On April 9th, the MN Blizzard Elite program came together to celebrate a successful year and hand out post-season awards. Five graduating seniors gave speeches encouraging the younger kids in the program. The Blizzard Foundation held a raffle and silent auction to raise money for baseball families in need. It was an enjoyable day as families reminisced about the season that was and looked forward at what's to come.
The Blizzard program won six tournament titles this year and finished runner-up seven times and finished 3rd five times. And while winning is fun, the #BlueLove, friendship and brotherhood that is made throughout the course of a Blizzard baseball career and lifetime is what really makes this program "Elite."
Enjoy the video and check out this year's Blizzard post-season award winners!
At year’s end, the Blizzard program has an awards ceremony to recognize the top players from each team. Plaques are awarded with each player voting for their teammates in four categories: "Johnny Price" Most Valuable Player Award, "Joe Loftus" Top Hitter Award, "Logan Shore" Top Pitcher Award and the “Jake Kuschke” Leadership Award. The staff also awards one coach with the "Montana" Coach of the Year Award.
"Johnny Price (1997-2015)" Most Valuable Player Award
John Price IV has been recognized by his peers as one of the best players and teammates who has ever stepped on the field in a Blizzard uniform. He is the person every Blizzard player should strive to be – a vibrant young man who positively impacts other people’s lives and makes every one of his teammates better.
"Joe Loftus" Top Hitter Award
The "Joe Loftus" Top Hitter Award was named for one of the best hitters to come through MBA and the Blizzard program - Joe Loftus. Joe was a top prep athlete in Minnesota, attending Holy Angels Academy HS, where he set many of their offensive record - most notably hitting more homeruns in high school than Joe Mauer. Loftus was drafted by the Minnesota Twins out of high school, but decided to attend Vanderbilt University where he helped his team reach the College World Series in 2011. Loftus was drafted and signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"Logan Shore" Top Pitcher Award
Right-handed pitcher Logan Shore was one of Minnesota Blizzard’s premier pitchers from 2006-2013 serving as the ace on almost every team he played on. Leading his team to six national tournament championships and four top-four finishes in his tenure, Shore will be known as one of the fiercest competitors in the Blizzard program’s history.
Logan’s impact on the Blizzard program, however, outweighs his accomplishments on the mound by being everything the Blizzard Big 5 stands for – outstanding leadership, loyalty, humility, hardworking and phenomenal teammate.
“Jake Kuschke” Leadership Award
Jake Kuschke, a 2012 graduate, played in the Blizzard program for four years and demonstrated all the characteristics of being a leader. This award not only demonstrates achievements on the field, but more importantly, the leadership off the field. The “Jake Kuschke” Leadership Award is awarded to the player who demonstrates the ability to being a great teammate, a mentor to younger players, a great student, hard worker and is always there for those who need to be 'picked up'.
"Blue gLove" Top Defensive Player Award
This award, named after a common phrase that you hear often in the Blizzard program - #BlueLove, is given to the top defensive player on each respective team. The "Blue gLove" award holds all the attributes that you want out of a top defender in the Blizzard program: steady, reliable defense, hard work and relentless work ethic on and off the field.
"Montana" Coach of the Year Award
Steve Daugherty is regarded as one of the top coaches of the program and a player favorite. As one of the first coaches in the Blizzard program, "Montana" has gone over the top in his efforts in making the Blizzard program one of the best in the country. In 2009, the first Manager of the Year Award went to Steve and was named after a program favorite - Steve "Montana" Daugherty.
|Age||"Johnny Price" MVP||"Logan Shore" Top Pitcher||"Joe Loftus" Top Hitter||"Jake Kuschke" Leadership||"Blue gLove" Award|
|11u||Sam Erickson||Sam Erickson||Sam Erickson||Carson Schwartz||Carson Schwartz|
|12u||Weston Russell||Weston Russell||Keenan Rodriguez||Hayden Torgerson||Mark Olberding|
|13u||Easton Fritcher||Easton Fritcher||Isaac Buehler||Trenton Burkhalter||Isaac Buehler|
|14u||Bennett McCollow||Joey Hurth||Bennett McCollow||Ben Reinhard||Joe Longo|
|15u Black||Jon Koehn||Duke Coborn||Rodney Erickson||Nick Harris||Jon Koehn|
|15u Blue||Jack Erickson||Zach Carden||Jack Erickson||Jack Erickson||Anthony LaValle|
|16u Black||Jakob Kouneski||Ben Pedersen||Jakob Kouneski||Hunter Guyette||Will Olsen|
|16u Blue||Will Frisch||Will Frisch||Marcus Cline||Eathan Soeffker||Charlie Rubendall|
|Varsity Black||Nathan Berg||Leo Pfarr||Nathan Berg||Max Ploof||Nic Nelson|
|Varsity Blue||Sam Carlson||Sam Carlson||Cam Kline||Cole Albers||Cole Albers|
|Varsity Red||Trenton Fredenburg||Aidan Maldonado||Trenton Fredenburg||Trenton Fredenburg||Cole Pengilly|
"Montana" Coach of the Year - Jake Kurth (11u)