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Next, a new rivalry

By Aaron Paitich, Special to the Star Tribune, 07/18/11, 10:27AM CDT


Apple Valley teammates Gretz, Goodman will reunite in opposing Big Ten dugouts

Apple Valley players Kris Goodman, left, and Aaron Gretz. Photo courtesy of Dianne Goodman

Aaron Gretz and Kris Goodman have played on the same teams since they were 10. But next year they'll suit up as Big Ten baseball rivals.

That hasn't sunk in yet.

"We've never played [against] each other in anything, besides scrimmages," said Gretz, who will suit up for Ohio State while Goodman heads to Iowa. "It's going to be pretty weird."

Living only four blocks apart, Gretz and Goodman gave Apple Valley a great run. Both were part of the Eagles' 2010 Class 2A high school hockey state tournament team, with Gretz in goal and Goodman at forward. But it's their baseball talent that earned them a shot at Division I competition.

Jeremy Hendrickson served his first season as Eagles head coach after previously spending six years as the junior varsity skipper. When Gretz came in as a freshman, Hendrickson knew he didn't belong. Coaches bumped him up to varsity after just a couple of weeks, and he became a four-year linchpin.

"He's just been a staple – offensively, defensively – and his leadership is exactly what you want in a captain, especially a senior player," Hendrickson said.

The cleanup hitter might say he had a down year at the plate with a .322 batting average and 19 RBI, but that's already improved in his Ohio summer baseball league, where the Buckeyes initially noticed him.

As a catcher, Gretz is supreme. He registered a pop time – from catcher's glove to infielder's glove at second base – of 1.92 seconds. Anything under 2.0 is very rare at the high school level.

"I've never seen a catcher demand so much respect at the plate," Hendrickson said. "Very few teams ran on him. Even the best teams – the Burnsvilles, Eastviews – they didn't run on us at all. They knew what they were dealing with."

At shortstop and batting in the No. 3 spot was Goodman. The 6-1, 170-pounder batted .435, scoring 30 runs and notching 21 RBI in 21 games this spring. But it was his defense that surprised the coaching staff this year.

Shifting from captain of the outfield in center field to captain of the infield at shortstop was not easy. In his first game as a freshman, he committed five errors.

"It was all new to me," Goodman said. "I guess I really went through a lot of hard times. A lot of failure."

Goodman still struggled defensively as a junior at times. With more reps, experience and maturity, he dramatically cut down on the mistakes. Hendrickson called him one of the team's defensive players of the year as a senior. It didn't surprise Gretz.

"He'll do anything to win," Gretz said of Goodman. "He's definitely someone you want to have on your team, not on the other team, which I'm going to have to deal with from now on."

Big Ten schedules haven't been released yet, but when they are, these former Eagles will surely highlight the Buckeyes-Hawkeyes series.

"We'll see how that is. We're both pretty competitive," Goodman said. "I don't know how much we'll talk on the field, but after it'll be fun."

Sam Alt Centennial Senior OF North Dakota Yes
Adam Bray Eden Prairie Senior P South Dakota State Yes
Ryan Bull Eden Prairie Senior C Notre Dame Yes
Ryan Busch Roseville Senior SS Georgetown Yes
Ben Clark White Bear Lake Senior LHP North Dakota Yes
Brett Degagne Sauk Rapids-Rice Senior RHP North Dakota Yes
Padric Getchell Stillwater Senior -- North Dakota Yes
Kris Goodman Apple Valley Senior SS Iowa Yes
Aaron Gretz Apple Valley Senior C Ohio State Yes
Trevor Jaunich Delano Senior SS North Dakota State Yes
Tom Jerle Eastview Senior LHP Niagara University Yes
Pat Kelly Red Wing Senior 2B Nebraska Yes
Aaron Klatt Albert Lea Senior RHP South Dakota State Yes
Chris Knoll Holy Family Senior LHP North Dakota Yes
David Koll Stillwater Senior LHP Bradley Yes
Geno Larkin Eden Prairie Senior 1B Wagner College Yes
Lucas Long Holy Angels Senior P Arizona Yes
Austin Malinowski Centennial Senior LHP Arizona Yes
Ty McDevitt Eastview Senior LHP Minnesota Yes
Ben Meyer Totino-Grace Senior RHP Minnesota Yes
Max Murphy Robbinsdale Cooper Senior OF Bradley Yes
Tyler Ruemmele Eden Prairie Senior RHP North Dakota Yes
Toney Skjefte Eden Prairie Senior 2B Minnesota Yes
Andrew Thome St. Cloud Cathedral Senior RHP North Dakota Yes
Lance Thonvold Eden Prairie Senior RHP Minnesota Yes
Alex Twenge Minnetonka Senior RHP North Dakota Yes
Graig Weber Fridley Senior LHP Bradley Yes
Robert Youngdahl Hill-Murray Senior LHP Kansas State Yes

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