• 2013 Second Place in District
  • 2012 22 wins 8 losses, Third Place in District
  • 2011 State Runner-up, District Champs 29 wins, 10 losses
  • 2010 Third Place in District


2017 District Schedule

All games for the District Tournament will be played at Gabrych Park, 950 7th St. E.  Winona, MN  55987


Saturday July 29th

Game 1 at 10 a.m.

Winona vs. Albert Lea


Game 2 at 12:30 p.m.

Rochester Century vs. Rochester Rockets


Game 3 at 3:00 p.m.

Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2


Game 4 at 5:30 p.m.

Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2


Sunday July 30th

Game 5 at 1 p.m.

Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4


Game 6 at 3:30 p.m.

Winner of game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5


Monday July 31st

Game 7 (if needed) at 5:00 p.m.

Game 6 teams again.

Pair of Shutouts Pace Buddies

Winona (12-1) won both ends of a doubleheader against Albert Lea, winning 1-0 and 12-0. Sam Nascak threw a shutout in Game 1 with nine strikeouts and four walks. Cal Brinkman drove in the game’s only run in the fifth inning. In the nightcap, Spencer Wright struck out five and walked three in a shutout. Austin Mlynczak was 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Ethan Ringo drove in two runs and scored twice.

Winona plays at Red Wing on Wednesday night.

VFW Update

The Buddies improved to 9-1 by sweeping a pair of doubleheaders over the weekend.

On Saturday, in a 14-0 win over Waseca, Sam Nascak was 3-for-3 with three RBI and Jaylen Vaughn was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Dayne Gamoke was 3-for-3 with three runs, and Brody Bittle was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI. Ethan Ringo struck out four in five innings for the win. In a 9-1 win in the nightcap, Ringo, Grant Buxengard and Bennett Heftman drove in two runs apiece.

On Sunday, Winona beat Faribault 11-1 and 9-3. In the opener, Vaughn had two doubles and three RBI. In the nightcap, Nascak had a double and three RBI.

The Buddies return to action at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Cannon Falls at Gabrych Park.

Nascak throws a no-hitter

Sam Nascak struck out 10 batters in throwing a no-hitter Tuesday night, leading the Winona VFW Buddies to a 4-0 win over the Rochester Rockets.

Nascak walked four and hit one batter, but didn’t allow a hit.

Ethan Ringo was 2-for-2 with two triples, while Matt Rinehart was 2-for-3 with two RBI.

First Practice 2017

The first practice of the year is going to be Wednesday, May 24th, at 6:30 p.m. at WSU, if the player is on varsity and they are still in the playoffs, they do not need to attend.  I need the fundraiser money and the liability forms though.  Players are to bring the liability form as well as the money for the fundraiser tickets.  Players are required to wear pants and a shirt that has sleeves.  Coach Benson will be bringing the fundraiser work schedule so those who have not signed up will be able to sign up.  


Practice Plan:


Batting Practice

Scrimmage (Pitchers will throw 20 pitches)

2017 Winona VFW Buddies Roster

Congratulations to the following players:

Sam Nascak, Jack Herczeg, Dayne Gamoke, Bennett Heftman, Ethan Anderson, Cal Brinkman, Matt Rinehart, Jack Conway, Ethan Ringo, Grant Buxengard, Brody Bittle, Austin Mlynczak, Jaylen Vaughn, Spencer Wright, Sean Mohan and Sam Kanne.

Practice will not begin until B-squad and JV seasons are complete.  Please keep an eye on the website for updates.

The fundraiser date this year is Saturday June 3rd.  More information about the fundraiser will follow in an e-mail.  Players are to send an e-mail to zachbenson22@yahoo.com with their parents names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses so we can start a contact form and set up a fundraiser work schedule.  We are going to have a parents meeting soon at the VFW to go over what to expect from the year. Congrats once again, and the coaches look forward to working with you all.

2017 Winona VFW Buddies Tryouts

Tryouts are going to start Sunday at 4 at WSU and will last until roughly 6 (depending on how many players tryout).  Players are asked to arrive at 3:45 to provide some information to the coaching staff.  Players will run the 60 yard dash, field ground balls and fly balls, as well as take batting practice, and if a player is a pitcher they will throw a short bullpen.  

The coaches look forward to seeing you all play and taking the first step towards the season.

