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Sacred Heart, Roseau both head to state baseball led by speedy leadoff batters

Sacred Heart and Roseau open the Minnesota state high school baseball tournament on Tuesday in St. Cloud.

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The Eagles gather around home plate to celebrate Sacred Heart batter Sam Gapp's (9) two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning of a Minn. Section 8A quarterfinals game against the Northern Freeze at Stauss Park in East Grand Forks on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. — With a diverse skill set, Roseau baseball coach Josh Weckman wonders what Rams leadoff hitter Isaac Wensloff can't do for his team.

With more than 30 stolen bases this season, East Grand Forks Sacred Heart baseball coach Paul Bethke would hate to face off against his leadoff hitter Cullen Rohrich.

The two area coaches had glowing reports of these two impactful bats at the top of the order which have sparked their teams to this week's Minnesota state high school baseball tournament in St. Cloud.

Sacred Heart, playing in its third state tournament since 2018, takes the No. 4 seed against No. 5 South Ridge on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Joe Faber Field in the Class A bracket.

Roseau, in its first state tournament since 2012, plays No. 3 Duluth Marshall at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dick Putz Field in the Class AA bracket.

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Rohrich is batting .470 with an incredible 31 stolen bases in just 24 games. He's only been caught stealing one time. Rohrich also has 10 doubles, three triples and three home runs.

"He just causes problems," Bethke said. "He gets on base and a walk is a double or a triple. He also hits for some power. In the outfield, he's a difference-maker there, too. He's a weapon, for sure."

Wensloff, who's committed to play college baseball at Minnesota-Crookston, is batting .529 with 19 stolen bases. On the mound, Wensloff is 6-1 with a 0.51 earned-run average and 66 strikeouts in just a little more than 41 innings pitched. When he isn't pitching, Wensloff can play centerfield or shortstop.

"He's a phenomenal baseball player and even better human being," Weckman said. "He's one of those kids as a coach where you're thankful to have the opportunity to coach a kid like him. He does everything on the ballfield right."

In addition to Wensloff, three other Roseau batters are hitting better than .400: sophomore Noah Urness (.444), junior Cooper Flaig (.438) and Isaac's second cousin Alex Wensloff (.429).

Wensloff is one of six seniors on Roseau's team, a group Weckman said is the key to the section championship.

"Our senior group is the driving force behind our success this spring," Weckman said. "We have a phenomenal group of six seniors who have had experience and a lot of success in youth baseball and Babe Ruth and going to state in legion last year. They set the tone for us in practices and games and getting involved in community work and activities in our town."

Weckman likes Roseau's chances of making a run at state.

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"Especially after beating a perennial power like Perham," he said. "Say what you will about rankings but they're arguably one of the best in the state. The way we're playing right now I would throw us out against anybody in the state."

For Sacred Heart, Bethke hopes the program's experience can benefit the Eagles this year.

Rohrich and teammate Sam Gapp will be playing in their third state tournament, as the duo played for the Eagles as eighth-graders back in 2018 and then saw an increased role at state as freshmen in 2019.

"It does help to know what it takes," said Bethke, whose team finished third in 2019. "You have to play a whole game. Our pitchers have to stay consistent and the biggest key to me is the defense behind the pitcher. We did a good job of that in the section title game. That’ll make a big difference. Unearned runs really hurt you in a tournament like this."

Roseau

Coach: Josh Weckman.

Record: 17-6.

State matchup: Roseau vs. No. 3 Duluth Marshall, 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.

Top hitters: Sr. IF-OF Isaac Wensloff .529 batting average, 19 SBs; soph. 2B-SS Noah Urness .444; jr. OF Cooper Flaig .438, 9 2Bs, 3 HRs; sr. C-1B Alex Wensloff .429; sr. IF-OF Brady Demars .391; sr. C-1B Gavin Helgeland .385, 2 HRs; jr. SS Aaron Wensloff .317, 4 HRs; soph. IF-OF Gavin Jensen .281.

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Top pitchers: I. Wensloff 6-1, 0.51 ERA, 66 Ks, 41.3 IP; Demars 4-1, 2.60 ERA, 32 Ks, 29.6 IP; A. Wensloff 4-2, 1.52 ERA, 38 Ks, 27.6 IP.

State tournament history: The Rams have been to the state tournament nine times. They made the field in 1966, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1987, 2006 and 2012.

EGF Sacred Heart

Coach: Paul Bethke.

Record: 21-3.

State matchup: No. 4 Sacred Heart vs. No. 5 South Ridge, 1 p.m., Tuesday, at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud.

Top hitters: Sr. CF Cullen Rohrich .470, 10 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 3 HRs, 31 SBs; sr. SS Sam Gapp .373, 5 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 2 HRs; jr. 1B Breck Bloom .364, 7 2Bs, 2 HRs; fr. IF Parker Erickson .360; sr. IF Caden Reimer .324; sr. 2B Isaac Zavarol .308; sr. RF Nick Brundin .305, 2 HRs; jr. 3B Ethan Arntson .250; fr. C David Larson .227, 1 HR

Top pitchers: Gapp 6-1, 1.13 ERA, 59 Ks, 43.3 IP; Erickson 5-1, 1.98 ERA, 37 Ks, 28.3 IP; Arntson 3-0, 1.33 ERA, 15 Ks, 26.3 IP; Bloom 3-1, 3.15 ERA, 18 Ks, 20 IP

State tournament history: The Eagles have been to five state tournaments. Sacred Heart made the field in 2005, 2006, 2018 and 2019.

Related Topics: SACRED HEART
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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