Central senior leaders earn MVPs

Central senior Carter Clemensen was named the MRC Most Valuable Player. (Adam Gruenewald/The Times)
Central senior Zach Stockman was named the 2017 MRC Most Valuable Pitcher. (Adam Gruenewald/The Times)

Capping off a successful season, Central and Mayer Lutheran baseball was honored with several different honors with the release of the Minnesota River Conference baseball team.
Central senior Carter Clemensen was named the MRC Most Valuable Player, while fellow senior Zach Stockman was named the 2017 MRC Most Valuable Pitcher.
It was the first such honor for Central since Isaac Hormann won the MRC Most Valuable Player from 2013-15
In addition to Stockman and Clemensen, seniors Matthew Johnson and Kellen Erpenbach were both named to the team with junior Cade Zellmann earning an honorable mention.
For Mayer Lutheran, junior pitcher Alex Bauman     was named to the team and senior Brandon Jilek earned honorable mention.
Coaches named Pat Schultz of Belle Plaine the MRC Baseball Coach of the Year.

Mathew Johnson, Central senior centerfielder
Matthew Johnson had a great senior season for the Raiders. He hit in the number two position all year and led the team with a .536 batting average in the MRC along with a team-high 18 runs scored. Matthew also had 8 RBI and led the team with 6 doubles and 3 triples. He also did not have an error in the outfield. Matthew will be missed next year at the plate and also roaming in center field.  Matthew is the son of Scott and Tracy Johnson of Plato.

Carter Clemensen, Central senior shortstop/pitcher
Carter Clemensen was a leader both on and off the field. He is Mr. Consistent and Mr. Hustle all the time. Carter hit .452 for the Raiders and batted in the leadoff position and also in the third spot. He led the team with two homeruns in conference and RBI with 17. He led the team with 14 stolen bases. When not pitching, he played shortstop.  The team is extremely proud of all the accomplishments Carter has achieved as a Raider and was chosen to play in the Minnesota All Star game in June. Carter has been a class act in all that he has done and has set the bar high for future players to aspire to be like him. Carter was named by conference coaches as the MRC Most Valuable Pitcher. He is the son of Jeff and Julie Clemensen of Cologne.

Zach Stockman, Central senior pitcher/infielder
Zach Stockman had a very solid year for the Raiders on the mound and ended the year with a 4-1 record and also one save and an ERA of 1.13. Zach led the team with 46 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. Zach gave up 26 hits and only walked seven batters. Zach also hit .306 for the Raiders and was second with 11 RBIs. The team will miss Zach next year on the mound, but also his competitiveness in the dugout and on the field. Conference coaches named Zach the MRC Most Valuable Player. Zach is the son of Rick and Stacy Stockman of Glencoe.

Kellen Erpenbach, Central senior second baseman
Kellen Erpenbach had a great year for Central after taking two years off to focus on golf. He really helped the Raiders late in the season when he was moved to leadoff in the order. He hit .440 and was third on the team with 10 runs scored. He solidified the middle infield. He was a joy to coach and a very gifted athlete. Kellen is the son of Ron and Sheila Erpenbach of NYA.

Alex Bauman, Mayer Lutheran junior pitcher/second baseman
Alex Bauman was 1-2 with a 3.40 ERA in four appearances for the Crusaders. At the plate he was one of the team’s top hitters with a .375 BA. In the field, he made only one error in conference play.

2017 MRC All-Conference Baseball Team
Nathan Hermann, Belle Plaine; Jared Miller, Belle Plaine; Brody Curtis, Belle Plaine; Carson Ladd, Belle Plaine; Tyler O’Brien, Belle Plaine; Mathew Johnson, Central; Carter Clemensen, Central; Zach Stockman, Central; Kellen Erpenbach, Central; Ryan Friedges, Jordan; Noah Schmidt, Jordan; Jack Friedges, Jordan; Jonathan Draheim, Jordan; Cole Pengilly, LeSueur-Henderson; Mitch Casperson, LeSueur-Henderson; Zach Sexe, Tri-City United; Brad Davis, Tri-City United; Ben Brinkman, Sibley East; TJ Roseland, Sibley East; Alex Bauman, Mayer Lutheran

2017 MRC Baseball Honorable Mention
Andrew Hunsader, Belle Plaine; Cade Zellmann, Central; Jonathan Huss, Jordan; Phil Champagne, LeSueur-Henderson; Zach Mikel, Tri-City United; Kristian Schow, Sibley East; Brandon Jilek, Mayer Lutheran

Central Season Recap
Boosted by a seven game winning streak to conclude the regular season, Central baseball (14-9) finished second in the Minnesota River Conference with a 8-4 record, while Belle Plaine won it with a 11-1 record. The Raiders season came to an end in the 5AA playoffs against Annandale.

Both Clemensen and Stockman were both named to the KDUZ All Area baseball team as well.
Players are nominated by their coaches and then voted on by a panel of sportscasters at the stations.
Seniors for Central include regular starters Carter Clemensen, Zach Stockman, Matthew Johnson, Austin Pysick and Kellen Erpenbach, as well as Hayden Anderson, Matt Brinkman and Chad Zellmann.

All-Star Series
Clemensen was also selected to play in the 43rd annual Play Ball! Minnesota High School Baseball All-Star Series that will be held at Chaska Athletic Park June 23 and 24 at Chaska Athletic Park.
The tournament is presented by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association, Play Ball! Minnesota, BiG Athletics, and Cambria. Six teams; North, South, Metro North, Metro South, Metro East and Metro West will play a round robin schedule. Clemensen was selected to the Metro West All-Star team with the first game against North at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 23 and the second against Metro North at 11:15 a.m. on June 24. Later games are played on June 24 as well.
A total of 104 of the best baseball players graduating seniors in the state, from all four levels of high school play and representing 86 high schools, have been invited to participate. Teams will practice Thursday, June 22 and attend a banquet that evening at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. Proceeds from the Play Ball! MN All Star Series are donated to a wide-range of charities throughout Minnesota.
More information and team rosters can be found at www.mshsbca.org.