Pat Frank is in his seventh season as head coach of the United South Central baseball team. He led the Rebels to a 12-6 record this season. USC was 6-3 in 1-run games. -- Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune
Pat Frank is in his seventh season as head coach of the United South Central baseball team. He led the Rebels to a 12-6 record this season. USC was 6-3 in 1-run games. -- Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Tribune names baseball Coach of the Year

Published 2:30pm Sunday, July 7, 2013

Frank guided Rebels to winning record

WELLS — The United South Central baseball team not only had the best record in the area, the Rebels excelled when the game was on the line.

Head coach Pat Frank is the Tribune’s 2013 baseball Coach of the Year.

Half of the Rebels’ games were decided by one run. USC finished with an overall record of 12-6, and the Rebels earned a 6-3 mark in the one-run nail-biters.

“Highlights this year were that we competed in a lot of close games,” Frank said. “We had three walk-off wins. That was fun, and the guys competed hard.

Frank played college baseball at Willmar Community College and St. Cloud State before he played 29 years of amateur baseball throughout Minnesota in Jackson, St. Cloud and Cold Spring.

In Frank’s seventh year as head coach for the Rebels, he was assisted by Todd Rasmusson and Eric Lackey.

“I had two really good coaches, and they’re former college baseball players who play amateur baseball in Wells,” Frank said. “I think that’s huge to have a good nucleus of guys to be around.

“My philosophy is that if you’re going to lean on a kid and get after them to do something well fundamentally, you better have the answers. If I don’t have the answers, I can go to my assistant coaches, and they’re really good at helping out.”

USC began the season 5-0. After a 12-2 win over Randolph in the season opener, the Rebels reeled off four straight one-run wins: Medford (5-4), New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (4-3), Maple River (5-4) and New Life Academy (12-11).

The Rebels also ended the regular season on a high note with wins over Mankato Loyola (2-1) and Bethlehem Academy (6-5).

With postponed games due to snow and rain, Frank was still able to get his players some practice.

“I considered every Wednesday throughout the season valuable to be outside and get fundamental stuff done,” he said.

In the postseason, USC was in one of the most competitive sections in Class A. Even with 12 wins, the Rebels took the fifth seed of the Section 2A tournament. In the first round, USC lost 1-0 at Martin Luther-Granada-Huntley-East Chain, who went on to beat the No. 1 seed, Lake Crystal-Wellcome-Memorial, in the next round. The eventual state champion, BOLD High School from Olivia, was also in Section 2A.

“There’s not many sections where you win 10 ballgames and go on the road for the playoffs,” Frank said. “It was tough, but it’s fun to compete at that level.

“I just love baseball. I love coaching it and used to love playing it.”