The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program announced the signing of nine players. The Golden Eagles have inked Joey Connelly (LHP, 5-9 160, Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.), Eli Denisen (LHP, 6-0 185, Winona, Minn./Winona H.S.), Joshua Dykhoff (RHP/UT, 6-2 210, Wadena, Minn./Wadena-Deer Creek H.S.), Jack Jahnke (LHP, 6-0 175, Grand Forks, N.D./Grand Forks Central H.S.), Jonah Norman (C/IF, 5-10 165, Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Paul’s H.S.), Michael Rivera (RHP, 6-01 170, Victoria, Minn./Minnetonka H.S.), Kobe Senn (3B, 5-10 190, Fargo, N.D./Iowa Central C.C.), Danny Wensloff (OF/RHP, 6-1 195, Roseau, Minn./Itasca C.C.), and Isaac Wensloff (RHP/UT, 6-1 185, Roseau, Minn./Roseau H.S.).
Connelly, Denisen, Dykhoff, Jahnke, Norman, Rivera, Wensloff, and Wensloff will begin their careers in the fall of 2022, while Senn will be a mid-year transfer and commence his career in the spring of 2022. “We are extremely excited for our early recruiting class,” said Head Coach Steve Gust. “We felt we were able to get some of the area’s best talent and fill some of the areas of need for our program. These student-athletes are talented players but just as impressive in the classroom. We feel they have the talent, work ethic, and other character traits that we need to continue to move this program forward. They are proven winners and will do whatever it takes to be successful.”
Joey Connelly (LHP, 5-9 160, Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.)
Connelly pitched 10.2 innings as a junior for Eden Prairie H.S. with a 4.59 ERA with 13 strikeouts. He also played for the Eden Prairie legion team and was a starter for the squad, having a phenomenal summer for the legion squad.
He is the son of Patrick and Karmen Connelly. Connelly plans to major in exercise science at UMC.
“I’ve seen Joey throw on several different occasions and he has impressed me every time,” Gust stated. “He isn’t overpowering but he gets a lot of swings and misses. And he knows how to pitch. He could be a dominant pitcher once we get him bigger, stronger, and more explosive.”
Eli Denisen (LHP, 6-0 185, Winona, Minn./Winona H.S.)
Denisen had 10 strikeouts against De Pere H.S., the No. 10 team in Wisconsin on July 10, 2021. He had 10 strikeouts in four innings against the top-ranked team in the league Owatonna July 16, 2021.
He is the son of Trevor Denisen and Brenda Nelson. Denisen plans to major in natural resources at UMC.
“Eli impressed us from day one with his desire and passion for the game and our university,” Gust said. “He wants to develop and grow as a pitcher and student at Minnesota Crookston. His future is bright as he has all the tools necessary to be successful.”
Joshua Dykhoff (RHP/UT, 6-2 210, Wadena, Minn./Wadena-Deer Creek H.S.)
Dykhoff was an All-Park Region Conference and All-Section pick for Wadena-Deer Creek H.S. During his legion and high school season last year he went 11-2 in 83.3 innings with 115 strikeouts and a 1.84 ERA. At the plate, he went .480 with 38 RBIs, four home runs, 36 runs scored, 16 doubles, and a school-record 47 hits. He helped Wadena-Deer Creek H.S. to their first state tournament appearance since 1997.
His dad and uncle Kyle Dykhoff played at M State-Fergus Falls. His brothers Jake and Justin Dykhoff are currently players on the Minnesota Crookston baseball team. He is undecided on his major.
“We have been looking at Josh for a long time,” Gust stated. “He projects high as a pitcher and can play anywhere on the field. He is also a winner, playing in the 2021 high school, legion and amateur state tourneys. Josh has tremendous upside so it will be enjoyable helping his development both on and off the field.”
Jack Jahnke (LHP, 6-0 175, Grand Forks, N.D/Grand Forks Central H.S.)
Jahnke played baseball and hockey for Grand Forks Central H.S. He is a member of the National Honor Society.
He is the son of Jill and Larry Jahnke. Jahnke is undecided on his major.
“Jack is an area recruit that we couldn’t pass up,” Gust remarked. “We have been fortunate to get a lot of good ball players within the immediate area that have developed into special young men. We believe Jack is another one of those student-athletes.”
Jonah Norman (C/IF, 5-10 165, Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Paul’s H.S.)
