Little Falls baseball well represented at college ranks

By Tyler Ohmann

Sports Editor

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A pair of Little Falls alum and teammates on the Sobieski Skis recently made some waves in the Division II college baseball world.

Josh Wenzel
Josh Wenzel

First, Minnesota State-Mankato outfielder, Josh Wenzel, had a spectacular day, Sunday, April 9, at Minot State.

The junior went 4-for-4 with all four hits being home runs. He drove in a career-high eight home runs.

“It was a big blur with every at bat trying to hit the ball hard, and sometimes it just goes that way,” Wenzel said.

He said with each home run, he did his best to not go up to the plate trying to hit another one. He wanted to focus on his regular approach.

That sure worked. It was a day that Wenzel said was atypical for him.

“I’m not your typical power hitter, home run hitter, I thrive with the small ball, and to hit the ball on the ground and try and beat it out,” Wenzel said. “To experience that, it was kind of new to me.”

Long-time friend and Bemidji State senior Collin Eckman has been used to seeing Wenzel succeed.

 

Collin Eckman
Collin Eckman

“Josh and I always were kind of were trying to out do each other, and then, I was like, ‘Oh my  gosh, this guy always seems to be one step ahead of me,’” Eckman said. “But he is a great player and a friend.”

Two days later, Eckman answered back, when he blasted on to the scene with some long-ball heroics of his own.

The Beavers infielder ripped a walkoff home run to dead center field in the bottom of the 13th inning to come from behind and beat Minnesota-Crookston, 9-7.

“That was crazy, I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Eckman said. “That whole game like that was a mix of a emotions,  because I botched a sac bunt in the 10th inning, and being able to get another chance to redeem myself was pretty awesome.”

Wenzel took notice too.

“I was scrolling through Twitter and I saw the video, ‘Collin Eckman hits walkoff,’ and I thought, no way,’” Wenzel said. “I was probably more excited about that than when I hit those home runs, because Collin has been a good friend my whole life, so to see that was really cool.”

The pair’s teams, who ware both in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, played each other this Friday and Saturday, April 21-22.

“I hope he doesn’t do that this weekend when he plays us,” Wenzel said Wednesday about the walkoff.