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Blizzard win one for Johnny, take home 3 championships

02/26/2016, 2:15pm CST
By Christopher Thomas, Minnesota Blizzard Staff Writer

13u Blue (3rd Place) 14u Blue, 15u Blue, Varsity Blue go combined 23-2

Blizzard do well in Vegas, Utah and Myrtle Beach tournaments

Blizzard 15u Black (3-1) RMSB Tournament - St. George, UT

In a weekend that saw six Blizzard teams go a combined 24-7, the Minnesota-based elite baseball teams came home with three championships and one 3rd Place finish pushing their tournament titles to 53 and top four finishes to 139 earned since 2003.

The Blizzard 13u team saw it's first final four finish of the season going 4-2 losing their semi-final game in St. George, Utah but took away a 3rd Place finish before heading into their last tournament of the year in Arizona March 18-20.

The Blizzard 15u Blue finished the weekend as champions in a 16u age bracket outscoring opponents a whopping 63-18.

"Many players stepped up when the opportunities presented themselves," Coach Jeff Huth said.  "Addison Elcombe had a monster weekend and Michael Thomas got hot at the perfect time."

This was back to back championships out in Utah for this team.

"I am incredibly proud of the young men these boys are turning into," Coach Huth said.  "All of these players are starting to understand the bigger picture in life. I have been with these boys for a while now and am starting to see their strong baseball work ethic trickle over to every facet of their lives.The future is very bright for Minnesota baseball.

The Blizzard 14u Blue took home a championship in the same tournament going 6-0.  The Blizzard 14u, led by Coach Ryan Burmeister and Ben Moore, noticed that their team put together a solid effort - especially at the plate.

"We really hit well," Coach Burmesiter said.  "Our line up is pretty deep and we faced some good competition.  They got into a groove right away with the bats and it never stopped from there."

The Blizzard 15u Black finished 3-1 and despite a good record, didn't move on to the playoff bracket.

"We tripped a bit on the first day," Coach Andrew Woitas said.  "But we finished solid.  Most of the time, a 3-1 record gets you into the playoffs but that's baseball.  Our guys played well and it was a great tournament to end a great season.  This group of players were phenomenal."

The Blizzard 16u Blue and Blizzard Varsity Gold both went 2-2 in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Meanwhile, in the Vegas Valley Presidents Day tournament 100 miles south, the Blizzard Varsity team went 6-0 and coasted through a field of 16 teams, half of which were from Minnesota.  They won their semi-final game 5-4 against a team from Utah and won the championship 8-0 behind a complete game effort behind Cam Kline.

"The players played great and with purpose," Blizzard Coach and former Twin Al Newman said.  "Their desire to WIN for John Price was strong.  Each player was committed and focused throughout the tournament."

And while winning a championship was nice, the real goal was to go out a winner for the late Johnny Price - a Blizzard standout and leader in the program.

"To date, we have won many championships," Blizzard owner Adam Barta said.  "This one was the most important because of what it stood for.  All these guys wanted to do was win this one for Johnny.  Talk about the weight of the world on your shoulders.  It's tough enough to win in ANY tournament but the players knowing what this meant shows me - and more importantly themselves - how strong they are." 

Barta continued with the strength of the seniors in the Blizzard program.

"This was one of those special groups that is going to be hard to let go," Barta said.  "So many of these guys have been here since they were 10 and 11 years old.  Guys like Moses, Aldrich, Seibert, Novak, Freddy, Zenner and Kellner have been here since the Academy was up in Rogers.  Those guys, and countless other seniors like RT, Hanson, Eze, Teddy KGB, Stilp, Becher, Drill, Fin, Keenan, Pearson, Deruiter and Wade (and more) are all guys who have left a footprint in the Minnesota Blizzard.  My hope is that the underclassman can look up to these guys and use them as an example of how things should be done on and off the field."

Blizzard Varsity Blue - Champions

Blizzard 15u Blue - Champions in Utah

Blizzard Varsity Gold - Myrtle Beach 2-2

Al Newman with the Varsity team in Vegas

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