‘Fun’ baseball season ends with awards banquet

Chad Smith

The Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland baseball team had a fantastic 17-win season this spring. The Bulldogs recently handed out several postseason awards, while four of their players also garnered all-conference honors. The awards were handed out at the annual spring sports banquet on Sunday, June 9.

Team awards:

Most Valuable Player and batting champion – Drew Copley

Copley really had to earn this award the hard way. A serious knee injury last year cost him all of his junior year and football during his senior season. After doing a lot of serious rehabilitation work, he came back for baseball on a mission.

“He was raring and ready to go,” said GMLOK head coach Dakota Rostad. “As a baseball player, he showed the other kids how to keep your composure through the ups and downs of the game. Drew let his play and the way he went about the game of baseball do a lot of his talking for him.

“We went as Drew went this year,” he added. “I really think he and the other five seniors we had this spring did a great job of leading the younger guys on the team.

Rookie of the Year – Dustin Copley

Drew Copley’s younger brother had a good season in his own right. Rostad couldn’t be happier that Dustin Copley is only a freshman and will be around for three more years.

“Dusty took over the No. 9 spot in our batting order this year,” Rostad said. “He finished the season second in runs scored behind Drew, as well as third in batting average at just over .400. Dusty’s on-base percentage was up there too. People who gave him a lot of fastballs because they thought ‘he’s just a No. 9 hitter’ wound up paying for it.”

Defensive Players of the Year – Reid Kruegel and Nolan Skifter

“These two guys showed the younger kids how to play defense,” Rostad said. “Teams that win 17 games need to know how to catch the ball and they did it as well as anyone.”

Bulldog Award – Jacob Welch

This is a brand-new award for the GMLOK baseball program. Rostad said it goes to the player who has a “lot of grit and grinds things out every day.” Team leadership is also an important part of the Bulldog Award.

“Jacob let you know what was on his mind but in a very respectful way,” Rostad recalled. “If he wasn’t happy with how something was going, he’d come to the coaches and ask what he needed to do to fix it. After that, he just went about getting things back on track.”

Season recap

“If I had to put the season into one word, it would be ‘fun,’” Rostad said. “I know the season ended before we wanted it to, but it also should set things up well for next year. I think the younger kids saw how much fun the upperclassmen were having and want to continue that. I think a season like this could get the kids energized and excited about baseball.”