Prospective Players

The coaches would like all prospective players to email Coach Benson a little information to zachbenson22@yahoo.com:

Players Name


Birth Date

School You Attend

We would like to receive this information as soon as possible.  If you see this message before other prospective players please let them know about the request of information.

Best regards to your high school seasons. Coach Benson and Coach Marks are excited of the season to start and get to work.

2017 Schedule Posted

The 2017 Winona VFW Buddies schedule has been posted.  All games are correct as of today but are subject to change.  

Tryouts are scheduled for May 7th but is subject to change as well.

VFW Buddies Advance to District Tournament


The Buddies are off to the final four.

The Winona VFW Buddies baseball team beat Faribault 4-2 on Monday night at Loughrey Field to advance to the First Division District Tournament to be played this weekend in Owatonna. The winner advances to the state tournament.

The Buddies, who went 13-9 in the regular season, hosted the first round of the tournament and went 3-0, beating Waseca 9-3 and Albert Lea 5-1 before toppling Faribault in the final game.

Current Time 0:00
Duration Time 0:00
Remaining Time -0:00
Stream TypeLIVE
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
Playback Rate

Michael Bennick drove in two runs against Faribault, while Scott Masyga and Jack Conway each drove in a run. Winona jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning. Jordan Niemeyer got the win, throwing six innings and allowing four hits and two runs. Parker Nelton worked the seventh for the save.

Against Albert Lea, Easton Gamoke was 3-for-4, while Bennick was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Nelton threw a complete game, striking out seven.

Against Waseca, Matt Rinehart doubled and drove in three runs. Gamoke struck out six in six innings for the win.

St. Cloud Hotel Information

We have booked the hotel rooms for the players at the hotel that I will put the information on later in this message.  The players are going to be staying together with the supervision of the coaches.


Holiday Inn & Suites

75 South 37th Avenue

St. Cloud, MN 56301

Phone: 1-320-253-9000

Website: http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/st-cloud/stcmn/hoteldetail


Next Practice

We will not be having practice Monday, Memorial Day, as the day is to honor those who have lost their lives while serving our country. Practice will be Tuesday at 6 at a location TBD due to sub-section playoffs at WSU. We play Wednesday at 5 at WSU vs. Stewartville. 


Reminder that fundraiser money is due Tuesday at practice for those who have received the tickets. I will distribute the tickets to those who were not at practice on Tuesday. All those who have not paid need to bring $99 to practice.  We will also need a copy of your birth certificate.  Keep your eyes posted for emails about possible changes for Tuesday.  If we do not have practice we will be meeting to hand out jerseys and go over our team identity and signs.

May 24th Practice Cancelled

Today's practice is cancelled.  We will begin practice on Thursday at 6 at WSU.  If you have any questions please contact me at zachbenson22@yahoo.com

First Practice

The first practice for the 2016 season will be tomorrow, May 24th, from 6-8.  We are excited to get to work.  Tentatively the practice will consist of infield/outfield and a scrimmage where we will be learning the way that you all play and how we can help you grow as a player. 

The tentative practice schedule is:

Monday’s 6:00-8:00 while school is still in session and 2:00-4:00 when players are out of school.
Tuesday’s 6:00-8:00 while school is still in session and 2:00-4:00 when players are out of school.
Thursday’s 6:00-8:00 while school is still in session and 2:00-4:00 when players are out of school.
Friday’s 6:00-8:00 while school is still in session and 2:00-4:00 when players are out of school.
All practices will be at WSU, unless there is a scheduling conflict with the Legion baseball team.  Practices will usually last around 2 hours and 30 minutes

Players who are on varsity at either Cotter or the Senior High do not need to attend practice until your season is over.  Please communicate with me if you are on either varsity team via email at zachbenson22@yahoo.com.

2016 Winona VFW Buddies Roster

Congratulations to the 2016 Winona VFW Roster

Peyton Schossow, Mitch McMurl, Easton Gamoke, Christian Grafton, Jordan Niemeyer, Joe Grund, Scott Masyga, Tanner Mlynczak, Parker Nelton, Matt Rinehart, Sam Nascak, Jack Gardner, Ethan Ringo, Jack Conway, Brody Bittle, Jack Herczeg, Michael Bennick.

Practice will not begin until B-Squad and JV seasons are complete.  Please keep an eye on the website for updates.

Reminder that the fundraiser date is Saturday June 4th.  If every player could send an e-mail to zachbenson22@yahoo.com with player's parents names, phone number, and e-mail address so we can start a contact form and set up a fundraiser work schedule.  Congrats once again, and look forward to meeting and working with all of you!

