Still basking in adapted softball state tournament championship glory, five Anoka-Hennepin Mustangs have added all-tournament awards to their winning laurels.
Wells Fargo last week announced that Troy Couch, Tyler Kurkowski and Zach Theroux of the CI division and Corey Gieske and Erik Santa of the PI division have been named recipients of this year’s Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team award for adapted softball.
The award recognizes student athletes who demonstrate exceptional sportsmanship, team commitment, athletic ability and leadership during the state high school tournaments.
“Tyler and Zach are the two best athletes I have coached or seen in my 27 years of coaching adapted athletics (and) all three… really stepped up during the three games they played in the state tournament,” said Ted Johnson, CI division coach for the Mustangs.
“All three had some very important hits, driving in runs at critical times. They lead the team both offensively and defensively.”
PI division coach Peter Kutches praised his all-tournament team players, Gieske and Santa.
“They both lead by example and have awesome sportsmanship. I’m fortunate to be able to coach them both for another year,” said Kutches.
Shortstop Gieske is the guy who can turn the double play and is one of the Mustangs’ leading hitters, he said.
Not only that, “he really understands the game and helps our team stay together defensively,” Kutches said.
Mustangs pitcher Santa “is one of the smartest players I have ever coached,” according to Kutches.
“He knows exactly how to pitch to the batters when they have a certain count and he can place the ball wherever he wants on the plate,” Kutches said.
Santa led the team in RBIs and was also one of the Mustangs’ top hitters.
Athletes are selected to the Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team by a panel of coaches attending the tournament. Twenty-four awards are presented in CI and PI divisions of adapted softball.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]