by Mike Knaak
Three Sartell High School baseball players where recently honored – but not for their on-field skills.
The three where recognized by Diamond King Baseball (formerly Hardball Hotel Baseball) for their traits of humility, accountability, resiliency and discipline.
The awards were presented at a July 21 St. Cloud Rox game.
Jake Schlelonka, a senior, was awarded for humility. Riley Ahrndt, a senior, was honored for accountability.
A third Sartell student, Dylan Notsch, received honorable mention.
The players were nominated by baseball coach Jerome Nemanich.
The Diamond King Award is a major-league-size bat produced by Delano Bats, and is engraved with the player’s name, school and character trait. Including this year’s class, 30 high school baseball players have been honored with the award.
Nemanich’s nomination described Schelonka as a “hard-working, positive ball player on the field. In our conference, we’ve faced really tough pitching, and have been in a lot of one-run games. Jake has been on both sides of the wins and losses and has handled both with class. I run a program in the summer called Sandlot, where high school players pitch to kids in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Jake is the most personable player toward the younger kids, and they respect him. He has a knack for working with youth, using both his love for the game of baseball and his patience with kids.”
About Ahrndt, Nemanich said “what really stands out to me about Riley when it comes to accountability and discipline is his work ethic in the off-season. This past fall, he made the decision to work out with the hockey team, and he’s not even a part of that program. It was a physical workout program, and not something he was required to do. He’s a very competitive kid, and a good teammate who wants to win. When it comes to accountability, I remember losing a one-run game against Alexandria, but the next night, with the same pitcher on the mound and Riley playing short, Riley came in to the mound, told our pitcher, ‘We got this one,’ and it helped our pitcher get the final five outs and get us the win.”
All three plan to play college baseball. Schelonka and Ahrndt plan to attend St. Scholastica. Notsch will attend University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Alec Dietl, a Foley High School junior, was honored for resiliency and Luke Imdieke, a junior from Osakis High School, was honored for discipline.