#10 We’ll start in class B Jackson Hankey and Will Zimmerman come in tied at number ten. They’ve done all they can possibly do to lead a very good pitching staff. Jackson Hankey threw a no-hitter against Pembina County North in his first start of the year and Zimmerman has also not given up an earned run yet this year.
#9 Calen Schwabe of Thompson has his team out to an unbeaten start, he’s responsible for three of those wins including a no-hitter in his last start against Larimore. Schwabe has nine innings of work with nine K’s and just one earned run.
#8 Michael Kelly of Oakes is a great all-around athlete. He is imposing standing in at 6-1, 285. He’s already got two complete game shutouts in his three starts this year and one of those was a 17 strikeout performance vs. Oak Grove. According to his coach Larry Engel, Mike has good control and changes speeds effectively.
#7 Bjorn Swanson of Shanley is another junior lefty who always seems to be ahead in the count. He nails his first pitch for strikes almost 70% of the time. He’s hasn’t given up an earned run in his last two starts including a complete game shutout against West Fargo. So far this year he’s got 16K’s versus only five walks.
#6 Baden Ripplinger is fearless on the mound for Grand Forks Red River. He’s one of the hardest throwers in the state and has been overpowering as a junior this year. Ripplinger hurled 14 strikeouts in a complete game two-hit shutout against West Fargo a couple of weeks ago.
#5 Mike Glanville of West Fargo Sheyenne has given the Mustangs a true ace this year. He’s 2-0 so far and is coming off of a 13 strikeout performance in his last start.
#4 Brock Reller has revitalized a Grand Forks Central team this year with a 3-0 start. He’s a hard throwing juior lefty who commands three pitches. In a recent write up in the Grand Forks Herald his coach Tim Gregoire said, “There's a feeling that he'll always give us a chance to win, if we do our job behind him.'' Reller is dominant with 28 K’s so far in his three efforts.
#3 Jordan Mann of Bismarck might have the best bulldog mentality on the mound. It’s hard to pick an ace from the deep pitching staff of the Demons who also throw Mason Fode, Harris Rice and Cullen Irey on the hill with complete confidence. But Mann has been lights out so far, he’s 3-0 on the young season. He threw a one-hitter in Jamestown where he’ll play in college next year and held Century to four hits earlier this year. Jordan features a fastball complimented with a devastating slider and change. He’s not afraid to pitch to contact and induces a lot of ground balls. His coach Jim Patton loves his leadership, he said “He commands four pitches, can handle a huge workload and bounce back in five days. Most importantly, he competes like no other! With or without his best stuff, you know he expects to win and will battle as such. He’s a pitcher with a linebacker’s mentality. Body language and composure never change. Just a smart, likeable, athletic kid!”
#2 West Fargo lost a lot from last year but one important piece they brought back was pitcher Hunter Ulmer who has been one of the reasons the Packers are atop my rankings. Ulmer hasn’t given up a run yet this season and has gotten out to a 3-0 start. He has 20 strikeouts in his 16 innings and given up just three hits. His coach Brett Peterson says “He is doing a great job of getting ahead in the count early and locating all three of his pitches.”
#1 The top pitcher is Dalton Feeney, not much surprise there. Carson Wentz isn’t the only Bismarck native anticipating the draft. Feeney has multiple major league baseball scouts looking at him every time he pitches as he gets ready for the MLB draft on June 9. The reason he’s getting looks? How about his mid-90s fastball and unmatched command. Last Thursday night he pitched the third perfect game in Century history. In that game he faced 21 batters and struck out 18. His coach Mike Gustavsson continues to be impressed every time Dalton takes the field, he said, “Dalton is a great athlete. He brings a lot of confidence to our team. Anytime he is on the hill or at the plate he gives us a chance to win.” Dalton has signed to play at Missouri in the SEC next year but will wait to see how the draft pans out before seeing what his next step in baseball will be.
Best of the rest
Alec Battest, Beulah
Drake Flesche, West Fargo
Mason Fode, Bismarck
Braxton Hewitt, Carrington
Alex Horner, Century
Boston Horob, Williston
Kendall Jones, Dickinson
Lucas Mohn, Hatton-Northwood
Conor Taney, Minot