Winona VFW Buddies Tryouts Today!

The Winona VFW Buddies will be having their tryouts today, Sunday May 15th from noon until 3 p.m. (duration of tryouts depends how many players tryout) at Winona State University's baseball field. Players will run the 60 yard dash, field ground balls and fly balls, as well as take batting practice, and if a player is a pitcher they will throw a short bullpen. 

Games added to VFW Schedule

The Winona VFW Buddies will be playing @ Albert Lea on June 25th for a double header at 11:00 a.m. The Buddies will also play @ Northfield for a 10:00 a.m. game against Northfield followed by a game against New Prague at 12:15 p.m on June 12th. 

Winona VFW Buddies Name Head Coach

The Winona VFW Buddies have handed the coaching reigns over to former VFW Buddies player Zach Benson. Benson, who this past year finished up a successful four year playing career at Viterbo University, will take over for Winona Buddies' coaches Matt O'Brien and Matt Cada who had run the Buddies for the past 9 years.

"The Winona VFW Buddies Program is in great hands," former Buddies Coach Matt Cada commented. "Zach was the epitome of what the Buddies program stands for when he played for us. I have no doubt in my mind that he's the perfect choice to continue the Winona VFW Buddies tradition of excellence on and off the field." 

The Zach Benson Bio:

At Viterbo University: 2016: Lead the pitching staff in wins, innings pitched, ERA (starting pitchers), and strikeouts.

3rd best batting average on the team.

2014: Started 32 games in the field on a team that won their conference tournament and qualified for the National Tournament.

Majored in Social Studies: Education

Graduated from Winona Senior High School as a two sport athlete (baseball and basketball).

Currently plays for the Winona Chiefs Amateur Team

Grew up playing for Goodview Sandlot, Winona VFW Buddies, and Winona Lejetz.

Still amongst the all-time VFW leaders in single season RBI, batting average, triples, runs, and walks. 

Previous Coaching Experience: Viterbo University Camps, Winona Lejetz (Assistant), and Goodview Sandlot (Head Coach)

St. Cloud Tournament Bracket Available

The bracket for the St. Cloud Tournament is available under the handouts tab on the left side of the home page. Be aware that the first game is on a Friday at 11:15 a.m. in St. Cloud and players are not allowed to drive to the games. Hotel information will be posted soon, as will the time of the tryout, practice times, and the coaches for this summer.

Winona VFW Buddies Fundraiser Date Set

The Winona VFW Buddies will have their yearly fundraiser Saturday June 4th at the Winona VFW located at 208 E 3rd St. This is a mandatory event for Players and Parents to work to help raise money for the program. Players and Parents will take a work shift that could include serving food, cleaning, taking orders, making deliveries, etc. Each player will purchase tickets and then have the opportunity to sell those tickets to make their money back. That money will go to the VFW program to help pay for umpires, hotel rooms for players in St. Cloud, hats, and equipment. 

VFW Buddies 2016 Schedule Posted

The Winona VFW Buddies 2016 Schedule is now posted on the website. Click schedules on the left side of the page, make sure you have 2016 Division selected at the top along with Winona as the team.

Keep checking the website for more information as it will be updated periodically.

Buddies Banquet Date

The end of the season Winona VFW Buddies banquet will be held this Thursday July 30th at the Winona VFW. Free pizza and pop will be available for players and parents only. Banquet starts at 5:45 p.m. and pizza will be delivered at 6 p.m. Players should have belt, pants, and jersey to turn in. Please wash jerseys. If you cannot make the banquet please make arrangements to have someone drop off your uniform for you at the banquet. Hope to see all of you there!

Buddies' Season Ended

Austin, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies saved their best ball for the end of the season, upsetting tournament host Austin in Game 1, before falling to Owatonna and Austin to finish their season.

In Game 1 on Saturday, Winona stunned tournament host Austin with a 5-4 victory. 

Daniel Rohde got the win for Winona Buddies. He allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Rohde struck out two, walked one and gave up eight hits. 

Noah Nachtigal (2-4, 2 2B. 2 RBI), Rohde (2-4, 2B), Parker Nelton (2-4 RBI), and Jacob French (3-4) lead the Buddies 14 hit attack. Every Winona starter had at least one hit.

In Game 2 on Saturday, the Buddies gave #5 seed Owatonna everything they could handle before falling 11-8. 

