The 2021 Wadena-Deer Creek baseball team had a record-breaking season that culminated in the team's first trip to the state tournament since 1998.
Despite losing 3-1 in the quarterfinal game to Plainview-Elgin-Millville, the Wolverines' season was full of highlights and broken records. Head coach Kyle Dykhoff shared some of these highlights and record during the team's sendoff at Wadena-Deer Creek High School before heading to the state tournament Tuesday, June 15.
The Wolverines finished the season with a record of 25-4, which is the all-time record for wins for WDC baseball. The team also broke several records. They amassed 208 RBIs and 75 doubles, and the pitchers combined for 224 strikeouts, which are all WDC single-season records.
As far as individual players go, until this season, 40 hits was the single-season record. This year's team had three players who surpassed that: Tony Kreklau, Josh Dykhoff, and Payton Rondestvedt. Kreklau also broke the season record of 34 runs scored; he scored 46 runs. Zach Shaw tied the record for triples in a season with four.
Dykhoff also highlighted two memorable games this season: the Friday night lights game against New York Mills, which the Wolverines won in the eighth inning with a walk-off, and the Section 8AA championship game against Perham, which the Wolverines won 3-2 in nine innings. Dykhoff said that was one of the biggest highlights for him.
"Last night at practice I told these guys to cherish every moment of Friday's game [against Perham]," Dykhoff said at a send-off for the Wolverines. "That was the greatest high school baseball game that I've ever been part of. It was a rollercoaster ride from the 8th inning play at the plate to keep the game alive, to the squeeze that put us ahead and to the last out that sent us to state. That game will forever be a memory for these kids and we will talk about it for years to come."
Overall, Dykhoff has nothing but praise for his 2021 team:
"I'm proud of these boys for finally putting WDC in the state tournament. In 13 seasons our team goals for a season have gone from the hope of winning one playoff game to making the state tournament," he said. "It's taken a lot of great coaches, families, and players over the years to change that expectation for our program. I am so happy that this group was able to make the goal of a state tournament a reality. I am overwhelmed with the support from our community and the excitement only drives me to keep pushing this program. I am excited about what the future holds as the youth program continues to flourish. Good sportsmanship, hustle, and having fun are priority for WDC baseball. Congratulations to Zach Shaw, Tony Kreklau, and Corbett Wensmann on your great WDC baseball careers."