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Fairmont’s Crissinger picked for all-star baseball series

ALL-STAR — Fairmont’s Jacob Crissinger throws a pitch during the Class AA state quarterfinal baseball game at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud. Crissinger was selected to the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Asssociation All-Star Series, which was played Friday and today. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Fairmont right-hander Jacob Crissinger’s pitching prowess this season earned him a spot on one of the Minnesota high school baseball all-star teams.

A youth clinic and a home run derby kicked off the two-day all-star series before Crissinger and his South teammates played against the Metro East squad on Friday. The Cardinals’ recent graduate and the South face the Metro South squad at 9 a.m. today at Chaska Athletic Park in Chaska. The South will return to the diamond for a third game today at either 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. or 7:15 p.m. against an opponent to be determined in the six-team bracket.

Crissinger’s South teammates are Alex Call of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Jaden Drill of New Ulm, Easton Fritcher of Hayfield, Jackson Huiras of Sleepy Eye, Charlie Jacobson of Marshall, Nolan Klocke of Hayfield, Sam Knowles of New Ulm Cathedral, Ian Koosman of Willmar, Beau Lepel of Glencoe-Silver Lake, Jon Lutzi of Byron, Louis Magers of Mankato West, Connor Neubeck of Marshall, Kyle Prindle of Rochester Mayo, Sam Rensch of Hutchinson, Tanner Shumski of Mankato West, Joe Sperry of Rochester Lourdes, Jacob Weckop of Randolph, Nathan Weckop of Randolph and Jake Schmidt of Sibley East.

Byron’s Ryan Hanson and Marshall’s Chace Pollock are the coaches.

“I have to thank all of the coaches and my teammates who helped me make this happen,” the 18-year-old Crissinger said. “They made it fun. I’m excited and grateful to get to compete against the best.”

Crissinger is a 6-foot-5, 170-pounder who throws in the low 80s and features a four-pitch repertoire, a two- and four-seam fastball, a slurve and a slider.

As a junior, Crissinger finished with a 4-3 pitching record for Fairmont, tossing 52 innings pitched, giving up 54 hits, 17 walks with 44 strikeouts. He had a 3.36 ERA and 1.36 WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched).

He worked hard in the offseason on improving his game.

“His maturity is what I noticed last offseason about Jacob,” Fairmont baseball head coach Don Waletich said. “He worked a little extra harder than before and made himself a better pitcher. He put in the time.”

Crissinger finished his senior season with 9-1 overall with a 1.61 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, giving up 45 hits and 19 walks in 69.1 innings pitched. He struck out 83 batters.

Crissinger was the winning pitcher in the Cardinals’ 8-3 Class AA state quarterfinal win over the Sibley East Wolverines on June 14 at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud, going seven innings, giving up only five hits, three earned runs, one walk with 11 strikeouts. Crissinger was named to the Class AA all-state baseball tournament team for his pitching performance in the state opener.

The 2022 graduate is playing with the Fairmont American Legion squad this summer before reporting to his next stop in the fall with the Bethany Lutheran College Vikings, a Division III school. He will play his baseball for head coach Ryan Kragh.

This spring the Vikings finished 19-15 overall and 15-6 in the UMAC (Upper Midwest Athletic Conference).

“I’m looking forward to meeting new coaches and new players,” Crissinger said. “I’m excited to play at the next level.”

Crissinger also played basketball at Fairmont and is the middle child of parents Jeff and Leslie Crissinger. His sister Taylor, 21, is a former standout basketball and softball player at Fairmont High School, and brother, Joey, 13, competes in football, basketball and baseball at the grade-school level.

“Joey and I hang out a lot together, so I’m sure it will be a little different for him when I’m at college,” Jacob said.

He starts his college career in late August.

“I’m ready for the workouts, getting ready for my classes and being a member of the baseball team,” Jacob said.

He has been legally blind in his left eye since birth and wears a mask as protection.

“Being blind doesn’t affect it in any way besides having to wear a , which I have gotten used to as time went on,” Crissinger said. “As a child I didn’t like the mask at all, but now as I’m older I realize that it’s a smart move.”

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