Rohde stayed hot at the plate for Winona. Rohde went 3-4, drove in one and scored two runs. He singled in the third, fifth, and sixth innings.

Nachtigall (2-3, RBI), Jordan Niemeyer (2-4, 2 RBI), and Tanner Mlynczak (1-2, 2 RBI) shined at the plate for Winona.

On Sunday the Buddies' season ended with a tough loss to Austin 9-5. 

Easton Gamoke did all he could to give Winona a boost, but it wasn't enough.

Gamoke reached base three times in the game for Winona and stole 2 bases. He singled in the second and fourth innings.

Winona jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Jordan Niemeyer kicked things off for the Buddies with a single. Winona added more runs when Dylan Gordon scored on an RBI single by Niemeyer.

The Buddies scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut its deficit to four. A sacrifice fly by Nachtigal and a sacrifice fly by Nelton gave Winona Buddies life.

One run in the bottom of the sixth helped Winona close its deficit to 9-5. An RBI single by Nelton fueled Winona Buddies' comeback. That was as close as Winona would get as the Buddies finish their season with a record of 9-17.

Box Score Game 1 Austin: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=515205982&GameID=19689779&url=winvfw

Box Score Game 2 Owatonna: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=515205982&GameID=19689781&url=winvfw

Box Score Game 3 Austin: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=515205982&GameID=19689780&url=winvfw 

Winona Heads to Austin for Division Tournament

Winona will head to Austin for the division tournament. All games will take place at Marcusen Park 901 South Main Street Austin, MN (where we played earlier this year). Austin is the #4 seed, Owatonna the #5 seed, Rochester Knights the #12 seed, and Winona the #13 seed.

Double elimination tournament, only one team advances to District Tournament the following weekend at the lowest seed remaining. All other teams' seasons are over.

Games on Saturday:

Winona plays Austin at 9:00 a.m. (Players arrive at the field by 7:30 a.m/first base dugout)

Rochester Knights play Owatonna at 11:30 a.m.

Loser of these two games plays at 2:00 p.m. (loser of this game = season over)

Winner of first two games play at 4:30 p.m.

Full tournament bracket available under handouts on the left side of the page (VFW Division Tournament Bracket)

There will be a gate fee as well for spectators (see VFW Division Tournament Bracket handout)

Winona Pulls Off Comeback Win

The Winona VFW Buddies outlasted Faribault on Wednesday after four lead changes, squeaking out a 7-5 win at Cotter Field.

Winona finally managed to grab the lead after a strong sixth inning. The Buddies scored on a two-run double by Noah Nachtigal off Graham Gulsnig, scoring Tanner Mlynczak and Dylan Gordon.

Peyton Schossow shut down Faribault while he was on the bump. Schossow held Faribault hitless over 3 2/3 innings, allowed no earned runs, walked two and struck out two.

The bottom of the first saw Winona Buddies take an early lead, 1-0.

Winona brought home three runs in the fourth inning, and matched that run total in the sixth. In the fourth, the Buddies scored on a groundout by Mlynczak, bringing home Parker Nelton.

Daniel Rohde was also 2-4 with a double and an RBI to lead Winona who finishes up the regular season 8-

Peyton Schossow and Parker Nelton combined to shut-out Faribault for 5 2/3 innings, while only allowing one hit. Nelton picked up the win. 

Winona VFW Struggles at St. Cloud

St. Cloud, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies had some struggles at the St. Cloud VFW Invitational Tournament July 10-12. The Buddies lost three games by scores of 9-6, 8-0, and 10-4. 

In Game 1, the Buddies fell to Maplewood 9-6. Winona was tied 6-6 before giving up 3 runs in the top of the seventh. 

Michael Bennick paced Winona Buddies at the plate. Bennick went 1-2, drove in one and scored one run. 

Winona put up three runs of its own in the first scoring on a two-run single by Parker Nelton and an RBI double by Bennick.

Easton Gamoke was 2-4 and Dylan Gordon 1-2 for Winona. 

In Game 2, Winona lost to St. Cloud Apollo 8-0. Winona was held to 5 hits. The Buddies struggled on the mound with 9 walks.

In Game 3, Winona was defeated by Grand Rapids 10-4. Daniel Rohde and Noah Nachtigal had 2 hits a piece for the Buddies who struck out 20 times in the ball game. Winona struggled on the mound for the second consecutive game walking 11 and hitting 2 batters. 

