Area Baseball: Pierz's Tautges named Class 2A Player of the Year
It's been a crazy week for Matt Tautges. The Pierz Pioneers senior was part of the school's all-time winningest baseball team that finished second in the Class 2A state tournament with Monday's 6-4 loss to Minnehaha Academy in Monday's championsh...
It's been a crazy week for Matt Tautges.
The Pierz Pioneers senior was part of the school's all-time winningest baseball team that finished second in the Class 2A state tournament with Monday's 6-4 loss to Minnehaha Academy in Monday's championship game at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The sting of defeat was deadened slightly as Tautges was named the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches' Association Class 2A Player of the Year Thursday night at its end of year banquet.
Tautges, who was sitting next to teammate Lane Girtz, thought it would be amazing to win, but figured it was just a thought.
"It was pretty surprising," Tautges said. "Lane and I were sitting next to each other. We figured it would go to somebody else. Not one of us anyway. Then when my name was called, it was pretty shocking, I guess."
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- School: Pierz
- Sport: Baseball
- Position: Pitcher, shortstop
- What's new: Named Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 2A Player of the Year
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Even Pierz head coach Danny Saehr was shocked, but not as much as Tautges.
"I was surprised, but at the same time not surprised because he's very deserving of it," said Saher. "It's a tremendous honor. It really is. When you pick one player from each class, that's about as good an honor as it gets for baseball when you're talking about individual awards."
Friday morning, Tautges and the rest of the players selected for the Play Ball Minnesota High School All-Star Series were hosting a Miracle League clinic and then being shuttled to Chaska for the Cambria Home Run Derby before the actual All-Star games were to be played.
"It's been a pretty tiring couple of weeks," said Tautges. "We've had a lot of practices and a lot of emotions going through with everything. It's pretty hectic."
Pierz finished the high school season with a 26-3 record. It's the most wins in program history.
In 13 mound appearances, Tautges finished 10-1 with a 0.83 ERA. He struck 89 batters and walked 19 over 75 ⅔ innings. He allowed just 55 hits and nine earned runs.
"He's just been an absolute rock," Saehr said. "Obviously, everyone looks at his pitching stats, but his competitiveness in the field and as a hitter, the kid is just a gamer. He's just so clutch. He's come through in so many big situations for us."
At the plate, he batted .344 with 31 hits, 28 runs, eight doubles, three triples, 21 walks and 15 RBis. He stole 14 bases and finished with a .460 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
"We were pretty proud of ourselves because we made it farther than any other Pierz team had," Tautges said. "After the game we told ourselves that most teams don't get to play at Target Field so just to have the chance to play there is pretty cool.
"Just playing where the Twins play and a lot of other Major League players play, players you look up to and try to model your games after, was pretty crazy."
Tautges will attend school at St Scholastica next season. While his hitting wasn't where he wanted it to be this season, he said his career at Pierz will be one to remember.
"I would say I'm pretty satisfied with what I was able to accomplish there," Tautges said. "I had a great career there. I was surrounded by great people. Having that fan base behind you the whole time was pretty amazing, too. I have nothing to complain about."
Tautges was also named to the Class 2A All-State Team along with teammate Lane Girtz. Crosby-Ironton's Jake Larson was also named to the team. Little Falls' Austin Weisz was named to the Class 3A All-State Team.
Brainerd, Little Falls and Pierz earned All-Academic Silver Team honors.
Girtz and C-I's Noah Gindorff were named Class 2A All-Academic Individuals.