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Area athletes selected to VFW All-Star game

WORTHINGTON -- As the season ended for the Worthington VFW team last weekend at the district tournament, three members will have a chance for one last game this season.

Matt King, Steven Kremer and Mitchell Jensen were three of 18 players selected by opposing coaches for the south squad at the VFW All-Star game in Marshall today.

"It's pretty cool," Kremer said of the honor. "(There were just) three of us out of the whole team, so it means a lot."

"It's a huge honor," Worthington VFW head coach Ryan Weber said. "Last year, we had two representatives. It's an honor to have other coaches vote you on and look on you as an all-star. They are also good kids, which makes it even better."

Jensen said he did not expect to be nominated to the team.

"I was actually pretty surprised, because I wasn't there against the old Luverne team, and then I wasn't there for the young Luverne team, either," Jensen said.

While Jensen may have missed a few games throughout the season when he was in the lineup, he was a forced to be reckoned with.

Jensen hit .369, but had an on base percentage of .496 this season. He scored 34 times and led the team with 38 hits.

He was also one of Worthington's leading pitchers. Jensen threw more than 37 innings while striking out 38.

Kremer caught most of the season, but would come out from behind the plate to throw innings in relief.

"I like catching, but I like that one inning of pitching every once in a while," Kremer said. "But batting is the best."

Kremer hit .301 this season and drove in 18 runs. He also had nine extra base hits.

As the closer on the Worthington team this season, Kremer allowed just three hits while compiling four saves.

Although King pitched, he also said he liked the hitting aspect of the game.

"It makes the rest of the game fun. You get a lot more into it if you're playing better with the bat," King said.

King had an on base percentage of .400 and had 30 hits on the season.

King had three wins this year and a 2.41 earned run average, while opponents hit just .188 against him.

"King and Jensen roamed the outfield and provided offensive spark," Weber said. "Kremer is an incredible catcher. Teams stopped running on him after a while."

While all of the players had all-star quality seasons, they all give the credit to others.

"We have to give them (older players on the team) credit, too, because they supported us," King said.

"I have to give credit to my dad, too," Jensen said. "A lot of times, he went out to the field with me and threw me balls and stuff like that."

King is the eldest in the group at 16, while Jensen and Kremer are both 15 and will be sophomores in the fall. The players said they hope the success they've had will carry over into next year.

"I'm looking forward to the season more after having a good season," King said.

"It should boost our confidence all around," Kremer added.

The players were selected to the all-star game by opposing coaches in the area, and coaches could not vote for their own players.

"They (other coaches) have respect for us," Kremer said. "There are a lot of older kids that didn't get selected besides King. They (older players) make us look good, and we make them look good."

Just like any all-star game, the players do not know how they will be used. However, Kremer hopes to catch, and Jensen and King look forward to having the opportunity to pitch an inning or two.

"I'll probably get some reps in centerfield, too," Jensen said.

The north and the south teams will each face Redwood Falls as an opportunity to play competitively during the break before the state tournament. Redwood Falls defeated Olivia 10-9 to qualify for the state tournament in New Ulm on Aug. 9. The south will face Redwood at 6:30 p.m. today.

The south roster is composed of players from seven teams: Brett Nowotny, Adam Diekmann and Tanner Loosbrock, all from Adrian; Zach Olson, Brent Dinger and Phil Paquette from Luverne; Eric Wieneke, Justin Reinsman and Tayler Streff from Slayton; Tyler Goedke from Fulda; Sam Bauer, Jon Schelhaas and Darrell Stout, all from Pipestone. Two players from Marshall were not named.