared to go to Johnson in that game if needed.

Even though this is the 3rd straight state tournament appearance for Sartell, Nemanich indicates and only Lewis, Johnson and Schulte saw significant playing time on last year's team.

Rosemount is the number 1 seed in the Class 4A state tournament and Sartell's quarterfinal opponent at CHS Field Tuesday.  Nemanich feels they can compete with anyone including Rosemount and indicates they were 6-2 against the Northwest Suburban Conference including a win against one of the top teams in the state in Champlin Park.  He says they may have been overlooked during the seeding process.  Rosemount is expected to pitch lefthander Jack Thompson, Division I commit to Valparaiso.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Jerome Nemanich it is available below.


Sartell-St. Stephen roster:

1Fish, JordanP, OF11
2Phelps-Hemmesch, TylerP, INF12
3Boesen, BrendenP, OF11
4Simones, DylanOF12
5Schlangen, BrettP, C11
7Schulte, GavanSS12
8Hanson, Eli2B11
9Blonigen, BraydonP, OF11
10Acker, EthanP, INF12
11Thompson, WillP, C11
12Lewis, KadeINF12
14Johnson, WesleyP, INF11
15Parker, EthanP, INF11
20Ritter, Andrew1B12
24Brinkerhoff, William1B11
25Frieler, SamuelOF12
26Schroers, IsaacP, OF11
29Geiger, DrewP, INF, OF12
30Gruebele, JakeP, INF12
33Simones, BraydenP, INF10


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