I just want to let you know how impressed we are with the way you run your Blizzard organization. Our two boys, Matt and Sam, played Blizzard baseball for the first time this past fall. Sam also played on your 12U 2013 winter/spring team. Both boys have played on other "club" teams before but I can honestly say that Blizzard has been the best experience for them. Coaching is fantastic, teams are competitive, and kids get a fair shake without bias/politics.
I also want to thank you for your decision to add the 12U South Dakota tourney (for free) as a replacement for the Atlanta tourney that was rained out (even though the kids got to play 2 games!) That says a lot about the Blizzard organization in my mind!
Thanks again for a great baseball experience!
Stan & Rachel Dufault
Joe, Adam, Jesse,
Once again, I picked up a very excited Joe Burnley after a Blizzard
Tournament last night!
He told me that he tried some new things that Adam worked on with him in
an individual session for pitching....and said it really seemed to make
a difference for him in this tournament. He has been practicing those
things in his winter high school baseball practices.
Joe also said that Joe D. was willing to do some batting practice with
himself and others while in San Diego between games...and that he found
that really helpful as well; "I finally worked on something I have been
screwing up, and I think it will make a difference. It was nice of coach
to do that with us. "
The thing that really cracks me up, is how he talks about his teammates.
He has nicknames for them all, and refers to them (and I hear him talk
to them) as if they were Cheers Bar cronies! Fellowship!
I am so happy for Joe that he has the opportunity to play the sport he
loves the most, with a program and people that have become so important
Thank you so, so much!
Adam and Staff,Words can not express how appreciative Ryan, Nancy, myself, and I know Nehwon is for your encouragement, positivity, and love of the game and teaching it has meant.
I have known you for over 8 years and was privileged to coach one fall for you and know what kind if people you and John are.
If we don't attend your Alexandria event, it is likely things would still be up in the air for both of my boys.
Thanks for everything.
Froomcat Family(Ryan Froom, SDSU Commit)
I wanted to pass along our thanks for letting Lucas play for the Blizzard 11U Silver team this year. We had a blast.
I wanted to provide some feedback on Josh (coach) as well.
* Josh is a very positive coach, he looks at the good in all the kids did.
* Josh was at every activity early and prepared for games and practices
* I felt that Josh communicated well with the parents as well as the kids throughout the entire fall league. There were a few schedule changes that occurred and we ended up with at least 3 notices to ensure we would be at the field at the right time.
* Josh moved the kids around very well with positions. I am pretty sure Lucas played at least 6 or 7 positions in the fall league.
Again, we want to say thanks for letting Lucas be a part of this program. We really enjoyed it.
I know you are busy, but I wanted to take a few minutes to offer thanks for the fall season. My son Sterling has been a member of the 13U Sliver team coached by Joseph Waalk. I am sure you are aware the Sliver team finished the AFBL regular season with an 8-2 record and the #2 seed in this weekend's tournament. I think that is a remarkable record and is largely due to Coach Waalk. I want to provide you with examples of what he has done this year that I believe has resulted in the success of the team.
* At key times during each game he has played "small ball" using hit and run plays, delayed steals, safety squeeze bunts, bunting for hits and forcing the defense into errors by aggressively running the bases. Frankly, these are strategies you see employed at high school and beyond, yet Coach Waalk has done it with 12 & 13 year olds.
* He uses numerous opportunities during the game to instruct and teach the "art" of playing baseball. His involvement and instruction has always been positive and well received by the players.
* He is teaching responsibility. He takes this to the individual level as well as responsibility each player has for his team and his team mates.
* He communicates before and after the game with each player by sitting down with them and instructs what his expectations are before the game and recaps the game in his post game chat. I wish I could listen to the specifics of what he says, but I respect the coach / player time.
* Before each game he is prepared with the line up for the game. As I have kept the book for the team, that isn't always the case with other coaches as line ups have often been given to me as the umpire meets with the coaches.
* To the line ups, the Coach makes the batting order in order to maximize the abilities of each player on the team. Also, he works with the defensive lineup each inning taking into account the player's favorite position with the position that helps the team.
