2022 News Tribune All-Area Baseball Team
Half of this year's selections will return for at least one more season in 2023.
Ben Keske capped off a stellar high school career by leading Grand Rapids to the state semifinals and maybe more importantly, a 2-0 victory over Mahtomedi in the Class AAA quarterfinal. The Zephyrs topped the Thunderhawks 20-3 in the state championship game in 2021.
While coach Bill Kinnunen will have to deal with replacing Keske and fellow All-Area team member Myles Gunderson, half the 2022 All-Area Team will return for at least one more season.
Duluth East’s Charlie Sutherland — a Minnesota recruit — and Esko’s Cale Haugen — a Class AA first team All-State selection — will return for one more run at a state title at their schools.
Several other area schools have multiple more years to break through to the state tournament. Northwood/Solon Springs pitcher and shortstop Abe Ahlberg, a sophomore, had the Green Eagles a win away from the state tournament.
Duluth Marshall went back to the state tournament for the first time since winning the Class AA title in 2019 on the back of freshmen Owen Marsolek and Max Berrisford. The pair had a disappointing debut at the state tournament after a 13-2 loss, but bounced back to win the consolation tournament over Wadena-Deer Creek.
2022 DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE ALL-AREA BASEBALL TEAM
- Also the Lakeland East Conference Player of the Year, Ahlberg led NSS in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.474), RBIs (33), and home runs (4).
The team’s sophomore pitchers have combined for four no-hitters and haven’t allowed more than six runs in any game so far this year.
The Green Eagles rallied from an early three-run deficit to take the lead, but the Ramblers took advantage of some costly mistakes to advance to the state tournament.
- The Ellsworth Community College (Iowa) recruit had a 2.47 ERA and had a .333 batting average with three home runs this season.
- A Class AA All-State selection, he batted .427 with eight doubles, five triples and two home runs. Olson also was Proctor’s closer in 2022, with an ERA of 0.88, three saves and one win.
- A Class AA All-State selection, Haugen allowed just five earned runs in eight starts and had an ERA of 0.83 in 2022.
With a batting average of 462 and 23 RBIs and an ERA of 0.58, the Esko junior hopes to lead his to a section title in the tournament that starts next week.
- Olson went 3-1 on the mound in the Panthers’ run to the Class A state tournament and had the lowest ERA (1.97) of any pitcher with at least 30 innings pitched.
- An All-Northwest District honorable mention selection, Paulsen batted .373 with a .507 on-base percentage and had 14 RBIs with 17 stolen bases.
Junior pitcher/third base/outfield
- A University of Minnesota commit, coach Chris Siljendahl could play Sutherland at almost any position on the field, including pitcher, where he went 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA and 29 strikeouts in five starts.
- An All-State selection who will attend Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge was the leadoff hitter for the Thunderhawks with a .429 batting average, 32 runs scored and 29 stolen bases.
The senior took up powerlifting in the offseason in the hopes of getting stronger and faster, eventually finishing 14th in his weight class at a national competition in March.
- Was the winning pitcher in the 2-0 win over defending state champion Mahtomedi in Class AAA quarterfinal in Chaska.
- An All-Lake Superior Conference first team selection, Berrisford also had five wins and 34 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched.
- The All-Lake Superior Conference first team selection also had a .373 batting average with 18 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
- Also an All-Lake Superior Conference selection, the senior’s 20 RBIs were double the next highest total on the team.