High school athletes receive recognition for outstanding seasons
The Minnesota Minute Men and the Minnesota Twins presented the 2014 Play Ball! Minnesota Ms. Softball and Mr. Baseball awards on Sunday night at the Jax Café in Minneapolis.
Erika Rozell of Lakeville North High School took home the honor of Ms. Softball, while Brad Mathiowetz of Rochester Mayo was named Mr. Baseball.
Both were surprised by their victories.
"I was really shocked," said Rozell, who will attend the University of Minnesota on scholarship in the fall. "I just wanted to follow in the footsteps of Sara Moulton (the 2010 winner) and Nikki Anderson (the 2012 winner) who played for Minnesota. I felt extremely honored."
In her fifth season of varsity play, the catcher led Lakeville North to a 23-2 record with help from star pitcher Michaela Zins, who was also nominated. Rozell maintained a .400 batting average while popping four home runs and 10 extra-base hits.
"I don't have any regrets," she said. "I'm very happy with my entire career as a whole."
Mathiowetz had a feeling the Mr. Baseball award would go to Mounds View pitcher Sam Hentges, who had an excellent season and was named the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Metro Player of the Year. But a record-setting season by Mathiowetz at the plate was enough to sway the coaches and scouts voting on the award.
"I knew I had a chance," Mathiowetz said. "My dad and I thought it was going to be pretty tough, especially with Sam Hentges up for the award. I was blown away when my name got called."
The Rochester Mayo star's 2014 season was incredible. He set new Minnesota state single-season records for total bases with 122 and slugging percentage with 1.420. He finished with 17 doubles and 18 home runs, both good for second in Minnesota state history, and 54 RBIs, which is third all-time in state history. While displaying power, he also compiled a .570 batting average, which is 12th all-time in state history.
Mathiowetz committed to play at Des Moines Area Community College next season, but the Twins also made him their 35th-round pick in last week's MLB First-Year Player Draft. He expects to get an offer from the team next week, at which time he'll make a decision with help from his family.
Award finalists for Mr. Baseball were: Mike Baumann (Mahtomedi), Alex Boxwell (Coon Rapids), Toby Hanson (Delano), Sam Hentges (Mounds View), Dalton Lehnen (Lakeville North), Brad Mathiowetz (Rochester Mayo), and Sheldon Miks (Shakopee).
Award finalists for Ms. Softball were: Kara Lattery (Prior Lake), Bailey O'Hotto (Brainerd), Anna Pipenhagen (Elk River), Erika Rozell (Lakeville North), Rebekah Smith (Orono), Kylie Stober (Lakeville South), and Michaela Zins (Lakeville North).
2013 Mr. Baseball: Logan Shore, Coon Rapids Ms. Softball: Samantha Hartmann, Orono
2012 Mr. Baseball: Mitch Brown, Rochester Century Ms. Softball: Nikki Anderson, Brainerd
2011 Mr. Baseball: Austin Malinowski, Centennial Ms. Softball: Kelsey Anderson, Burnsville
2010 Mr. Baseball: Chris Anderson, Centennial Ms. Softball: Sara Moulton, Eagan