Up next for Winona is a home game Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Gabrych Park in Winona against the Rochester Knights.

Winona Heads to St. Cloud

First game for Winona is at Joe Faber Field 5001 Veterans Drive, St. Cloud, MN 56303 at 4 p.m. Players should be at the field by 3 p.m. (we're in the 3rd base dugout).

If Winona wins they play at 8:30 p.m at the same field. If they lose they play at 12:15 p.m. Saturday. Full tournament bracket is available for download under "Handouts" then listed as St. Cloud baseball bracket.

The players and coaches are staying at the Holiday Inn & Suites 75 South 37th Avenue St. Cloud, MN 56301

Phone: 1-320-253-9000. Players and coaches will check-in after Friday's last game.

The French's will send out some more information tonight about the tournament. 

Buddies Drop Heart Breaker

Austin, MN

For the second game in a row the Winona VFW Buddies lost a one run game, this time falling to Austin 3-2 on a walk off error. 

"The boys deserved to win today," Winona Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "I made a coaching mistake on the base paths, so I'll take the blame for this one. I'm very happy with how we're coming around."

Winona received solid pitching performances from Daniel Rohde and Easton Gamoke as the two combined for 6 innings allowing 1 earned run, on 3 hits, striking out 4, and walking four.

"We wanted to split the game with these two to keep them fresh for the St. Cloud Tournament this weekend," O'Brien said. "They keep getting better and better, and our defense did a great job making plays for them."

Winona took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Rohde lead off with a double. Dylan Gordon bunted for a single to move Rohde to third. Gamoke hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the first run of the game.

The Buddies scored again in the 6th inning on a bases loaded walk to Rohde. Gamoke, Sheldon Brand, and Michael Bennick added the other Winona hits. 

In the bottom of the 7th with Austin trailing 2-1, Austin used two walks and an error on a bunt to walk off the Buddies.

"It's tough to lose these close games," O'Brien said. "At the same time, we're right there. We're starting to play better ball at the right time of the year. I'm happy for the kids, if we keep this up, we're going to turn some heads in the tournament."

Winona returns to action Wednesday at the Rochester Spartans at Mayo's High School Field at 5 p.m.

Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=561514733&GameID=20599422&url=winvfw


Winona Loses in Extra Innings

A tenth-inning Red Wing single spelled defeat for Winona Buddies, falling 3-2 in walk-off fashion at Athletics Field (Red Wing) on Wednesday.

With the score tied at two in the tenth inning, Teddy Tauer came to the plate and singled, scoring Seth Morem.

Sheldon Brand did his best to jumpstart the offense for Winona Buddies, reaching base three times. He singled in the third inning.

"We've really put emphasis on pitching and defense and today's game showed that," Winona Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "Now we just need to get the bats going."

Cam Benway got the win for Red Wing. He tossed five innings of shutout ball. He struck out two, walked two and surrendered no hits.

Daniel Rohde and Dylan Gordon each had an RBI for Winona. 

Up next: Winona travels to Austin Tuesday for a First District game at 5 p.m.

Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=180674688&GameID=19689774&url=winvfw


Make-up Game Dates

We have been rained out of three games this season for VFW baseball. Here are the make-up dates:

Tuesday July 7th @ Austin at 5 p.m. for a single game. 

Tuesday July 14th home @ Gabrych Park at 5 p.m. for a single game.

Wednesday July 15th home @ Cotter (tentatively) at 5 p.m. for a single game.

VFW Buddies Take 2nd Place at Winona Invitational

The Winona VFW Buddies took 2nd place at the Winona Invitational this past weekend. The Buddies lost their opening game to tournament champion Northfield 14-1 before scoring victories over the Rochester Rockets (9-5) and Mantorville Mets (6-4). 

In the tournament opener, division leader Northfield flexed their muscles on the Buddies leading to a 14-1 victory in five innings. Winona was held to just two hits (Noah Nachtigal 1-1 and Tanner Mlynczak 1-2, RBI). 

"Northfield showed why they're in first place in our division," Winona Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "They held us to two hits and put on a offensive clinic."

The Buddies rebounded against the Rochester Rockets by score of 9-5. Winona took advantage of 8 Rocket walks to go with seven hits. 

"It was nice to see our offense show some signs of life after that first game," O'Brien said. "Much more complete at bats, hopefully that pushes us in the right direction."

