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BOYS HOCKEY: Fargo Shanley goalie stays sharp by playing baseball in the spring

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sports Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

FARGO — Sometimes the skills an athlete possesses in one sport carry over into another.

That occurrence is true for Fargo Shanley senior Jake Salentine, who plays baseball and hockey.

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As a goaltender for the Fargo South-Shanley boys hockey team, Salentine needs to be sharp with a glove – a talent he has been working for years on the baseball field.

Salentine is a standout pitcher and shortstop for Shanley in the spring, but in the winter he catches pucks instead of baseballs.

“A few reflexes here and there have helped out,” said Salentine, who has a 12-9-1 record this season for the Bruins.

Salentine has posted a .908 save percentage this year, stopping a total of 593 shots on goal.

“Jake brings the experience,” South-Shanley head coach Wade Storey said. “He has played almost every game for us this season. He also is a competitor and is a very good athlete. Some of the saves, he makes you wonder where he came up with that, but that is like being a shortstop on the baseball field.”

Salentine has helped the Bruins to a 13-10-1 record and a berth in the North Dakota state tournament, which begins Thursday in Grand Forks. South-Shanley – the No. 4 seed from the East Region – plays West Region, top-seeded Bismarck at noon Thursday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

“There have been some good nights and some bad nights, but I think we have come together in those spots as a team,” Salentine said. “We have worked hard all year to get to this tournament. We had Feb. 22 marked on our calendars all season.”

South-Shanley’s co-op, that also includes athletes from Fargo Oak Grove and Moorhead Park Christian, is making its first state tournament appearance.

“It is a big milestone for our team and future teams coming up in the program,” Storey said.

South last qualified for state in 2009-10. Shanley hasn’t qualified for a state hockey tournament since 1989.

The South-Shanley co-op was formed prior to the 2010-11 season, but it took a while for the group with different backgrounds to become one.

“At first it was slow because no one knew each other, but as the years have gone by we have grown together as a team,” said Andrew Blumer, who leads the Bruins in points with 26. “We have all become friends. I thought we improved this year, and we are ready to make some noise at state.”

“I don’t think a lot of people gave us much of a chance at the beginning since we were a bunch of kids thrown together, but we have really enjoyed our time together,” Salentine added.

This weekend likely will be the final hockey games for Salentine, who is committed to play baseball at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, Iowa.

“This is my last hurrah,” Salentine said. “Hopefully we can focus on our game and play to the Bruin standard.”

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Tom Mix is the North Dakota high school sports reporter. He's worked at The Forum for five years. He was the 2013 North Dakota sportswriter of the year, an award that is sponsored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to letters@forumcomm.com  
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