CROOKSTON, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program announced the addition of three student-athletes to their signing class for next season. Owen Ellefson (RHP, 6-4 180, Argyle, Minn./Northland Community and Technical College), Scott Mortenson (OF, 5-11 185, East Grand Forks, Minn./St. Cloud Technical and Community College) and Adam Shykes (SS/2B, 5-8 155, Duluth, Minn./Duluth Denfeld H.S.) were signed by the Golden Eagles. The signees brings UMC’s class to 14 overall, including the 11 players they signed during the Early Signing Period.
“We’re excited to sign these three student-athletes,” said Head Coach Steve Gust. “They are all athletic and very projectable. These three guys fill needs of ours. With a lot of hard work, we fell they can continue to help build our program.”
The three signees join Gabriel Cavasos (RHP/3B, 5-9 210, San Antonio, Texas/Northland CTC), Travis Conoryea (C/IF, 5-7 170, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley H.S.), Logan Felch (1B, 6-2 205, Canyon Lake, Texas/Northland CTC), Dalton Grose (LHP, 6-3 190, Waterville, Minn./Waterville-Elysian-Morristown H.S.), Griffin Fussy (SS/RHP, 5-11 180, Ham Lake, Minn./Blaine H.S.), Jayden Grover (RHP, 6-3, 205, Cooperstown, N.D./Griggs County Central H.S.), T.J. Hokanson (1B/3B, 6-0 205, Chanhassen, Minn./Chanhassen H.S.), Dakota Hoyt (1B, 6-2 230, Glenfield, N.D./Lake Region State College), Reece Johnson (OF, 5-11 170, Larimore, N.D./Larimore H.S.), Hunter Mutterer (1B/RHP, 6-2 245, Annandale, Minn./Annandale H.S.) and Justin Yutrzenka (C/RHP, 5-10 180, Stephen, Minn./Stephen-Argyle H.S.).
The 14 signees will help replace a strong senior class that is graduating in 2016, which includes 12 student-athletes, eight of which are either starters in the field or in the starting rotation. The 14 newcomers will look to help the Golden Eagles continue to build on the historic season they have put together in 2016, as they have set program-bests for season wins and conference wins and are closing in on their first trip to the NSIC Baseball Tournament since 2001. Minnesota Crookston is set to return 31 players from the current roster including eight seniors.
The signees also continue Gust’s quest to find the best talent in the area to help build the program. All three players are from Northern Minnesota, including two players from Northwest Minnesota. Gust has already found success in the region with his current squad, including East Grand Forks projects Reed Hjelle (Fr., OF/1B) and Ethan Mushitz (So., SS) and Karlstad-product Jarad Nelson (Sr., RHP).
Owen Ellefson/RHP/6-4 180/Argyle, Minn./Northland C.T.C.
A two-sport athlete in high school at Stephen-Argyle Central H.S. In high school, was an All-Section baseball pick as a junior and senior. Ellefson was an All-Conference basketball pick as a senior. In junior college, Ellefson is batting .412 as a sophomore with nine runs scored and five RBI’s. As a pitcher, Ellefson has appeared in seven games with two starts. He has a 3.65 ERA in 37 innings pitched with 26 strikeouts. As a freshman, Ellefson played
Ellefson is the son of DeAnn Ellefson. He was born May 12, 1996. Ellefson will major in sports and rec management at UMC. His cousin, Nick Hoffard, plays for NSIC rival Northern State University.
“Owen is a great athlete,” Gust said. “He played both basketball and baseball at Northland, which is extremely difficult to do. With his body type, he will see big gains as he further develops physically. He could be an extremely effective pitcher for us right away.”
Scott Mortenson/OF/5-11 185/East Grand Forks, Minn./St. Cloud Tech C.C.
Mortenson is batting .341 in 41 at-bats as a sophomore with 12 runs scored and 14 RBI’s. Mortenson is second on the team with nine stolen bases. As a freshman, he hit .238 with six runs scored, one home run and five RBI’s. Mortenson played high school baseball with current Golden Eagles Ethan Mushitz, Reed Hjelle and Clarke Peterson. Mortenson is a left-handed bat.
He is the son of Drew Mortenson and Kelly Sjoblom. Mortenson was born April 18, 1996. He plans to major in finance at UMC. His dad Drew played baseball at Mayville State University.
“I’ve seen Scott play since he was a young kid,” Gust said. “I really like the way he has matured, both physically and mentally. He will certainly be looked at to help us as a left-handed bat.”
Adam Shykes/SS-2B/5-8 155/Duluth, Minn./Duluth Denfeld H.S.
Shykes was five-year varsity baseball letter winner for Duluth Denfeld H.S. He served as captain as a junior and senior. Shykes was an All-Conference Honorable Mention pick as a junior. He also played hockey and soccer. Shykes was a three-year varsity member of the soccer and hockey team. He was named All-Lake Superior Conference hockey in 2016. He served as team captain of the hockey team as a senior. Shykes was coached in American Legion baseball by former UMC baseball player Travis Magdzas. Shykes is another left-handed bat.
He is the son of Adam and Dawn Shykes. Shykes was born Sept. 14, 1997. He plans to major in sports and rec management. His father Adam Shykes was a goalie for the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
“Adam has some solid skills and is a great athlete,” Gust said. “He is versatile where we feel he can play a lot of different positions. I’m excited to see how he develops.”
All signees are contingent upon admission to UMC and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Everyone released today has signed their National Letter of Intent prior to release of information.