Jacob French (2-4, 2B, 2 R) and Sheldon Brand (3 RBI) lead the Buddies offensively. Mitch McMurl picked up the win on the mound for Winona, while Scott Masyga was credited with the save.

In a battle for second place, the Buddies hung on to defeat Mantorville 6-4. 

Dylan Gordon picked up the complete game victory on the mound for Winona. Gordon, gave up 4 runs, 0 earned, limiting Mantorville to five hits, while striking out 6, walking 2, and hitting 3.

"Dylan did a great job minimizing in some crucial innings," O'Brien said. "I'm not a big fan of five free passes, but he had good rhythm, and shut them down in big spots."

French continued his hot bat going with 2 RBI. Nachtigal also added a hit and two runs for Winona.

"That last win was a big win for us," O'Brien said. We're still breaking bad habits, but the guys are doing a fantastic job staying with it. They deserved to win."

Box Score Northfield: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=997324535&GameID=19689773&url=winvfw

Box Score Rockets: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=997324535&GameID=19689771&url=winvfw

Box Score Mantorville: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=997324535&GameID=19689772&url=winvfw

Buddies' Rohde following in brother's footsteps

From WDN http://www.winonadailynews.com/sports/local/buddies-rohde-following-in-brother-s-footsteps/article_24ed2b2d-669b-5e00-a894-ac1eedb4e6f0.html

By: JOHN CASPER JR. john.casper@lee.net

There is one thing Daniel Rohde is confident he can do better than his brother.

“I’m better at hitting righty than he is,” the junior-to-be at Winona Senior High School and member of the Winona VFW Buddies baseball team said.

He pauses. Then delivers the punchline.

“But he’s a lefty.”

He understands why people want to make the comparison. Bryan Rohde, a 2013 graduate of WSHS, led the Winhawks to a share of the Big Nine Conference and a spot in the Section 1AAA title game before heading to St. Cloud State on a baseball scholarship. The dominating left-handed pitcher was the 2013 Winona Daily News player of the year and helped the Buddies finish second in the VFW state tournament in 2011.

“He helps me out a lot, though,” said Daniel Rohde, who is a pitcher and corner infielder for the Buddies (5-7), who host the Winona Invitational today at Gabrych Park and Saturday at Loughrey Field. “Mechanics, pitching, just an encouragement to play. He tells me to have fun.”

They are similar people, Buddies coach Matt O’Brien said, but not similar players.

“I thought of Bryan as more of a finesse player,” O’Brien said. “Daniel is more of a physical player. Their personalities are similar, but the way they play the game is different.”

O’Brien said Daniel is a ahead of his brother at this point of their careers when it comes to hitting. He proved that in his second varsity game of the spring for the Winhawks, hitting a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to send a game with Owatonna to extra innings.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Rohde, who missed most of the season following knee surgery.

It won’t be the last time he hits a big homer, O’Brien said.

“He looks the part when you watch him,” he said. “He looks comfortable and locked in. You can tell as he continues to get older and grow, he’s going to hit a lot of balls out of the ballpark.”

He’s a pitcher, too, although Rohde will be the first to tell you he has work to do there.

“I just need to throw more strikes,” he said. “Mix in my curveball when I can.”

But younger brother will quickly admit he’s not like his older brother in that regard. He also doesn’t feel the pressure to replicate Bryan’s success.

“He’s more serious about baseball than I am,” Daniel said.

That may be the case now. But O’Brien isn’t so sure about the future.

“Bryan started taking it seriously when he saw how good he could be,” O’Brien said. “He really liked the challenge of getting better. I think Daniel will be there soon. Like Bryan, I don’t think he understands how good he can be, or the future he can have in baseball. Right now, I think he’s just kind of happy to be here and playing. But once he gets a little older and sees the fruits of his labor, I think he’ll take it more seriously.”

There are signs that’s already happening. O’Brien said Daniel is asking to come to practice early for more swings, more work, more opportunities to improve.

That’s the goal O’Brien and assistant coach Matt Cada set every year for the their team.

“We stress individual improvement,” O’Brien said. “We want to teach kids to play the game the right way.”

That’s the goal Rohde has in mind for this weekend. The Buddies play Northfield at approximately 7 p.m. today, then the Rochester Rockets at 9 a.m. Saturday and Mantorville at 3:45 p.m. Saturday.

“There’s a lot of games this week, a lot of opportunities to get better,” Rohde said. “We’re going to see some pretty good teams. Hopefully, we can put some stuff together.”


