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Triton grad Lilledahl enjoying summer with St. Cloud in Northwoods League

Derek Lilledahl, a right-handed relief pitcher and a Triton High School grad, is currently playing for the St. Cloud Rox in the Northwoods League.

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Derek Lilledahl, left, trains at the Rochester Batting Cages and Training Facility near Oronoco in 2020. The Triton High School grad plays college baseball at Minnesota State, Mankato and is currently playing for the St. Cloud Rox in the Northwoods League.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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Derek Lilledahl, a 2020 Triton High School grad, is getting a full summer of baseball while playing in the Northwoods League.

Lilledahl is a relief pitcher with the St. Cloud Rox and he has a full contract with the team this season. He plays college baseball at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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The right-handed Lilledahl has appeared in six games with the Rox. In nine innings, he has given up 10 hits, walked one, struck out seven and allowed six earned runs for an ERA of 6.00. He does not have a win, loss or save and his runners-allowed on base per nine innings (WHIP) is a solid 1.22.

“You meet a lot of good people and great players that know a lot,” Lilledahl said. “It’s always good to get a different set of eyes on you and see what they have to say. And also just the experience you get vs. the talent (you face).”

Lilledahl said his parents and friends have been able to come to Northwoods League games when the Rox have played in Rochester and Mankato.

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“It’s been nice to see them,” he said. “We’re playing every day so I don’t really get to see my family or friends much. … But I’m enjoying it.”

St. Cloud will play the Rochester Honkers at Mayo Field this Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9, with both games starting at 6:35 p.m. It marks the final two games for St. Cloud in Rochester during the regular season.

Lilledahl has found his niche as a relief pitcher and he has embraced the role.

“It gives you the chance to play every day rather than once every six days,” he said. “It keeps you in the game for sure and it’s nice to bring focus to the park every day and have a chance to go in and make an impact.”

During his freshman season in college, he also started throwing sidearm almost exclusively. His arm angle comes down quite low to the point he is almost a submarine-style pitcher.

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Derek Lilledahl

He throws mostly sinkers and sliders to hitters, with an occasional fastball. While throwing sidearm, his fastball has topped out at 85 miles an hour.

“I can go in there and get some ground balls and add some deception to it,” Lilledahl said. “... I like to go for movement rather than (throw) the fastball.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Lilledahl has played at Minnesota State, Mankato for the past two springs and he still has three years of college eligibility remaining. He saw his first varsity action during the 2022 season and pitched in a team-high 14 games in short relief. He had a 2.92 ERA with one save, 10 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP in 12 ⅓ innings.

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He hopes his stay in the Northwoods League helps him during the 2023 college season.

“My goal is to be the closer for the next spring season,” Lilledahl said. “And to get a little bigger, weight room wise, and just be comfortable in any situation that comes at me.”

——

Rochester Community and Technical College had 10 student-athletes named to the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Spring 2022 Elite Team.

The award recognizes student-athletes who combined outstanding academic and athletic performance through the winter and spring 2021-2022 sports seasons. Honorees must have earned MCAC All-Academic as well as All-Division, All-Conference, All-Region and/or All-American honors.

RCTC student-athletes who achieved the award are: Blake Schilling (baseball, Altura), Drew Simmons (baseball, Stewartville), Peyton Dunham (men's basketball, Rochester), Devyn Frye (men's basketball, New Hope), Olivia Christianson (women's basketball, Lyle), Myia Ruzek (women's basketball, Altura), Kelsey Grunewald (softball, Medella), Parker Dobrocky (wrestling, Anoka), Willie VonRuden (wrestling, Owatonna) and Zach Wells (wrestling, Princeton).

Guy N. Limbeck is a sports writer for the Post Bulletin. His Local Notebook appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at glimbeck@postbulletin.com .

Guy N. Limbeck column sig

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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