Familiar faces but foes for a day — Frenzel to face old college coach
When the Roughriders head coach, Tyler Frenzel, takes the field on Wednesday night at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark, he will see a familiar face in the other dugout.
Kelvin Ziegler coached Frenzel when he starred on the University of North Dakota’s baseball team and he is now the head coach of Grand Forks' senior Babe Ruth team.
Frenzel played for, at the time, the Fighting Sioux from 2003-07, and Ziegler was the team's head coach from 1994 to all the way through Frenzel’s time in Grand Forks.
Ziegler is excited about the matchup and said that he will be a proud papa on Wednesday when the two teams face off against each other.
“He was the prototypical type of kid that you wanted in your program. He ate baseball, and slept baseball,” Ziegler, the all-time winningest baseball coach at UND, said. “It was something he wanted constantly and you could tell he had a passion for the game. He had all the characteristics you wanted in a baseball player.”
Frenzel played second base for UND and was one of the most passionate players on the team.
Ziegler said that Frenzel made everyone around him better and the program benefited from him being a part of it.
One of the most important and joyful things for Ziegler though has been to watch him grow from a boy to a man.
“He not only attracted me as a great baseball player, but he has a super family. I remember him coming out of high school and at that point Dickinson was at a high point in their legion baseball program,” Ziegler said. “Tyler was one of the leaders of that program. He played the game right and hard all the time.”
Grand Forks is 5-1 in division play and in first place, while the Roughriders are sitting at 3-3. The twinbill is crucial for each team as Dickinson looks to gain ground on the best teams in the state, while Grand Forks hopes to squash the Roughriders chances at catching them in the standings.
“I know they’ll be well coached. They are leading the division right now and we are going to come out and give it everything we have,” Frenzel said. “Going up against my former coach like that, I want to make sure that my guys are ready and will leave it all on the field.”
The two are forever grateful that their paths crossed in Grand Forks over a decade ago, and the connection throws a storyline into the critical division double header.
“I know what baseball has meant to him and I fully expect his team at Dickinson to play with the same passion that he has,” Ziegler said. “Players are reflections of their coaches and if his kids play with anywhere near the passion he has then we will have our hands full.”
Ziegler admitted that he will be watching Dickinson’s dugout and team as much as he will be paying attention to his own squad.
“It will be fun. Coach Ziegler and I did some good things at UND. It was fun playing for him and it will be fun to coach on different sidelines. We’ll have a good time with it,” said Frenzel, while Ziegler added, “Win, lose or draw, I am going to walk away feeling pretty about Tyler Frenzel over there on the other side knowing that he is doing a great job.”