Buddies Drop First District Game

Winona, MN (From WDN http://www.winonadailynews.com/sports/local/buddies-fall-to-cannon-falls-in-vfw-play/article_bb76ac5f-e2fd-53db-902f-f7341aa8ebb1.html)

Cannon Falls used timely hitting and took advantage of four errors to beat the Winona VFW Buddies 6-1 in a First District game Wednesday night at Loughrey Field.

Cannon Falls broke open a tight game with two runs in the fifth and put it away with two in the seventh.

Winona scored its lone run on an RBI single by Easton Gamoke.

Daniel Rohde took the loss for the Buddies (5-7, 2-6), going six innings and allowing five runs — three earned — on seven hits. He struck out four and walked one.

Gamoke was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Noah Nachitgal, Michael Bennick and Dylan Gordon each had a hit.

Max Bowen struck out five in throwing all seven innings for Cannon Falls (5-2 First District).

The Buddies return to action this weekend at the Winona Invitational, which begins Friday at Gabrych Park. Winona plays Northfield at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s games begin at 9 a.m. and will be held at Loughrey Field.

Box Score http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=569350822&GameID=19689770&url=winvfw


Winona Swept by Rochester Century

Rochester, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies couldn't pull it together in a double header versus Rochester Century.

In Game 1 the Buddies' defense made five errors en route to a 12-5 defeat at the hands of Rochester Century.

Parker Nelton did his best to keep Winona in the game, racking up two RBIs on a double in the sixth inning and shutting down Century's bats in relief.

Nelton baffled Rochester Century, striking out five batters. Nelton allowed no earned runs on five hits and no walks over four innings.

Rochester Century never surrendered the lead after the second inning, scoring five runs on an RBI double by Swenson, two errors, an RBI single by Hanson, and an RBI triple by Wright.

Three runs in the top of the fifth helped Winona close its deficit to 12-3. A passed ball, a groundout by Daniel Rohde, and an RBI single by Noah Nachtigal set off the Buddies rally.

After pushing across two runs in the top of the sixth, Winona Buddies faced just a 12-5 deficit. A two-run double by Nelton sparked Winona Buddies' rally. Swenson ended the inning by getting Rohde to fly out.

In Game 2, the Buddies fell 6-4.

Noah Nachtigal did his best to change the outcome, but Nachtigal couldn't pilot Winona Buddies past Rochester Century.

Rochester Century managed just one hit off of Nachtigal, who allowed no earned runs, walked one and struck out one during his two innings of work.

Three runs in the top of the sixth helped Winona Buddies close its deficit to 6-4. A steal of home by Griffin Buswell and a two-run double by Nelton gave Winona Buddies life. Buswell, Mlynczak, Schossow, and Nelton had the Buddies four hits. 

Box Score Game 1: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=997324535&GameID=19689768&url=winvfw

Box Score Game 2: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=997324535&GameID=19689769&url=winvfw

"Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved." Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.

Winona Blows Out Janesville in Sweep

Winona, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies swept Janesville by scores of 10-0 and 13-1, both games were ended by 10 run rule. 

In Game 1, Daniel Rohde had an impressive outing against Janesville's lineup. Rohde gave up just one hit, allowed no earned runs, walked three and struck out four during his five innings of work.

"Daniel gives a chance to win every time he takes the mound for us," Buddies' Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "He's a power pitcher and his teammates seem to really respond well when he's pitching."

Rohde also helped his cause at the plate with two extra-base hits for Winona Buddies. He doubled in the second and third innings.

Eight runs in the first three innings helped Winona Buddies blow out Janesville. A sacrifice fly by Mitch McMurl and a passed ball in the first inning and a walk by Noah Nachtigal, an RBI single by McMurl, a wild pitch, and a groundout by Michael Bennick during the second inning supplied the early offense for Winona Buddies.

The Buddies was sparked by Nachtigal and Rohde, who teamed up for three hits and two RBIs.

Game 2 was much of the same. Winona exploded for seven runs in the first, leading to a 13-1 victory.

Winona Buddies scored in the first on a passed ball, a passed ball, an RBI single by Jordan Niemeyer, a passed ball, an RBI single by Griffin Buswell, and a two-run single by Peyton Schossow.

Schossow (2-4, 2 RBI), Jacob French (2-4), and Niemeyer (2-4, 2B, 3 RBI) powered the Buddies offensive attack.

