by Dennis Dalman
When he was a tyke attending Kennedy Elementary School in St. Joseph, Tyler Hemmesch fell in love with T-ball. Eleven years later, that T-ball player, now a Sartell High School junior, was recently chosen to join the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers baseball team.
Hemmesch, 16, will join that team when he becomes a student there in fall 2023.
One day, he received a startling phone call that made his heart start pounding. The call was from U. of M. baseball coach Ty McDevitte who asked Hemmesch if he’d like to pitch for the Golden Gophers in a few years. The offer caused the young pitcher to become nearly speechless.
“I was startled,” he recalled. “It was cool to know they’d watched me play and liked me. It’s still pretty surreal, but I’m really excited. I have a couple friends in the Twin Cities, and they will be there too – on the Golden Gophers team. Altogether, I know about six guys who will be on the team.”
Those who know Hemmesch and have watched his pitching expertise are not surprised by his success. He is in his second year as a right-handed pitcher for the high school’s Sartell Sabres baseball team. Last year, that’s team’s record was 9 wins, 2 losses.
Last summer, when he was a member of the Twin Cities’ North Star traveling team, he pitched a no-hitter in Burnsville.
Last year, while playing a game in Alexandria, he found himself “in a bit of jam,” as he put it, because the bases were loaded with the opposing team’s members with nobody out. The catcher gave him a quick pep talk, telling him he could “lock it in.” And that’s exactly what Hemmesch did; he struck out the next three batters.
Ever since he was a tyke, Hemmesch has loved baseball. He started playing T-ball when he was a student at Kennedy Elementary School in St. Joseph. His family moved to Sartell when he was in first grade. He attended Pine Meadow Elementary, then the middle school and now the high school.
He is the son of Samantha and stepfather Nicholas Hemmesch. Tyler’s biological father is Trent Phelps.
“I always loved baseball,” he said. “So does my dad and my two younger brothers. My mother loves volleyball.”
His brothers are Emmit, 12, who is in a traveling baseball team; and Oliver, 8, who has started pitching in T-ball games. Tyler helps coach Emmit’s traveling team and also Oliver’s T-ball team.
Hemmesch’s favorite school subjects are history and science. When he becomes a U. of M. student, he will probably aim for a degree in elementary education, he said.
Currently, Hemmesch is recovering from a couple of injuries he suffered this summer.
“It’s OK,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll be better soon. My dream is to play as far up as I can, maybe as a professional. I want to see just how far baseball can take me.”
He credits his parents for encouraging his baseball successes.
“They are always driving me to places, spending extra time with me, giving me tips and my dad giving me good advice.”
When asked what he likes best about baseball, Hemmesch said this: “I like it because one person can’t do it all. Baseball is a team effort and so every team member has to interact.”