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Frenzel gets the call: First-year head coach readies Roughriders for new season

Less than a week after the Dickinson High baseball team completed its return appearance to state, the Dickinson Roughriders and their American Legion campaign will get underway.

Dickinson first baseman Jaren Hugelen swings at the plate against West Fargo on Tuesday, July 31 during the Class AA State Tournament from Corbett Field. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson first baseman Jaren Hugelen swings at the plate against West Fargo on Tuesday, July 31, during the Class AA State Tournament from Corbett Field. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Less than a week after the Dickinson High baseball team completed its return appearance to state, the Dickinson Roughriders and their American Legion campaign will get underway.

Post 3 begins its season on the road against Williston on Wednesday, June 5, before returning to Dickinson for the home opener against Watford City on Friday.

When the Roughriders hit the field, they will do so under new leadership.

After three years on the job, Stephen Greenwood stepped down from his head coaching position following the 2018 season. Shortly after, Tyler Frenzel was tabbed as the new skipper.

"The board approached me a few different times. I was grateful for the opportunity and always passionate about the game," Frenzel said. "I realized once I was around the interaction with the people and the players, it was something I enjoyed right away."

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Frenzel is a name that carries a lot of weight in this area. Guided by their father Doug Frenzel, Tyler and younger brother Cole Frenzel made a lasting imprint on the Dickinson baseball scene.

Inducted into the Dickinson High Hall of Fame in 2018, Cole Frenzel helped the Midgets to state titles in 2007 and 2009. He also led the Roughriders to back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 before playing collegiately at the University of Arizona. His time with the Wildcats ended after two seasons when he was drafted in the seventh round in 2011 by the New York Mets, where he spent four years in their farm system.

Tyler has an impressive resume of his own, aiding the Midgets to their first state championship in 2001 and state runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2002. In his senior season, he was named WDA Senior Athlete of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year. From there, he played collegiately for the University of North Dakota.

With all that he has accomplished, Frenzel will be entering uncharted territory as a first-time head coach at any level. However, he intends on drawing from all the lessons learned in years past.

"I don't carry much coaching experience, but being a player in a successful system and building relationships along the way, I thought the best thing I can do is listen and learn from people who are smarter than me and when the timing is right, then you can apply and lead," Frenzel said. "I feel fortunate to have grown up in a family that helped build the Mustang program. My dad and others did such a great job establishing a reputation built on hard work and treating people the right way."

'Building a positive culture'

Although Frenzel will have to work with one of the smallest Legion rosters relative to his competition, the majority of his players are fresh off a positive high school season.

In the spring, the Midgets were 15-14 and earned a spot at state after claiming the runner-up spot in the West Region Tournament.

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"That's a big benefit I think just to get them some additional experience and get them more familiar with that state tournament," Frenzel said. "That's big, just to see them have some success and that's what I wanted for them in the high school season. ... Now we can go over to our legion season and hopefully that over."

After a year away from the Roughriders, DHS graduate Cody Maier makes his return to program before he begins his collegiate career with Concordia University-St. Paul. Over the spring, Maier was second on the Midgets with a .326 batting average while pacing the team with 27 RBIs and clubbing the team's lone home run.

In five relief appearances on the mound, Maier amassed a save and 11 strikeouts through 7 ⅓ innings pitched.

"Just to be with the team and the new coaching staff, it's going to be a good atmosphere this summer," Maier said.

"(Frenzel) has helped me with everything when it comes to baseball, and every more than baseball, he's always there and always someone I can go to ask for help and advice. It's just been really good."

While his absence was from the Midgets, also returning to the team is Jaren Hugelen. The infielder injured his ankle during the winter and was on the shelf during the entire spring baseball season. Hugelen has yet to be cleared to play, but he is expected back later in the summer.

Last year, Hugelen hit a team high .387 and 13 doubles. He also had 13 RBIs, including a home run.

"It's been a long time so I've been itching to get back," Hugelen said. "The few days at practice, I've been just really wanting to get in there and start working, but I can't yet. It's been tough, but I'm ready."

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Last season, the Roughriders compiled an 11-31 record, but still managed to produce some memorable highlights. Behind an outstanding pitching performance from Landon Aman, Dickinson captured an 1-0 upset win over top-seeded Fargo Post 2 during the state tournament. Two days later, Kobe Krenz collected a walk-off base hit during an 9-8 victory over Mandan.

Hosting the Central Plains tournament each of the last two years, the Roughriders were allowed to continue their postseason as hosts against some of the country's best. This year, their only route to the Central Plains tournament is by winning the state tournament. However, Frenzel is less worried about setting a win-loss expectation or any state goals, but rather teaching his players the game, fundamentally.

"Getting these kids interested in building a positive culture and establishing what we want to stand for; core values that are going to guide our kids now and hopefully, at the next level," Frenzel said. "I think early on, there will be a lot of temporary goals, and then we can decide where we should be."

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Dickinson pitcher Landon Aman fires to the plate against Omaha Burke Black (Neb.) during the 2018 Central Plains Regional Tournament at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

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