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Fairmont’s Hested eager to return to the mound

TOSSING STRIKES — Fairmont Cardinals right-hander Jack Hested delivers a breaking pitch for a strike during regular-season baseball action at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Hested is eager to return to the mound, whether during a shortened spring season or the summer campaign. (Photo by Greg Abel/Sentinel Archives)

FAIRMONT — Jack Hested had been looking to repeat as the Fairmont High School baseball team leader on the mound after pitching 42 1/3 innings last season as a junior.

Now Hested just has to hope for American Legion baseball in the summer.

Hested spent the first part of the 2019-20 school year punting and kicking extra points for the Fairmont football team, then used his winter season to swoosh 3-pointers for the Cardinal basketball team, but he said baseball is the sport he enjoys most.

While the Minnesota State High School League issued a moratorium on spring sports that lasts through May 3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the chances to return in four weeks do not look optimistic.

“I was looking forward to playing with the guys (teammates),” Hested said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to play in the summer.”

Hested is diligent with his offseason work. He said he travels to Windom to work with a pitching coach, training for each new season.

“He helps me with my mechanics, my velocity, all that stuff,” Hested said.

His hard work proved successful last year, not only leading the Cardinals in innings worked, but pitching to a 2.48 ERA with 17 strikeouts.

Hested said striking out a batter is his favorite part of a baseball game when he is on the mound.

Although his senior season will either be greatly shortened or completely cancelled, Hested said he knows he will continue to play the game he loves.

He is hoping to be able to play during the summer, but if that season (legion) is cancelled as well, he said he will move on to a two-year school where he can continue pitching.

Hested said he is in touch with a couple of schools, but hasn’t made a decision yet. A couple of influential players helped Hested find his path, he said.

“There’s a couple of colleges that have reached out to me,” Hested said. “After watching, like, Luke Becker play and Brandon Williamson, hearing about them going to a two-year school, I thought I could try it.”

For now, the Fairmont senior hurler will continue his online classes, which he said went fine through the first week.

“It was good,” Hested said. “It’s easy because you would get done at noon and then you have all day. After that, you’re good to go.”

Through his down time, Hested is doing his best to stay in playing shape, but restrictions on gyms are making it more difficult.

“I’ve been running and doing push-ups and some core work,” Hested said.

He said he is staying in baseball shape by playing catch in the yard with family, while waiting to hear from high school or college coaches for a training plan.

In his other seasons, Hested has been part of a lot of team success.

Hested’s kicking skills helped the Fairmont football team to an 8-2 overall record and the team’s fifth consecutive appearance in the Section 3AAA championship game last fall.

In the winter, Hested scored 272 points — second on the Cardinals’ roster — on 76-for-218 shooting from 3-point range for 34.8 percent. Hested helped the Cardinals end the season with a 17-10 record and an appearance in the Section 3AA, South Sub-Section championship game.

Hested emphasized that he gives thanks to all his baseball coaches who have helped him through his time playing. And while these times are trying for all, Hested has stayed strong through his faith.

“I’ve just been trusting God has a reason and a plan for me,” Hested said.

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