Posted 7/14/21

HYAA 15AAA Baseball: There is more than what happens between the lines An Editorial by Bruce Karnick [email protected] Originally, this story was not even going to be a story, it was going to be …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in



HYAA 15AAA Baseball: There is more than what happens between the lines

An Editorial by Bruce Karnick

[email protected]

Originally, this story was not even going to be a story, it was going to be a headline, a picture and a quick cutline about the picture and their third different state tournament championship, then I spoke to head coach Ryan Seleski.

Yes, the HYAA 15AAA baseball team won the MBT State Tournament, yes, it is a HUGE deal and a testament to the success that this particular group of young men has had over the last five years. This group has been playing together since they were six, travelling since 10. They have taken home some form of first, second or third place hardware from 26 different tournaments over that time, they have an 80%-win record and the best part, they are great kids. Not just great kids in an ‘awe, they sure are nice kids’ kind of way, kids that get it. They are fun, kind, respectful, hard-working, caring, and they have each other’s backs.

Head Coach Ryan Seleski explained. “We [the coaches] are not their parents right. We understand that, but baseball is just a platform for us to try to teach the boys to be good dudes and employable someday. Be good husbands and good dads, and we stress being part of the community. Baseball is just our platform to try to be a positive influence on the boys and help them to contribute to the community.”

Seleski Continued, “I was so proud of them. Robb Svoboda reached out with a great opportunity, you know Robb runs our VFW and our Legion programs right. And he reached out to me with a great opportunity for the boys to go out and help the VFW team move our VFW post as they move locations. And I was so proud of the boys we got 11 players on the team. All 11 showed up. I walked in at 8:29 in the morning, and they’re all sitting there at a table with their with their arms crossed and 8:15 ready to go.”

“We have a great group of parents, we’ve to have up there, and yes, I was mostly happy to share my chips with them. They are what make all the hard work that goes into the field worth it, and it’s always nice to be out in town and randomly hear “BRRRRUUUUUUUUCCCEE!” from across the store, with one of the kids waving to say hi.

These kids and parents get it. It is not about one star player; it is about the team. When one struggles, the other 10 step up and support the one. They know it takes all of them to win, all of them to fulfill their roles on the team, from starting pitcher to closer, they work their role. An impressive thought process for a 15-year-old kid to understand. Even more impressive is they get the community aspect of sports.

The oddest thing about this team, aside from the wonderfully weird Jacko, is they do not have the typical two or three coaches for a youth sports team, they have six and all six are on the same page. Six coaches that all have their own family life, their own work life, and they all take their time away from the team as needed but that balance is also an important aspect to teach the kids. If one cannot be there, the others step in and fill the void, it’s no big deal.

What about the tournament? Winning the tournament is where this story started, but not what it was meant to be about. Hastings finished 2-1 in pool play earning the opportunity to play in the championship bracket. (4) Hastings defeated (5) Prior Lake 11-1, then defeated (1) Eden Prairie 8-5 to reach the championship against (2) Eastview winning that game 10-4.

Before the tournament, Hastings was 23-1-2. Now, at 28-2-2, Hastings looks to continue the momentum and win the Gopher State Championship next weekend to add to their hardware collection. A collection that hopefully continues to grow with a few MSHSL Championships and maybe even a few CCVL league championships followed up with some Class C State Titles.

For now, good luck at Gopher State Boys!

been fortunate. You know I say team, but, it’s a family. It really is and I know people throw that around all the time. I’ve never been part of have something like this, you know, we’ve come to these kids. Since they were six started traveling when they were 10 the love that they have for each other, how they support each other, how they pick each other up. You know the parents right each one of those boys has 11 sets of moms and dads, that takes care of them. The amount of trust that these parents give to us as coaches, to spend time with their boys, and how they reinforce the messages that we share, those parents have just as much if not more to do with the success that this group of young men has had as the coaches do, and it shows on the field,” Seleski added.

It also shows off the field. Not just in Seleski’s example above, but in their presence at other games. These boys come out to cheer on other Hastings teams at Veteran’s Park too. I believe they have been to at least one game for each of the levels that play out there, 14AAA, 14/15A, VFW, Legion, and the Hastings Hawks. I know for sure they have come to the press box just to hang out with me, see what goes on up there, eat my chips and run the scoreboard. No worries parents, they have always been fun

HYAA’s 15AAA baseball team participated in the Minnesota Baseball Tournament’s state tournament over the weekend. Front row: Left to right Mark De-Noyer, Connor Zgoda, Evan Nelson, Sawyer Tjomsland, Jack Seleski. Back Row: Left to right Creed Peterson, Eddie Peine, Isaiah McCabe, Brody Anderson, John Teigland, Gavin Radant, Blake Vandehoef. 3rd row: left to right Coaches Derrick Pfeffer, Scott Tjomsland, Ryan Seleski, Cole Benson, Kyle Nelson (not pictured Coach Pete Teigland) Photo Courtesy of Nicole DeNoyer