* Keeps a pitch count in order to not overuse a pitcher in a game
I could provide many more examples, but wanted to give positive feedback from my observations on what Coach Waalk has done not only for the Blizzard program but for the 13U Sliver team. To take a group of kids that he didn't know before the season began, and outside of 3 boys from Woodbury the players not knowing each other to form a team bond that has resulted in the 8 - 2 record. Whatever happens this weekend will not diminish the very positive impression I have for his efforts and the overall Blizzard program.
I wanted to provide you with some very positive feedback on our 13U Silver Fall Ball coach. Joe Waalk was our coach. In short, he did an outstanding job coaching the boys this fall. We were very impressed with how Coach Waalk managed the team. Things that stood out include:
a.. From day one, he was clear with the boys regarding their responsibilities.
b.. He held the boys accountable for their words and actions as a member of the team and as part of the Minnesota Baseball Academy.
c.. He was very clear and direct with the expectations he had for each of the boys as baseball players and young men.
d.. Coach Waalk was very constructive and positive with the boys. Quick to acknowledge good while always showing them how to take it to the next level.
e.. His enthusiasm for the game. He was very engaged in every practice and game.
We really enjoyed our AFB League experience. Coach Waalk’s commitment to the team and league was a significant contributor to our positive experience.
I would strongly recommend Coach Waalk for future coaching opportunities within your program if that is something he is seeking in the future. We would welcome the opportunity for Zach to play for him again.
Johnny and Adam,
Thanks to your program Hunter was named to the all region team as a pitcher and catcher during sophomore spring season. He batted .457 and had an era of 1.18 with 38 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched. He is on a team that is not very good so quite the accomplishment. Had one win and 2 losses in his two losses he threw a 1 hitter and loss on an unearned run and lost in the
regional game 3 to 2 and gave up 1 earned run. Dalton Allen in Harrisburg had a good season as well in Class B he pitched in the semifinal championship game yesterday but Harrisburg lost he also made all region team. In class A Josh Baumgart pitched the championship game and got a no decision. He had two hits. He was an Honorable Mention for Class A all region. I also see Jordan Risse was honorable mention as well.
Attached is the South Dakota Site
Blizzard players representing well in South Dakota -Travis Hallock
Coach Barta and Coach Loberg -
I just wanted to say thanks for helping me develop into a better baseball player. I had a surprisingly good season and last night, I was awarded All-Conference as a pitcher for my high school team - East Ridge. We play in the Suburban East Conference with teams like Cretin, Mounds View, Stillwater, Forest Lake, Woodbury, Roseville, etc. Since I'm only a sophomore, I was really surprised.
I finished my first varsity year at 6-1 with a 1.62 ERA and a WHIP of 1.10.
Now the playoffs begin for our team. After that, I am on the roster for both our Legion team and our VFW team. I think I'll mostly pitch Legion and play OF for VFW.
Just wanted you to know that I am thankful for what you've done to help me improve and can't wait to get back on the field with you guys this summer.
If I haven't said it enough, I want to submit an official compliment regarding Joe. There is no one better suited to teach young baseball players than Dempsey. And it is sooooo genuine.
Beyond the fact that my Benny would list Joe in is top 10 favorite people in the world. Joe has ability to connect with so many people.
My goal is to build Joe's personal brand and become the private coach to dozens of Mahtomedi Boys. Drake Ouimet, for example, has found a love for baseball that you cannot put a price tag on. Joe has given him incredible confidence.
As for Ben, he impressed the 13AAA coach yesterday (caught live hitting for us) so much, he asked if Ben could play as a fill-in this Saturday if our numbers are down. He's barely 9 1/2. Pretty cool.
So happy you guys are in Vadnais!
This is Jim, Beau Jernberg's dad.
I wanted to write this earlier, but things get busy sometimes, and best intentions get put off.
First off, I want you to know how grateful Beau and I are that he was able to play in your program last year. If it turns out to be the highlight of his baseball, it was well worth it. From a parents perspective, it is refreshing to see a professionally run operation at work to instill core values, and work ethic. It was a lot of fun seeing Beau all stoked up to go play games/practice/work out/tournaments. He never tired of the program. Believe me, he bleeds Blizzard.
With Beau braking his ankle as a junior, this was his only exposure to college scouting. The more ball he played for you, the more he wanted to be able to play at the college level. I know a parents perspective can be tainted, but I felt he improved consistently through the season. Confidence is an amazing drug.
