2021 Is ON; updates for pro, college & PLHS

By Joseph Chapman

UMD Bulldogs at USBank early in 2020 season with Alex Wattermann at shortstop. PHOTO by Tex

With the Covid19 pandemic impacting 2020 baseball seasons, college players were not penalized and awarded an additional season. The uncertainty of 2020 has been replaced by optimism with shorted seasons played at youth and townball levels in ’20 and only a minor adjustment to 2021 for local high school baseball with protocols to ensure player and fan safety at games. Below are links to follow players with local ties as college baseball has started for 2021.

Nick Hanson , the 2016 Minnesota Gatorade High School Player of the Year, has battled injuries as well had arm surgery since being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He had been healthy and prepared in 2020 to return to form. He has signed for 2021 with the Reds having played through his initial contract and extending with them before the cancelled 2020 season.

Nick Hanson PL’16-MLB Draft Cincinnati Reds 2016 3rd Round

Below includes links for players with local connections participating on college teams for Spring 2021. Click on name to link to college/player website:

Lawson Zenner-PL ’16, PL Jays-Wayne State

Jimmy LarsonPL ’16, PL Jays-MSU Mankato

John McCaustlin – PL’17, Dundas, DCTC, St Marys

Ryan McDonald – PL ’18, PL Jays, South Dakota

Corbin Cross– PL ’18, PL Mudcats, Iowa Central, Concordia U – Texas

Derek Kay-PL ’18, PL Mudcats, Iowa Central CC

Mitch Goodwin – PL ’18, PL Jays, SE Nebraska CC, DCTC

Zach Matthews – Burnsville ’18, PL Jays, UM Duluth

AJ Lattery – PL ’19, PL Jays, Oregon State

Alex Wattermann – PL ’19, PL Mudcats, UM Duluth

Russ Tanner – PL ’19, PL Jays, UM Duluth

Sam Tanner – PL ’19, PL Jays, UM Duluth

Austin Gordon – PL ’20, PL Jays, UM Duluth

Jake Larson – PL ’20, PL Jays*, NIACC

Cooper Schnackenberg – PL ’20, PL Jays, UW LaCrosse

Jett Heinen – PL’20, PL Jays*, UW LaCrosse

Jonah Hoeg – PL’20, PL Jays, St Thomas (MN)

Sam Emmerich – PL’20, PL Jays, St Johns (MN)

Sam Shopbell – PL’20, PL Jays, DMACC

Cooper Smith, a 2020 Academy of Holy Angels graduate and PL Jay, is attending IMG Academy in 2020-21 and has committed to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville for the 2021-22 academic year.

The Prior Lake Lakers (PLHS-MSHSL/South Suburban Conference) commence their 2021 season April 12, 2021 with Varsity on the road vs Shakopee in SSC action and JV hosting the Sabres JV at Veterans Field PL. The season thus far only impacted about 1 week from previous seasons moving back. Playoffs are slated to commence Memorial Day May 31.

PL Lakers Baseball (2 links): SSC PL Schedule Link , Laker Baseball Homepage

2021 Laker Captains Connor Wietgrefe, Beau Rabey and Dustan Green have committed to continuing baseball in college at: NIACC, Gustavus Adolphus, UW Eau Claire respectively.