All-Area baseball Player of the Year: Chris Enderson
Published 9:19 am Monday, July 27, 2015
Tigers hurler leads team and area in wins, era and innings pitched
The lowest ERA and most innings pitched in the Tribune’s seven-team coverage area helped Albert Lea’s Chris Enderson make his mark on the diamond.
“Every time Chris went on the mound this season, we felt we had a great chance to win the game,” said Tigers coach Joe Sczublewski. “He really came on strong for our team this year as a senior and became a dominant force on the mound.”
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Enderson is the Tribune’s All-Area baseball Player of the Year.
Through 60 2/3 innings, Enderson had a 1.73 ERA, 8-2 record, 65 strikeouts and 40 walks.
“I’d always listen to Joe (Sczublewski),” Enderson said. “Our coaches are great. They teach us what to do and when to do it.”
Andy Stockinger set Albert Lea’s school record with nine wins in 1994, and Enderson’s victory total was the most for a Tigers hurler since Aaron Klatt hit the same mark in 2011, Sczublewski said.
In addition to being the only player in the area to break the two-run ERA barrier, Enderson threw a no-hitter on May 16 during a 13-0 five-inning win at NRHEG. Of the 15 outs Albert Lea made, nine were strikeouts by Enderson.
The victory improved the Tigers’ section record to 3-0, and after a 14-6 win over Maple River on May 20, Albert Lea took the No. 1 seed in the Section 2AA South tournament.
As a junior, Enderson pitched 38 2/3 innings with a 2.37 ERA and 1-5 record. This year, his consistency improved.
“He was able to replicate his delivery to the plate better this season,” Sczublewski said. “This allowed him to have better balance, which helped him have better control of his pitches than he’s had in past seasons.”
Along with work in the offseason, Enderson and the rest of Albert Lea’s roster made strides by taking advantage of a rule change by the Minnesota State High School League. For the first season, players were allowed to watch video shot with an iPad in the dugout to review pitching and hitting form, Sczublewski said.
“Chris was able to observe his mechanics on the mound during games, which was invaluable in helping him correct the flaws in his delivery, which we were working on helping him correct,” he said.
In addition to being the Tigers’ ace pitcher and starting catcher, Enderson had heroics at the plate. Although he only had nine hits on the season, one on May 7 against Mankato East was Enderson’s favorite memory from the season.
Albert Lea trailed 7-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning during Game 1 of a doubleheader at Hayek Field.
However, the Tigers rallied in the bottom of the seventh. When Enderson walked to the batter’s box, Jake Thompson was on second base, and Albert Lea trailed 7-6. That’s when Enderson crushed the ball over the left-field fence for the win.
“Chris had many excellent performances this season,” Sczublewski said. “Although, both his no-hitter and pinch-hit walk-off home run stood out.”
The Tigers qualified for the section championship for the second consecutive season, and the team posted its first winning record, 14-12, since 2012.
Enderson followed a successful spring with two more no-hitters this summer as part of the Albert Lea Legion Post 56 baseball team.
Next year, Enderson said he plans to continue his career on the diamond at Riverland Community College under coach Scott Koenigs. With the continuation of a strong work ethic, Sczublewski said Enderson’s best days are ahead of him.
“Riverland is a good fit for him as their baseball team is consistently a top-rated Minnesota two-year school,” Sczublewski said. “Plus, it allows him to continue helping his parents on their family farm near Hayward. I’m glad he’s going there to play ball.”