He ended up committing to Stout, and feels good about his decision. None of that experience would have been possible without your program. One thing that worked really well for us was to video clips of him playing, upload them to a YouTube account (we set up an account that was locked, and could copy/paste the link in emails), and send the link along to coaches for evaluation. Might be something to pass along to future players/parents. Please pass along our thanks to Coach Pfeffer, as he was instrumental to all above.
I wanted to thank you for running a class Blizzard program. Leo had a great experience and grew a lot as a player and a kid. Matt did a terrific job. I'm watching his summer and school teams now and realize that the Blizzard spoiled us with a great level of play that we don't see very often in MN.
Leo and I haven't talked too much about next year yet, but I think there's a good chance you'll see him again at tryouts in July.
Have a great summer!
Adam,I heard I missed a great game last night! So glad you got to see it!
Just wanted to thank you for your encouragement and kind words you had for Will: we have seen a whole new level of confidence in him since making this team, and your support (and praise!) means SO much to him! We are so proud of all his work and dedication, and to see it pay off is really a dream come true as parents.
We appreciate all that you do for Will and for baseball...we hope he takes his talent and love of baseball as far as he can and that he always enjoys and appreciates the game as much as he does now!
Hope to see you soon and thanks again! Kari Vanderbilt
Adam,Just wanted to say "Thank You" for your assistance and watching Connor's hitting video. Also wanted to mention a huge "Thank You" for selecting Connor for the Blizzard as it was a great experience for Connor and family, really appreciate everything you and your organization have done for Connor and hopefully we can continue the relationship throughout his High School career. Connor will be trying out again so we'll continue to develop his game and hopefully be able to make a Blizzard Roster again but most importantly wanted to let you know your efforts and your organizations efforts are truly appreciated.
Adam,I just wanted you to know how MUCH Rob enjoyed being part of the Blizzard Elite this past year! As parents, we applaud the Blizzard program's leadership, code of conduct, emphasis on being a good teammate and your mission statement, as these very same components seem to be taking a backseat in many of today's high school sports. Thank you for creating such an outstanding program for these young men! We're looking forward to one great "last" year with the Blizzard Elite!
Well done at awards banquet today...we are proud to be Blizzard Alumni....your program and Kasey's hard work turned him into a solid young man with a D1 scholarship!
Mike Ralston It has been a great ride and enjoyed every minute of it. Dominic would not be the ball player he is today without this experience but more importantly he would not be the person he is. He has grown up and experienced a whole new world outside of his old comfort zone, made new friends and learned to travel and experience new things that most kids age will never have the opportunity to try or the courage. We are forever grateful to Adam and Johnny for this.
Thanks for all you've done in baseball and in life!
The Reed's Hi Adam and M.B.A instructors.
I know that when I get a call or letter from a customer at my auto repair business telling
us we have done a good job or that they liked the way they were treated, the call was nice to get. Last winter my son Matt completed your 10 session hitting lesson package with Joe Dempsey as the instructor. From getting to know Joe, Jessie and other instructors by hanging out at the academy during the lessons I could tell they were baseball smart, liked to see progress in their students and related well with the kids. Before starting the lessons last winter I mentioned Matt would be needing help because he would be trying out for the Woodbury High School 9th grade team as a 14 year old. All his and team mates are 15 year olds. (He did make the team)
Matt has been hitting well and I know it has to do with the time he spent with Joe at lessons. Joe worked with him on mechanics and the mental tools needed for success at the plate. He was telling him he was a big kid so play big baseball. I've seen more doubles and hits this year. Last evening was very exciting, with two runners on, Matt drove a ball over the center field fence for a 3 run home run. None of the 15 year olds have done that. However, I had not arrived to the game to see it yet. The other Dads had to tell me about it. (DARN) I did get to see him hit one over the left fielder to the fence
at his next at bat.
So this is a e-mail to say you guys do a great job and tell Joe that Matt is playing a lot
bigger baseball from his help and really enjoying it.
Hey Coach Barta,
A couple college coaches have emailed me recently about playing for them
and they have mentioned your name so I just wanted to let you know that I
have decided on going to UW Stout. Thank you for all of the help
that you gave me and thanks for letting me play for the Blizzard. It helped
out tremendously with my college search and overall it amped my skills up.