For the Lions All-Star baseball series, Marshall head baseball coach Steve Fleck had plenty of players to nominate to the game from a roster that went 14-6 overall and ended the regular season ranked eighth in Class AA.
"As a coach, the hard part is who do you nominate?" Fleck said. "We had guys like Riley (Carpenter), who had a great year. Matt (Campion) had a phenomenal year. We had a lot of kids who were deserving."
For the Lions All-Star series, which begins today in Chaska, the Tigers will have two representatives with outfielder/pitcher Alex Fenske and shortstop Mason Schnaible each playing on the South team.
The South team opens play at 4 p.m. today against the Metro East team. On Saturday, the South takes on the Metro West and North teams at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.
The Marshall combo of Fenske and Schnaible are the first Tigers to play in the All-Star series since Nate Baumann was picked in 2007.
"This is great, it's a privilege to play in it," Fenske said, "And the fact that I'm going up with Mason, I'm so pumped for this."
Schnaible added, "It's been fun so far, meeting people and playing up here. It's an honor to play, and to get to play on the nice field in Chaska."
For Schnaible, who finished with a .384 batting average with 23 runs scored in the regular season from the leadoff spot, Fleck's nod was to credit a three-year starter in the middle of the infield.
"Mason got called up at the end of his freshman year, and when you look at his total high school stats, it's a no-brainer," Fleck said.
Playing at the All-Star series also gives Schnaible, who will play baseball at Southwest Minnesota State, a chance to get more acquainted with a future teammate.
"Sam Haas (of Lac qui Parle Valley) is also going to SMSU, and we might be rooming together,"?Schnaible said. "This gives me a chance to get to know him a little better."
Schnaible's productivity slipped a little in 2012 as he was moved from the No. 3 spot to leadoff. But Fleck was quick to point out the positives in a player willing to move up and down the lineup, as well as play anywhere on the field.
"He could pitch, play short, he even caught a game," Fleck said of Schnaible. "He'll do whatever he has to do. He's the kind of player you want to represent not only Marshall, but the whole Southern part of the state, in this case."
For his part, Fenske hit for a .377 average with seven extra-base hits and 18 RBIs at the plate. On the mound, he emerged as the Tigers' ace, going 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA and 27 strikeouts in the regular season.
Not bad for a player who couldn't pitch last season due to elbow pain.
"He worked hard and was ready to have a good senior year," Fleck said of Fenske. "We were fortunate enough to have him and Carp in the outfield.
"He worked on controlling his curveball, and he ended up having two pitches he could throw for strikes," Fleck added. "Every game he pitched in, we were in the games."
Playing in the All-Star series is an added summer bonus for Fenske, who decided to forego playing Legion ball to prepare for college football. Fenske, an All-State honorable mention at quarterback last fall, will play football at St. Thomas.
"It's going to be great suiting up for the last time," Fenske said. "... It's been tough sitting and watching the guys (play Legion ball)."
"It's nice to get to play with (Fenske) one more time,"?Schnaible said. "It brings up a lot of old memories."