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By Jason Groth
Grand Rapids Herald-Review

Former Itasca Community College baseball player Paul Krebs has signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Royals.

"It's a dream coming true," Krebs said. "I really can't describe the feeling after putting in all that hard work, dedication, keeping the faith and persevering after the door opens up for you, you really don't know how to feel besides jump forward and just take it and run with it."

Krebs played one season for the Vikings and helped them to a state title during the 2007 season. Krebs followed that up with two seasons with the Golden Eagles of the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Krebs followed that up with spring training session with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. Krebs was released from the Redhawks and has been through a number of tryouts.

"I kept believing and said if I kept working hard enough and good things should happen soon enough," Krebs said. "I got the call on Friday from Scott Melvin and he said we are going to finally sign you."

Justin Lamppa says Krebs was a very intense player and one of the hardest
workers on the Viking staff. "Paul was very intense. He is one of those kids that was first to practice and the last one to leave," Itasca Community College Baseball coach Lamppa said. "The reason why he made it is that he wouldn't take no for an answer.
He will just out work any kid. Even if the competition is good, he will outwork it. I'm sure he is not the most talented guy down there but he will come to the park with the most energy and work ethic. He will do whatever he needs to do to get himself in the lineup."

Krebs was a utility player for the Vikings and recorded the save on the mound for the Vikings in their state championship game. Krebs hit .264 with the Vikings and drove home 25 runs.

"He had a great year for us. He was with us for one year and signed to play Division-II after that," Lamppa said. "We won a state championship with him. He was a utility kid for us. He signed with them as a catcher and we kind of converted him to that spot. He wasn't so open to it at first but we had to do a little convincing. We told him he might have an opportunity at the next level as a catcher. It was kind of ironic but he signed with them as catcher. It's kind of ironic but good for him."

Krebs says one of the best moments he had was winning the state title with ICC in 2007. "It was probably the best time of my life besides this moment now. I enjoyed every moment at Itasca Community College," Krebs said. "Winning state in 2007 is irreplaceable. The people I have met at ICC truly blessed my life and really kept me going. There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about ICC."

After playing for the Vikings, he moved on to play at the University of Minnesota-Crookston for two seasons. Krebs hit .267 in his first season and raised that to .305 his final season with the Golden Eagles. He drove in 38 runs in two seasons with the Eagles.

Krebs, at first, thought it was a joke when he received the call from Melvin. "I asked him if he was pulling my leg. I told him this is a good Friday joke," Krebs said. "You can't prepare yourself for that phone call. It really set in the next day when I had three missed calls from people in the Royals organization calling me and telling me that I needed to get a hold of them as soon as possible. They said this is not a joke and no one is pulling your leg."

Krebs is now in spring training in Arizona after signing the contract on March 21. Krebs is expected to stay in Arizona for an extended spring training before being assigned to a minor league affiliate with the Royals.

"I've got to catch some Major League pitchers which was quite the thrill. I really didn't know it but I guess I got to meet some famous people," Krebs said. "It all happened so fast. You never know what to expect." Krebs says the first few days with the Royals organization went by way too fast. "I was flying on cloud nine," Krebs said. "I was definitely grateful and thankful for this happening. There were a lot of emotions that I was going through. A guy wanted to cry that he was almost here, excited, nervous, anxious and happy. You have all those feelings running through your head and your gut. I told myself you have been down this road for seven to eight years and have been trying and believing in yourself and that you deserve every minute. What was going through my gut was just enjoying every moment of it. Tomorrow is not promised to any one of us. You don't take anything for granted and live each moment to the fullest."
   

ICC Assistant Baseball Coach, Bill Hare, inducted into the
Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on October 28, 2006

 

Bill Hare graduated from St. Paul Park High School in 1961 and Hamline University in 1965.  Bill started his career at Edgewood Junior High in Mounds View before moving to Greenway in 1973.  Bill served as B squad baseball coach there for eight years before taking over as head coach in 1981.  He stayed in that position until he retired in 1999.  He is still in coaching as an assistant coach at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids.

His coaching career in baseball has reached 40 years and is still going strong.  Bill's Greenway teams had tremendous success, winning 342 games while losing just 101, a winning percentage of over 77 percent.  In his 19 years as head coach Greenway won 17 conference championships, nine district or sub-section titles and 12 section championships.  Bill coached Greenway to four state championships, in 1986, 1987, 1991 and 1993.  They were also runner-up in 1992.  At one time, Greenway held the state record for consecutive wins at 31 before losing to Waseca in the 1988 state tournament.

Bill was Minnesota Coach-of-the-Year four times and was named district or section coach-of-the-year 16 or 17 times.  Bill is a member of the Hamline Athletic Hall of Fame, the Minnesota State High School Athletic Directors Hall of Fame and the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
   
cody bunkleman

Bunkelman Drafted

Cody Bunkelman, a pitcher for the ICC Vikings baseball team was drafted in the sixth round by the Cleveland Indians in the 2004 Amateur Draft. 

Bunkelman's fastball was clocked on a radar gun in the high 90s. He said the throwing program he was put on at ICC helped him tremendously in improving his fastball, which in turn improved his worth to professional baseball scouts.

Cody signed the following week and was sent to Burlington, NC for his first rookie season. 

He is still playing for the Cleveland Indians.




If you would like to know more about Itasca Community College and our baseball program, please contact:

Justin Lamppa
Head Baseball Coach
1851 East Highway 169
Grand Rapids, MN 55744-3397
Office: (218) 327-4226
Fax: (218) 327-4350
Email: jlamppa@it.cc.mn.us