Montevideo earns a state junior legion title
Post 380 concludes an 18-0 season with a state championship in Ely
ELY — Regardless of home Montevideo Post 380 played at the Junior Legion state tournament, coach Tim Epema was sure of one thing.
Montevideo would play smart baseball.
"The baseball IQ of these kids is what stood out," Epema said. "They do all the little things you need to do to succeed, taking extra bases, running the bases very well, throwing to the right base, making the expected plays.
"Defensively, we had two errors all weekend and we played situational baseball really well as far as our hitting."
It added up to the first state championship in the program's history.
Montevideo came home from Ely as the state Division II junior legion champion.
Post 380 finishes the season with an 18-0 record. Epema said he wasn't 100 percent certain, but he believes it could be the first state team championship for Montevideo in any sport.
At state, Montevideo beat host Ely 4-3, then defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 8-2 and LeSueur-Henderson 2-1 to win the title.
Montevideo pitcher/first baseman Gannon Reidinger was named named the most valuable player of the tournament. He's Post 380's No. 3 hitter and got a key pitching win, finishing the season with a 7-0 record.
"He did a really great job," Epema said.
Montevideo went into the tournament have beating Dawson 11-1, Sacred Heart/MACCRAY 11-1 and Minneota 7-1 in the playoffs after a 12-0 regular season. Post 380 went into the state tournament with a .379 batting average.
"It's one of those things where you go up and down our lineup and it's hard to find any weakness," Epema said.
Epema also noted that Montevideo had one of the youngest teams at state. There were players from the Class of 2023, which some teams used. He has seven players from the Class of '24: Cooper Dack, Mason Pederson, Daniel Gunlogson, Jackson Baldwin, Jace Goslee, Zach DeBeer and Brady Rhode. Players from the Class of '25 include Jaden Hendrickson, Gannon Reidinger, Nery Guerra, Sam Knoop, Carter Malstrom, Landon Olson and Damon Howell. From the Class of '26 are Ben Gunlogson and Brody Dack. Griffin Epema, the coach's son, is a member of the Class of '27.
Coaches are Tim Epema, Mark Reidinger and Josh Dack.
Harrison O'Neal was the team bat boy. He's an interesting story. He's from Hastings, not Montevideo. He was visiting his grandparents in Ely and was hanging around Montevideo's dugout during Post 380's first game. The players invited him to be the bat boy. He was given a team baseball cap and was allowed to hang out in the dugout. He wound up getting a first-place medal like the rest of the players.
"It was fun," Tim Epema said.