PLATO – It was another exciting season in the Crow River Valley League in 2019. The CRVL once again had multiple teams (Cologne and Young America) in the final weekend of the Class C State Tournament.
At the fall CRVL meeting, the league, as a whole, looked back on the season while also announcing the league and team Most Valuable Players and Pitchers of the Year.
Carver’s Andrew Weber was selected as the 2019 CRVL Pitcher of the Year. Weber helped lead the Black Sox to the CRVL South Division title in 2019.
In the regular season, Weber posted an ERA of 2.06 in 56 innings of work. He also led the CRVL in strikeouts with 65, while finishing with a record of 7-1.
Young America’s Matt Mann was named the CRVL Most Valuable Player. He received eight of the 13 votes by the league after putting up another monster season for the Cardinals.
In the regular season, Mann hit .417 for the Cardinals, while also leading them in home runs (4), doubles (7), and RBI (17).
In the entire CRVL, Mann finished in the top-five in every offensive category. His .417 average was good enough for third-best, only behind Plato’s Chris Odegaard and Green Isle’s Aaron Brush. He was tied for fifth in the CRVL in RBI with 17, while also second in home runs, second in runs scored, and third in doubles.
While Weber and Mann brought home the league awards, each team in the CRVL also announced their team MVPs and POYs. Below is a look at each team’s MVPs and POYs.
CRVL Team MVPs
The Brownton Bruins were one of the best teams in the CRVL in 2019, and Spencer Glaeser was a big reason why. In the leadoff spot, Glaeser hit .266 for the Bruins this year, to go along with three doubles and nine RBI.
While Glaeser was leader at the top of the batting order for Brownton, his biggest impact for the Bruins came in the outfield. Glaeser has historically been one of the top center fielders in the CRVL the past few years, and 2019 was no different.
(Carver Black Sox)
Carver’s Kyle Dalton continued to be one of the most feared hitters in the CRVL once again this season. With his powerful bat in the lineup, along with his ability to play a flawless shortstop, Dalton and the Black Sox won the CRVL South Division title this past season.
At the plate, Dalton had another big year. He finished with a batting average of .411, which was the fifth-highest in the CRVL. He also led the league in triples with three, while leading Carver with 16 RBI.
Cologne’s Kyle Brazil is a nightmare for pitchers to face in the left-handed batters box. Brazil has as much power as anyone else in the CRVL, and was a big reason for the Hollanders making the state tournament for the first time in 47 years.
For the season, Brazil finished with an average of .413, which ranked him fourth in the CRVL. He was also tied for third in doubles, and led the Hollanders with three home runs and 19 RBI.
(Green Isle Irish
One of the most impactful newcomers this season in the CRVL was Green Isle’s Cameron Smrekar. In his fist year in the CRVL, all Smrekar did was turn heads.
Smrekar hit .350 for the Irish, to lead them back to the Region 7C Tournament and the Class C state tournament. He also led the Irish in doubles (8) and RBI (21).
It was a bit of a surprise to see the Glencoe Brewers as the No. 2 seed in the Region 7C Tournament this past season. A big reason for that was the play of Paxton Jordahl.
Jordahl hit .303 on the season for the Brewers while leading the team in home runs.
One of the toughest outs to get when facing the Hamburg Hawks is when Jacob Hokanson digs into the batter’s box. Hokanson is no easy out for the Hawks, and he was the leader offensively for Hamburg this season.
For the year, Hokanson had 14 hits, which led him to a .333 average. He not only hit for average, but also drove in 13 runs which tied him for the 13th most in the CRVL.
(New Germany Dutchmen)
While the New Germany Dutchmen are a young bunch, veteran Peter Kroells continue to produce. No matter what, Kroells continues to be one of top top hitters for the Dutchmen each and every year.
An average of .280 for Kroells kept him in the lineup on a daily basis, as he was counted on for his leadership all season long with the younger players.
While it certainly was a down year for the Plato Bluejays, all Chris Odegaard did was put up big numbers once again.
Despite not making the Region 7C Tournament, Odegaard led the league in hitting with a .440 average. He also led the league in home runs with five, and was second in runs scored with 21.
(Watertown Red Devils)
The name Patrick Tschida is a regular on this list. Arguably one of the top players in the CRVL, Tschida once again helped lead his team to the Region 7C tournament.
Tschida had another big season offensively, as he finished with a .319 batting average. He also had 12 RBI, 13 runs scored, and hit two home runs to lead the Red Devils.