Norman was named to the Central Canadian Baseball League (CCBL) All-Star Team in 2021. He is the captain for St. Paul H.S. hockey for the 2021 season. Norman also served as the captain for the Bonivital Black Sox 18U and for the Winnipeg High School Hockey All-Star Team in 2019. He was on the Team Manitoba 17U Winter Roster. Norman was on the Moncton High School Tournament Hockey All-Star Team. He was the assistant captain for St. Paul H.S. hockey in 2019. He was the MVP for St. Paul H.S. hockey in 2019. He is a four-year starter for baseball and three-year varsity starter for hockey.
He is the son of J.B. Norman and Jill Perron. Norman plans to major in sports and rec management. His dad played football at the University of Manitoba.
“Jonah is a versatile player with a high work ethic and passion for the game,” Gust said. “He really impressed us on his visit. Jonah is fundamentally sound and fits our needs at both the shortstop and catcher position.”
Michael Rivera (RHP, 6-0 170, Victoria, Minn./Minnetonka H.S.)
Rivera is a member of the National Honor Society. He has played for Minnetonka H.S. and the Minnesota Starters travel team.
He is the son of Angela and David Rivera. Rivera plans to major in chemistry, with a minor in biology. His sister played softball at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He has looked up to his sister forever and has tried to imitate his game after her. She was the reason he fell in love with baseball.
“Michael is a pitcher we believe flew under the recruiting radar,” Gust stated. “He plays for one of the best high school and legion programs in the country. He still has to develop, but we believe his ceiling is really high.”
Kobe Senn (3B, 5-10 190, Fargo, N.D./Iowa Central C.C.)
He earned the 2021 American Legion Slugger Award and the 2021 Central Plans Tournament MVP. Senn earned the 2019, 2020, 2021 Post 400 Silver Slugger Award. He was the 2020 Post 400 MVP. In 2021, he was named All-Conference for Fargo Davies H.S. He was the Post 400 MVP in 2021. He was named the Defensive MVP for Fargo Davies H.S. in 2021. He helped his team to the 2021 American Legion World Series. He compiled a .542 batting average in national competition.
Senn plans to major in finance at UMC. He is the son of Dan and Leigh Senn.
“Kobe has done some great things on the field,” Gust said. “He led his Legion team to a World Series appearance this summer. He has an uncanny ability to hit. Talent is one thing, but Kobe’s best asset is his work ethic. He will do whatever it takes to improve.”
Danny Wensloff (OF/RHP, 6-1 195, Roseau, Minn./Itasca C.C.)
Wensloff hit .339 as a freshman at Itasca C.C. in 2021 with four home runs, 31 RBIs, 33 runs scored, and six stolen bases. On the mound, he pitched 24.0 innings with 27 strikeouts and 27 walks. Wensloff was captain of the Roseau H.S. football team. He was a captain for the hockey team. Wensloff was named All-Great North Conference in baseball. He was an All-Conference recipient for football. He was a member of the National Honor Society.
He is the son of Tracey Wensloff and Bonnie Wensloff. Wensloff plans to major in business. His dad Tracey played baseball and football at Bemidji State University. His sister plays softball at Concordia College (Minn.). His uncle Todd played baseball at the University of North Dakota. His grandpa David Wensloff played hockey at the University of North Dakota. He is the cousin of fellow signee Isaac Wensloff.
“Danny comes from another great baseball family,” Gust stated. “He has developed into a very good baseball player. He’s worked hard in junior college in every aspect of the game. He is tough, loyal and hard-working. Those are some of the traits we look for in a player.”
Isaac Wensloff (RHP/UT, 6-1 195, Roseau, Minn./Roseau H.S.)
Wensloff was a 2021 All-Section pick at Roseau H.S. He was named All-Great Northern Conference in 2019. In 2019, Wensloff was named the Most improved Player.
He is the son of Todd and Leslie Wensloff. His father played baseball at the University of North Dakota. His uncle Tracey played baseball and football at Bemidji State University. His grandfather David Wensloff played hockey at the University of North Dakota. He is the cousin of fellow signee Danny Wensloff.
“Isaac will fit right in with our team and philosophies,” Gust said. “He comes from a great baseball family and is very passionate about the game. He is one of the area’s best all-around players and will only get better as he matures and develops. We project him as a pitcher but he is a good enough athlete that he can play anywhere on the field.”