Outfielder heads for UW-Stout
Throughout Wayzata’s high school and American Legion baseball success the past two years, the one constant has been the presence of Danny Deis in the outfield.
The 2017 WHS graduate played on a state-championship team in 2016, as one of only two juniors in the lineup. He followed that by helping Wayzata Legion to third place in the state tournament. This spring, as a tri-captain, he led Wayzata High to another state tournament berth. In addition, the right fielder helped Wayzata win back-to-back titles in the Gopher Classic, one of the country’s largest American Legion summer tourneys.
Later this month, Deis will join the University of Wisconsin-Stout baseball team for fall practice.
“I am super excited to play college baseball,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a step up, but I feel the pitching in the Lake Conference was as good as a lot of the pitching I’ll see in college. There are a ton of great pitchers on the Lake Conference teams.”
Deis and Will Oberg were the only returning starters for the Wayzata High School team this spring, when practice opened. The Trojans had only one experienced varsity pitcher, senior Peyton Gallagher.
“It was almost a whole new group of players,” said Deis. “The varsity team my junior year was the most talented group I’ve ever played with, but this year’s team was good, too, and to prepare for the season we worked very hard in the off-season. We knew we had lost a lot, but this group [of seniors] were guys we had played with before.”
Making the state tournament two years in a row was a first for the Wayzata baseball program.
“We have great coaches here,” said Deis. “And there is always a lot of talent.”
The Trojans finished 19-6 during the high school season.
The American Legion baseball season brought more success to Wayzata, as the team finished 36-6. Nine straight wins during the Gopher Classic were a big contribution to that record.
“Thirty-six and six, that’s a good year,” said Deis. “We wanted to do more, but we played a tough [Excelsior] team in the Sub-State Tournament, and they got the better of us. It was great competition.”
While he played mostly right field for his Wayzata teams, Deis said he’s comfortable at any of the three outfield positions. Spectacular catches marked his high school career, and he’s hoping for more of the same in college.
“The coaches at Stout said there’s an opportunity to earn a spot in the lineup, that’s all they could promise,” said Deis. “I like the coaching staff. Other Division III schools and some Division II schools recruited me, but Stout is the best place for me.”
Deis hopes to have the same role as an offensive catalyst that he had with Wayzata.
“I try to get on base and score runs,” he said.
That was easy during both of his high school seasons. As a junior he had Jake Marsh hitting behind him. This year, it was Oberg.
Deis mentioned how watching Marsh made him a better leader.
“Jake showed us how to do it the Wayzata way,” he said.
Marsh was the starting catcher, as well as the closer, for the baseball team. In football, he was a three-year starting quarterback.
Deis played football in addition to baseball and helped the Trojans to an 8-3 record in his junior year.
“In both sports at Wayzata, I was able to play with a great group of guys,” said Deis, who earned a 3.4 GPA in the classroom.
Deis noted that his parents, Matt and Judy Deis, have been behind him 100 percent.
“I couldn’t ask for better parents,” he said. “Until I got my license they drove me everywhere for practice, and at one time I was playing four sports. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for me.”
While Wayzata won the No. 1 spot in the final state rankings on the Minnesota Legion Baseball Hub, Tri-City Red won the state Division 1 title by beating a gritty Ham Lake team 6-3 in the finals at CHS Field in St. Paul. Both teams advanced to the Central Plains Regional in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Two teams from the South Hennepin League finished in the top half at state.
Eden Prairie, coached by Scott Hackett, took third place when Tri-City Red’s Erik Holloman hit a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Eagles 8-6 in the semifinal round.
Excelsior, coached by Bruce Barron, took sixth place at state, finishing the season with a record of 38-6-2. The Fire Club won three out of five games in the state tournament.