It may have been a lost season for the Waconia Lakers after being ruled ineligible, but that didn’t stop Ronnie Olson from having a big season. Despite not being eligible for the playoffs, Olson was one of the top players in the CRVL this season.
Olson finished with 15 runs scored and 10 RBI, which both ranked near the top in the CRVL. He also had six doubles and 15 walks to lead the way for the Lakers.
It was a breakout season for Winsted’s Nate Tesch. After a slow start to the season, Tesch came on strong late, helping the Wildcats reach the Region 7C Tournament.
For the season, Tesch hit .395, which was the sixth-highest batting average in the CRVL in 2019. He also had a team-high six doubles to go along with eight RBI and seven runs scored.
Mann was the CRVL MVP after his big season. He was at, or near the top in the every statistical category at the plate.
CRVL Team POYs
If there is one guy you don’t want to face in a big game, it’s Brownton’s Ryan Grams. No matter who the Bruins are playing, Grams gives them an immediate chance to win when he’s on the mound.
He finished third in the CRVL in strikeouts with 63 while posting an ERA of 2.44 in 73 innings of work. Grams’ 73 innings pitched was also a league-high as he carried the load for the Brownton pitching staff.
(Carver Black Sox)
Weber was the CRVL Pitcher of the Year this season. In big games, Weber was nearly perfect as he led the Black Sox to the division title and a state tournament appearance.
Coming into this season, nobody really knew the name Christian Johnson. That changed quickly as he not only became one of the top pitchers for the Cologne Hollanders, but also in the CRVL.
Johnson’s big season led the Hollanders to the final weekend of the state tournament, which was their first appearance in 47 years.
Johnson had a 2.81 ERA in 32 innings of work, and collected 47 strikeouts while posting a record of 4-0 in the regular season.
(Green Isle Irish)
Dylan McCormick was a nice addition for the Green Isle Irish who needed to add some depth to their pitching staff. After winning the state title last season with Plato, McCormick joined the Irish and quickly became their ace.
As the season went on, McCormick only got better. He had a clutch performance against his former team in the first league playoff game, and helped the Irish get back to the state tournament.
The one thing the Glencoe Brewers were missing the past few seasons was an ace pitcher. That spot was filled by Cole Petersen.
Petersen’s presence gives Glencoe a legitimate ace pitcher who can step up and take over a game. He nearly had a no-hitter this season, and only got better as the season went on. Petersen was a big reason the Brewers were the No. 2 seed in the Region 7C Tournament, and the CRVL North division champions.
Dawson Hensley was the go-to arm for the Hawks in 2019. With 35 innings pitched, Hensley posted an ERA of 3.34. He’s a guy that could help the Hawks take another step forward in 2020.
(New Germany Dutchmen)
Every team needs one pitcher they can rely on, and for the New Germany Dutchmen, that’s Mike McGill.
While wins were hard to come by this season for the Dutchmen, McGill kept them in games on the mound. He racked up 32 strikeouts in the regular season in 31 innings pitched.
Death, taxes, and Chris Odegaard being one of the top pitchers in the CRVL. That’s all that is guaranteed in life.
Odegaard had another strong season for the Bluejays on the mound, finishing with an ERA of 2.17 in 58 innings of work. He also racked up 50 strikeouts.
(St. Boni Saints)
The St. Boni Saints surely had their struggles this season, but pitcher Aaron Jensen was a standout player for them.
Jensen finished with an ERA of 5.86 as the workhorse pitcher for the Saints. He threw almost 51 innings while striking out 35.
(Watertown Red Devils)
One of the toughest left-handed pitchers to face in the CRVL had another big season. Tschida led the Red Devils back to the Region 7C tournament once again.
Tschida was second in the CRVL in strikeouts with 64, while also posting an ERA of 2.34 in 57 innings of work.
In 2019, there was no better pitcher in the CRVL than Waconia’s Kodey Simon. Each time Simon took the mound, he was dominant for the Lakers.
Simon led the CRVL with an ERA of 0.69 in 39 innings of work. He also racked up 47 strikeouts and finished with five wins.
The Winsted Wildcats rely a ton on ace pitcher Shane Khan, and he delivered this season. Khan had one of his better seasons for the Wildcats, leading them to the Region 7C tournament.
Khan finished with four wins this season, while posting an ERA of 2.38 in 37 innings of work. He also ranked fifth in strikeouts with 48.
Young America’s Josh Lenz burst onto the scene in 2018 with an unreal performance at the state tournament. 2019 was no different, as the ace for the Cardinals led them on another deep postseason run.
For the season, Lenz finished with an ERA of 1.98 in 36 innings of work while piling up 40 strikeouts.