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SPORTS WRAP

Teagun Ahrens, owatonna, baseball
RCTC athlete Teagun Ahrens eyes the pitcher during an at-bat. Ahrens is batting .268 with 18 RBIs to start his college career. Photo courtesy RCTC
Ahrens shining with new team
By
Roy Koenig, Sports Analyst
sports wrap, roy koenig, owatonna, sports

Teagun Ahrens (OHS grad ’23) has rolled right into a big role with Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) baseball, playing in 34 of the team’s 37 games as of last week.

He’s enjoyed meeting new people and working on his Spanish with the Yellowjackets’ international roster, which includes players from Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The team clinched the division championship, and playoffs are coming up.

“It definitely was a lot harder to get used to because you go from high school where kids are throwing maybe upper 70s to like 80 mph. And now guys are averaging around 82 or 83. We’ve definitely seen some guys that have been throwing upper 80s,” said Ahrens.

He’s hitting .268 with 18 RBI, six extra-base hits, and is seven-for-seven on stolen bases. Ahrens has eight pitching appearances, all in relief. He’s 2-0 with nine strikeouts in 8.1 innings. Ahrens was All-Big Nine last spring, hitting .310 with three home runs and 16 RBI for the Huskies. He hit several homers in summer ball as well.

A season highlight was a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in early March to play five games over three days. Ahrens got his first collegiate hit there, a two-run double to the wall. He doesn’t believe the ball got saved.

The roster has 18 pitchers, so he says you’ve got to take your opportunity when it comes. He credits pitching coach Matteo Finocchi.

“All of our pitchers, including me, have definitely progressed quite a bit,” he said.

Early on, Ahrens mostly came in to face lefties.

“But recently I’ve had some good outings. I went two perfect innings, no hits allowed, in my last appearance. That was cool,” he said.

He has the unique ability to throw left or right-handed. However, his six-fingered glove hasn’t been used a lot even though Finocchi was excited at the prospect.

“I gave it a shot in an alumni game… it didn’t go too hot,” he said. He has only thrown left-handed in games. He also plays first base.

Playoffs are coming up shortly, and the goal is to make it to the junior college nationals in New York.

“We’ve been playing really well recently. I think there’s definitely a good shot.”

Ahrens is focusing on his generals at RCTC with the ultimate goal of pursuing environmental science or agricultural science at a four-year school while still playing baseball.

 

Shooting for low score

OHS girls golf is looking to contend in the Big Nine and section. They were third in the conference in 2023 and advanced to the second day of sections. Coach Jason Kaytor says the players are dedicated.

“They put time into it, and that’s really what you need to do with golf,” he said.

There are several sophomores playing varsity.

“They’re all together, and when you get that type of group, you tend to push each other. In golf in particular, it’s like, ‘I want to be better than that person or I just want to do the same as them,’” he said.

The one senior, Danika Kaytor, helps the young players fit in.

“I try to make them talk as much as they can. Be themselves. I know when I was in seventh grade, I was really scared to be on varsity with these seniors. And so, I really just want them to be able to speak their mind and not be scared to talk to me or anyone else.”

Sophomore Carmen Jirele is a two-time state qualifier and has been shooting in the 70’s this season. To reach the team’s goals she said, “I just want everyone individually to try and be the best they can be. And yes, it’s a team sport but we need each individual person to do the best they can.”

Paige Thompson is a sophomore. She told the Owatonna Live Coaches Show you can’t get sidetracked by a mistake.

“If you hit a bad shot, you have to focus and try to make the next one better. It’s a lot of mental. So, if you hit a bad shot then the next one can be bad and then scores add up really fast,” she said.

Thompson also noted the team’s chemistry being a strong part of its game. “I think we all get along so well. That helps that we just push each other.”

Jason Kaytor says the Huskies have played well against the teams they need to beat.

“Northfield is going to be very hard to catch but we feel if we have a good day and maybe they’re a little bit off that we can be right with them. As far as sections, it’s the same thing. I feel we are one or two.”

OHS beat Lakeville North recently. Lakeville South went to state last season.

 

Cancer run

From the Heart and Soul Run returned to the first Saturday in May last weekend. Organizer Beth Svenby said she was pleased with about 300 pre-registered when I caught up with her at Friday’s shirt pick-up. Rain greeted runners and walkers for the 5k and kids’ fun run the next morning. Money raised benefits Sawyer Wobig, Tracy Granquist and Joe Nelson in their fight against cancer. Last year, the event was held in October. The first From the Heart was in 2008.

 

Parks and more

It’s time to get outside. Owatonna Parks and Recreation has been busy getting the parks in shape for spring and summer. Manager Jesse Wilker joined Karen Hale on Straight Talk on Owatonna Live.

“We have 31 parks. So, we’re busy all the time. We’ve got a lot of acres to take care of and we’ve got them all ready to go,” said Wilker.

He said that includes getting about 300 garbage cans placed around the city, many of which get stored away over the winter.

“There’s a lot of things that you don’t think about that we need to do each day,” he said. Restrooms are also now open.

Wilker says trail resurfacing is a big project this year.

“Seal coating some of the trails. Also a few of the parking lots and roadways. We’re redoing the River Springs parking lot… That’s what we’re really focusing on this year with our capital improvements projects.”

Brooktree Golf Course had some renovations done to the clubhouse and to Lacey’s Restaurant, but a few changes were made on the course.

“We added railings on all the bridges out there for safety. They just had little bumpers before, but now have railings. We added a couple of stairs to a few of the tees, instead of walking on the grass to get up to the tees,” said Wilker.

The course had an early start this spring, “We opened March 12 for a few days with the mild winter, and that’s the earliest I can remember in the 27 years I’ve been with the city. Then it got to be a regular spring, so we opened officially on April 5,” said Wilker.

 

OwatonnaLive.com play-by-play schedule

Thursday, May 9
OHS softball vs. Mankato West, 4 p.m. (doubleheader)
OHS JV boys lacrosse vs. Rochester, 6 p.m.
OHS boys lacrosse vs. Rochester, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, May 13
OMS choir concert, 7 p.m.
OHS JV girls lacrosse vs. Rochester JM, 6 p.m.
OHS girls lacrosse vs. Rochester JM, 7:15 p.m.
Medford baseball vs NRHEG, 4:30 pm

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