Legred to play in All-Star series

ALL-STAR SWING — Blue Earth Area senior catcher Karson Legred loads his swing during regular-season baseball action. Legred was selected to play in the Minnesota High School Baseball All-Star Series as one of the best senior players in the state. (Photo by Greg Abel)

Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins, Kent Hrbek, Karson Legred.

The first three represented their region in the Minnesota High School Baseball All-Star Series after they graduated from high school. Legred has been chosen to represent southern Minnesota on the South All-Star team this year.

“I just feel really honored to have been chosen,” Legred said. “It’s a really cool thing. … I couldn’t have done it without the rest of my teammates. Blue Earth (Area), our team, had a really good year this year and it feels good to be recognized for that.”

Starting Thursday with check-ins and a banquet at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, where two horse races will be held in honor of the all-stars during the banquet, Legred will spend three days with some of the best baseball players in the state.

The South All-Stars will play their first game at 5 p.m. Friday against the Metro East team, then play again at 9 a.m. Saturday against the Metro South team. After the first two games, the South team’s final game will be Saturday at a time based on its performances in the first two games.

Although players will come from all across the state, Legred said there will be a few familiar faces, not only the South team, but a couple of the metro teams as well.

“I played at Great Lakes (Baseball Academy) … they’re based out of Arden Hills and I played with a couple players who are on the metro teams,” Legred said. “I also know a couple different guys on the South team who I’ve played against.”

Since Legred is a catcher, he will have a slightly tougher role than other position players coming together. He will have to work with pitchers, who he not only hasn’t caught for in the past, but some he’s never met, and will have to figure out quickly what they like to throw and what they are best at.

“It will be difficult to adjust to other pitchers and figure out what works for them and be able to perform for my team,” Legred said. “I think it’s going to be a really good challenge. … It’s going to be a lot of fun going against some of the top guys in the state. It’s gonna be a really good opportunity.”

Blue Earth Area head coach Todd Schmidtke said he thinks the experience at the All-Star Series will help Legred prepare for college baseball, while allowing him to be a role model for younger Blue Earth Area players.

“It will allow Karson to represent himself, his team, his school and his family,” Schmidtke said. “We know he will do very well at this. He will show the younger Bucs players that hard work pays off and you can be a great player and a great person at the same time.

“This will help him prepare for playing college ball where every guy is good. It will be the funnest baseball experience he’s had so far.”

While the action on the field is the main draw of the three-day event, the players also will get to hear a speech from a former major leaguer at the banquet on Thursday, and they will participate in clinics to help younger kids Friday morning.

“On Friday morning, we have a miracle clinic for the Miracle League, which helps kids with disabilities learn the sport of baseball,” Legred said. “We’re going to help out with that and Thursday there’s the banquet. Kent Hrbek is going to be the guest speaker there, so I’m excited for that.”

Along with playing in the all-star series and getting to meet the best players in the state, Legred is spending his summer playing for the Winnebago/Blue Earth American Legion team and the Blue Earth Pirates amateur team. Legred is playing for both teams to help him prepare for his first year at Bethany Lutheran College where he will join the Vikings. He said his first on-field action with the Vikings will be fall ball after he reports to campus in mid-August.

Legred’s love of baseball doesn’t just drive him to play, it has made him want to begin to pass the game on to younger athletes. He said he and Blue Earth Area teammate Hunter Bleess want to help young kids in Blue Earth.

“Me and Hunter Bleess are putting together little clinics for the Twilight League, which is K-through-2 (kindergarten through second grade) over here in Blue Earth,” Legred said. “We’re doing that every Tuesday night and teaching kids how to throw and the proper mechanics of doing certain things in baseball.

“I really love the game, it’s easily my favorite sport, and I just wanted to give back to the community. And it’s a lot of fun.”­