Ryan Sutterer would have loved a chance to play in a major Perfect Game tournament at a place like Prospect Meadows when he was a kid growing up in Minnesota, but coaching a team here the past four days was pretty special as well.
Sutterer led the Minnesota Icemen to the title of the 2019 WWBA 15U National Championship Tuesday with a 9-4 victory over the Elite Baseball Training team from Aurora, Ill., in the finals at Prospect Meadows.
The Icemen finished with a 6-0-1 record in the tournament, which featured elite travel teams from seven states.
“It’s awesome,” said Sutterer. “Those guys came on and played better than I’ve seen them play in a long time. They’ve been working their tails off.
“The favorite part of the weekend is seeing them come together as a team,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve seen them jell from top to bottom. I couldn’t be any happier for them. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Icemen list 25 players on their roster from 15 different high schools in Minnesota, with their headquarters in the North Metro area of the Twin Cities in Blaine. These one-time strangers have become good friends and teammates, and they were all smiles when they posed with their handsome trophy Tuesday after winning the title.
“It’s awesome. Big-time,” said Ethan Loss, who was named the MVP of the tournament. “Big-time competition, and it’s awesome to end up on top.”
The Icemen fell behind, 2-0, in the second inning, but they scored five runs in the bottom of the third for a 5-2 lead and never relinquished the lead. Loss, entering his sophomore year at Mahtomedi High School, finished the tournament with 11 hits, seven RBIs and six stolen bases.
Loss and his teammates enjoyed their time at Prospect Meadows, which has opened to rave reviews this year. “I think it’s a really cool complex,” he said. “It’s really nice.”
Sutterer said the Minnesota Icemen typically have 12 to 14 teams in their organization each year, ranging in age from 12U to 18U. He’s been coaching this group for two years and has been having a blast, traveling the midwest circuit in the summer and making trips to the deep south and Arizona in the winter.
“For these guys to travel around the country and play with guys from around the state, there’s nothing like it,” he said.