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Baseball: Denny gets his coach of the year award

Parkers Prairie baseball coach Derek Denny was recently honored in Minneapolis with the Class A Coach of the Year Award from the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association. (Submitted photo)

The Parkers Prairie baseball team won its Class A state tournament on June 19, and the Panthers are still getting honored for that run.

Head coach Derek Denny knew shortly after the season he was the recipient of the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Class A Coach of the Year Award. On Oct. 28 in Minneapolis, he was handed that award at the coaches association banquet.

"It is very humbling," Denny said. "I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am in and realize things like this don't come along very often. That being said, in my opinion, the award is about what our team accomplished. Without the work and dedication of the players and coaches in our system, this doesn't happen. I am deeply thankful and grateful for all their efforts."

Denny also recently received a coach of the year award from the Minnesota State High School League, as well.

He guided the Panthers to back-to-back state championship appearances. In 2016, they were an out away from winning their first title before falling 4-2 to Springfield in 11 innings.

Parkers Prairie was on a mission to make it back and avenge that loss in 2017. The Panthers did that, beating Legacy Christian 6-3 at Target Field for the championship.

They finished 26-2 on the season, with their second loss coming in the section playoffs to Brandon-Evansville. That forced them to win five games in four days, which they did. It all added to the memories that came flooding back for Denny as he received the coach of the year honor.

"I got so many congratulatory messages from players, parents and community members," Denny said. "It was overwhelming. It made me realize again just how special of a thing this is, not just for our baseball program, but for our whole community. Coach (Paul) Walsh probably said it best when he said members of this team will always have a special connection by experiencing something of this magnitude together. In thinking about the players on this team, I feel like they won't just be remembered because they won a state championship, but also because of how they played together, carried themselves, and their positive attitudes. I really feel this group of guys modeled what a team should be."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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