The Stillwater Ponies had two horses in the race for Play Ball! Minnesota 2019 Mr. Baseball.  Left handed pitcher and Minnesota Twins draft pick Drew Gilbert was named during a banquet today at Target Field.  The banquet was hosted by Minnesota Minute Men Ltd.

Twin Cities Media Personality Mike Max was the Master of Ceremonies at the event which featured former Minnesota Twin Justin Morneau as the Keynote Speaker.  Morneau told the finalists for Mr. Baseball and Ms. Softball to always remember their love of the game.  When Max asked Morneau about why the current Twins team is performing so well Morneau replied, "I thought it was funny I was up in the booth the other day here and people turn around and yell up in the booth sometimes and someone looked up in the booth and said 'you know we deserve this don't we?' and I said you know what, you're right, we do and enjoy it while it lasts. Maybe Sometimes you don't need an explanation for why things are happening.  Because it's just fun to watch and see the ball flying over the fence and have a team that's leading the league in home runs.  He added, "Hopefully it's leading to a long October run and playoff time here and we deserve that as Twins fans."

Gilbert did not pitch in Stillwater's 6-5 extra innings loss to East Ridge because he wasn't available due to the pitch count rule.  Teammate and fellow Mr. Baseball finalist Will Frisch had a shaky start to the game with a couple of walks and wild pitches in the first inning.  In 6 innings he allowed 2 hits but walked 3 batters and hit 4 with pitches.  Frisch did have 11 strikeouts.  Last year's State Champion Ponies tied the game in the bottom of the 7th but couldn't continue the magic.  Frisch went into the game with a career record of 18-1.

Gilbert did throw a 5 inning no-hitter in a 11-0 win over Eden Prairie in the first game of the Class AAAA State High School Baseball Tournament at CHS Field in St. Paul.  He struck out 10 and walked 1 while throwing 73 pitches.  Gilbert was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota.

Both Frisch and Gilbert were drafted by the Twins, both will be playing at Oregon State next season.

Neal Jeppson of Burnsville also received the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Baseball Coaches Award.

Neil Jeppson of Burnsville Receives 2019 Lifetime Achievement Baseball Coaches Award. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Other finalists for Play Ball! 2019 Minnesota Mr. Baseball were:  Will Anderson of St. Michael-Albertville, Adam Mazur of Woodbury, Ben Pedersen of Marshall School of Duluth, Trent Schoeberl of White Bear Lake Area and Evan Shaw of Fridley.