Payton Rondestvedt was an extra-base hit machine last week.
The Wadena-Deer Creek junior went 4-4 with three doubles last week in a win against Pequot Lakes Thursday, May 6. He followed that with a three-RBI game against Parkers Prairie Friday, May 7, with his lone hit being a double.
He also toes the rubber for the Wolverines and in his most recent start against Staples-Motley Monday, May 10, he pitched six innings, allowed no runs on one hit and struck out 10 to get the win.
“Any game that he pitches we are going to be in,” WDC head coach Kyle Dykhoff said. “He throws a lot of strikes and has good stuff.”
At the plate against the Cardinals, he ripped his fifth double in three games to help the Wolverines to a 3-1 win.
“I’ve made some adjustments with my swing and was trying to do whatever it takes to help our team get the win,” Rondestvedt said. “I just changed my stance a little bit and widened up, so I could get better rotation.”
Rondestvedt’s approach is to attack right away. He likes to jump on the first fastball he sees in the zone.
“Most of my players, and Payton is one of them, are aggressive,” Dykhoff said. “They get up there ready to swing the bat and the first good pitch he sees he’s going to be hacking. He’s stayed aggressive and finally, those balls that weren’t dropping early in the season have found gaps and holes.”
In the lineup, Rondestvedt is positioned in the cleanup spot behind Josh Dykhoff, Tony Kreklau and Zach Shaw. All three are capable of setting the table for Rondestvedt.
“It’s really good to get them in position and they’re really good at finding a way on,” Rondestvedt said. “It helps to get RBIs and scoring runs is a lot easier having them in front of me.”
Kyle Dykhoff added: “He’s our four-hitter and he’s going to be driving in runs. He really did step up big last week. Him and Josh (Dykhoff) our three-four hitters were really frustrated that they were not hitting up to their potential and they really stepped it up.”
The top of the lineup is a strength for the Wolverines.
“Those core four are our rock,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “They’ve been consistently putting up numbers all year long and after that, we have a lot of young guys who haven’t had a lot of varsity experience with having last year off. So I have been very pleased with their ability to put balls in play and make things happen.”
The five doubles in three games are why Rondestvedt finds himself in the cleanup spot.
“His ability for extra-base hits and to drive in runs with the speed we have at the top of the lineup, he comes up with guys on base a lot,” Kyle Dykhoff said.
On the mound, Rondestvedt wants to throw strikes and give W-DC an opportunity to win.
“I want to get ahead right away and just stay ahead in the count,” he said. “Just mixing up pitches and trying to keep the hitters off-balance.”
When he’s not pitching, Rondestvedt plays shortstop and when he’s not in the field he’ll usually be the designated hitter.
Coming into the season, Kyle Dykhoff knew his Wolverines would have success, but he didn’t know how much.
“Offensively, they have surprised me,” he said. “That was a big question mark coming into the season. Defensively, we aren’t where I want to be yet, but part of that is because we are learning where guys belong.”
Rondestvedt is the quarterback of the WDC football team. He plays on the basketball team, but his favorite sport is baseball.
“I just like having all the guys around and the atmosphere is really fun,” Rondestvedt said. “We got some young guys and some older guys, so we have all been playing together the last few years and it’s been fun to grow together and put a good ball team together.”
Kyle Dykhoff likes the fact that Rondestvedt excels at multiple sports.
“We promote all our kids to be multi-sport athletes,” Dykhoff said. “Because it’s important you need everyone to have success. We push for that and it definitely helps when kids are staying active and playing multiple sports.”
What has helped Rondestvedt perform at a high level is his improvements in strength and conditioning as well as the mental part of athletics.
“I am a lot more comfortable now than I was when I was younger,” he said. “I know what to do in certain situations and try to be in the right position to make a good play.”
In practice and games, Kyle Dykhoff called Rondestvedt a dream to coach.
“He is disciplined, respectful, hard-working and a lucky kid to meet,” he said.
Other notable performances:
Baseball: Josh Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 3-4 with a double and struck out seven against Pequot Lakes.
Jace Ince, Aitkin, went 3-3 with two doubles, four RBIs against Pine City.
Zach Gwost, Little Falls, threw a no-hitter against St. Cloud Cathedral and also ripped a double for two RBIs.
Gus Sanford, Aitkin, hit a home run and tallied five RBIs against Crosby-Ironton.
Kolten Happke, Pierz, tallied three hits and four RBIs in two games against Zimmerman.
Konnor King, Pine River-Backus, ripped a home run and tallied six hits in two games against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and also earned a win.
Sam Rysavy, Pequot Lakes, went 5-5 with three doubles, four runs and five RBIs in a game against Park Rapids.
Jonah Prokott, Pierz, struck out 10 in a complete-game shutout of Minnewaska.
Golf: Beck Erholtz, Staples-Motley, won at Headwaters Golf Club with a 2-under 70.
Lance Otremba, Pierz, won at Little Falls Country Club with an 82.
Logan Herold, Pierz, won at Spring Brook Golf Course with an 82.
Track and Field: Quintin Laveau, Pillager, won three events at home event.
School: Wadena-Deer Creek
Highlights: He went 4-4 with three doubles against Pequot Lakes and 1-1 with a double and three RBIs against Parkers Prairie. Struck out 10 in six shutout innings against Staples-Motley.