BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Yankton Press & Dakotan
June 15, 2016 | Baseball Camp Hosted By Miami Marlins Scout Hank Krause
YANKTON, S.D. — A trio of ballplayers stood out in front of college coaches and Miami Marlins scout Hank Krause during a tryout camp hosted by Krause and Mount Marty College on Wednesday at Bob Tereshinski Stadium at Riverside Field.
Chase Kortan, Zach Puetz, and Nick Phelps were all pulled aside by Krause, a scout of 43 years, after a round of batting practice and each was asked to bat again against the top three pitchers of the camp.
“We don’t get to see that kind of pitching and it was really cool to finally hit off of a pitcher that can bring it,” Puetz said.
Puetz plays American Legion ball for Volga and is an upcoming senior at Sioux Valley High School, where he plays basketball, but focuses more on baseball a sport where he will go wherever it takes him.
“I would love to have a college experience,” Puetz said. “That has been my goal ever since I could swing a baseball bat, to play in college and maybe even bigger than that.”
Performing well during the camp in front of a Major League Baseball scout gave Puetz a boost in confidence.
“Just talking to him just gave me the opportunity and thought process that I can make it,” Puetz said. “Now I’ve just got to work hard and hopefully that pays off for me.”
Kortan not only showed off his skills at the plate, but showed off his speed by having one of the top timed 60-yard-dashes during the camp.
“That shows you all the hard work and focus and everything that goes into it in the offseason,” Kortan said. “When it gets here, it’s good to show in front of these coaches, it’s fun to be noticed.”
Kortan will have a busy summer ahead of him playing legion for Tabor and playing for the Sioux Falls Titans traveling team, as well as attending football and baseball camps before his senior year at Bon Homme.
“Phelps from Kingsley, Iowa, a shot and disc champion, he’s one that has tremendous athletic ability, Kortan has tremendous athletic ability, and the kid from Volga, South Dakota,” Krause said.
Krause and the Marlins put on camps like these, not just for the athletes, but to help college coaches find players that might have never seen as coaches from Wayne State (NCAA Division II), Buena Vista (NCAA D-III), Briar Cliff (NAIA), Morningside (NAIA), Mount Marty (NAIA), and Northwestern (NAIA) attended the camp. The coach of South Dakota State (NCAA D-I) attended the camp a year ago.
Coach Andy Bernatow and Mount Marty receive a slight recruiting advantage by hosting the camp on their field. Mount Marty signed two players from last year’s camp.
“There’s a recruiting stand point and a showcase standpoint of letting people see our facility and letting them know you have a nice field,” Bernatow said. “A lot of the times that attractiveness gets you some more attention in terms of the recruiting world.
“That helps the interest level and kids know that we’re out there and a viable place for them to come.”
Northwestern coach Brian Wede has had a little bit of success recruiting in South Dakota and likes the draw that Krause and the Marlins bring to the camp.
“You get a chance to see some kids that we don’t normally get to see and get our face out there and promote our program the best we can,” Wede said. “About 10 to 15 kids will play college baseball if they want to.”
Krause’s job also entails watching the athletes to know who they are so they can keep track of them as well as pass names on to coaches that may have not been in attendance.
“That’s how we survive, we have to have these kids’ names out and we need kids out to get their names to coaches,” Krause said. “When I get home, there’s about three or four kids’ names I am going to send to coaches and say, ‘Hey, you better take a look at this guy.’”
Krause has spent all of his years scouting in South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and the western half of Minnesota and has hosted camps like these that saw a handful of players make it to the big leagues.
“I’ve done it for 43 years, I am getting old, but I get around these kids, I feel young again because these kids want to play and we want to give them every opportunity to play,” Krause said.