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Behind the plate or at it, Havre's Jake Sedahl has been a model of consistency

As the Northstars head to Canada for a big road trip, Jake Sedahl is having a big season

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre catcher Jake Sedahl is in his fifth season of American Legion baseball with the Northstars. He's been the starting catcher for all of them, too, and is having an outstanding season, both behind the plate and batting as well.

Jake Sedahl has had a remarkable career for the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team. But as his team heads toward the stretch run of his final season, his story has is far from finished.

Because of his age, Sedahl is already a legion baseball exception, as he was able to play five seasons, instead of most players who play four. Over the past few seasons, he has established himself as an important presence, both in the lineup and behind the plate, where he takes his customary position each game as the Northstars regular catcher.

"Jake is a really good ball player obviously," Northstars assistant coach Patch Wirtzberger said. "You can see that pretty easily when he's on the field. You can also see it in the stat column. He's everything you want in your leader on and off the field. Mick (Northstars manager Mickey Williams) and I sure are proud to be his coach."

From his first season of legion ball, Sedahl has been a tough out. He batted .330 his first year before adding nearly 100 points to his average in his second season, a campaign that saw him hit .428. That season, Sedahl helped the Northstars earned the top seed in the Northern A District tournament, however the club lost the first two games at districts in each of his first three seasons. That changed last year, when Havre knocked off Tri-Country to get its first district win in years. Yet, this season, Sedahl is hoping he and the Northstars can get a couple more.

"Getting to state is our focus," Sedahl said. "I mean I have only won one district game my entire career, so to make it to state would be a huge accomplishment."

After seeing his average dip slightly in 2016 and 2017 to .396 and .406, Sedahl is doing everything he can to put Havre in position to make a postseason run. At the plate, he is putting together an impressive season and in 73 at bats, he's hitting .452 and has 33 singles - both are team highs among players with at least 40 at bats. He also leads the team in triples with five, is second in doubles with four and also leads in RBIs with 24. His nine extra-base hits are also the best on the team.

"I try not to worry about doing too much," Sedahl said. "I just try to worry about getting my job done and getting a hit. You don't have to try to get a home run every time. Singles and doubles will work. I am just trying to stay loose when I am at the plate."

Sedahl said a big key to his success this season has been his aggressive approach early in the at bat. That has led to a lot of singles, along with just three strikeouts (fewest on the team in 40 at bats) and seven base on balls.

"I don't walk a lot," Sedahl said. "I try to go after the first strike that I see. I usually don't see more than three or four pitches."

"He's always trying to get better," Wirtzberger said. "He never goes through the motions. He takes every rep serious and uses it as an opportunity to improve. He makes our job a lot easier because it's like having a coach on the field."

As much as Sedahl does at plate offensively, he's just as effective behind as a catcher. In 126 innings behind the plate so far this season, Sedahl has thrown out 16 runners attempting to steal second and has also allowed just five passed balls. He also has just one error, a team-high 106 putouts, a 99.6 fielding percentage and two double plays.

Sedahl also takes on the responsibility of calling pitches, which adds another nuance to being behind the plate.

"I have been calling pitches since I have been playing catcher, but I am a lot more confident in it now," Sedahl said. "I think that our pitchers listen to me more than they did when I was younger, too."

"It's going to create a void next year," Wirtzberger said of Sedahl playing his final season. "But I'm sure that the next catcher of this team will be better having watched and learned from Jake. Whoever that might be in the years to come."

While the Northstars are about halfway through their season with a 12-11-1 record, they have 20 district games left and after opening 5-3, they will play two key doubleheaders on the road this weekend in Canada. The first doubleheader will feature Havre against Medicine Hat Friday. The Northstars beat Medicine Hat twice at home earlier in the season and will look to do that again, with the first pitch of back-to-back games going out at 5 p.m.

Saturday, the Northstars will continue their road trip. This time Vauxhall will be the destination, as Havre will take on the Spurs in a district doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

 

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