Dylan Gordon got the win for Winona Buddies. He allowed one run over five innings. He struck out seven, walked five and surrendered one hit.

"Today we clicked," O'Brien said. "We challenged our players yesterday to be teammates and come together as a team. Today we brought effort and focus and it paid dividends."

The Buddies return to action this Saturday for a double header at Winona State University starting at 11 a.m.

Game 1 Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=708335778&GameID=20656748&url=winvfw

Game 2 Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=708335778&GameID=20656753&url=winvfw 


Buddies Split With Albert Lea in Home Opener

Winona, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies struggled offensively, but still managed a split in their home opener at Gabrych Park.

In Game 1, Albert Lea's starting pitcher Simon baffled Winona Buddies hitters all game long on Saturday, tossing a no-hitter and leading Albert Lea to a 10-0 victory over in a five inning shortened game due to 10 run rule.

No Winona Buddies batter was able to locate Simon's pitches during the game. Simon went the distance, striking out 12 batters and walking five. Daniel Rohde reached based three times via walk for Winona.

Witham, Lein and Ulve helped lead Albert Lea. They combined for four hits and three RBIs.

"Their starter was pretty impressive," Winona Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "I was disappointed in our two strike approaches, but you have to give him credit for putting our guys away."

Defensively the Buddies struggled especially in the second inning that saw eight runs cross the plate on a two-run double by Ulve, two errors, and a fielder's choice.

"Game 1, we just didn't come ready to play," O'Brien said. "There is no excuse for not having attitude, effort, and mental focus. Fortunately, we rebounded in game 2."

In Game 2, the Buddies used a strong pitching performance from Peyton Schossow en route to a 1-0 victory.

Schossow worked out of five tricky spots for Winona Buddies. He pitched five innings and allowed no earned runs on three hits. 

"Peyton did a great job trusting his defense and working out of jams," O'Brien said. "Hats off to our guys to keep grinding it out each inning."

Winona Buddies' lone run of the ballgame came in the third inning on an RBI single by Dylan Gordon. Jordan Frey, Jordan Niemeyer, and Michael Bennick had the Buddies other hits.

Game 1 Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=708335778&GameID=19689763&url=winvfw

Game 2 Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=708335778&GameID=19689764&url=winvfw


St.Cloud Hotel Information

The Winona Buddies will be going to the St.Cloud Tournament which is July 10th, 11th, and 12th this year. Rooms have already been reserved (Friday and Saturday night) for the players and coaches at the Holiday Inn & Suites in St.Cloud. Parents are welcome to book their own room at this hotel, or any other hotel in the area. If parents would like to stay at the same hotel as the team, the information for the hotel is below:


Holiday Inn & Suites

75 South 37th Avenue

St. Cloud, MN 56301

Phone: 1-320-253-9000

Website: http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/st-cloud/stcmn/hoteldetail

The tournament bracket can be found under the handouts section (where the practice/game monthly calendars can be found)

Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Buddies Drop Two Games to Owatonna

Owatonna, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies (1-2, 2-3) lost two close games to Owatonna by scores of 6-4 and 2-0.

In game 1, Winona received an outstanding pitching performance from Daniel Rohde. Rohde in his first start of the summer, went 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs, only 2 earned, while striking out 7 and walking 2.

"Daniel was great today," Winona VFW Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "Owatonna always has a good hitting team and this year is no different. If we would have made Daniel a couple of more plays, he would have had a win."

The top of the first saw Winona Buddies take an early lead, 2-0. A single by Noah Nachtigal started the inning off. More runs came home for Winona Buddies when Nachtigal scored on an RBI single by Dylan Gordon.

Gordon (2-3, 2 RBI) and Rohde (2-4, RBI) lead the Buddies offensively. 

Owatonna survived Winona Buddies' surge and put up three runs of its own in the fifth. Owatonna scored on a two-run error and an RBI double by Brett Solie.

Nate Deason got the win in relief for Owatonna. Deason pitched two innings and allowed no runs.

In game 2, the Buddies had no answer for Owatonna starting pitcher Jacob Gauthier.

Gauthier got the win for Owatonna. He threw a complete game shutout, striking out eight, walking one and surrendering just two hits.

"He (Gauthier) was able to attack the strike zone and we didn't take many aggressive swings," O'Brien said. "Two hits isn't going to win a lot of ball games."

Noah Nachtigal ended up on the wrong side of the pitching decision, charged with the loss. He lasted four innings, walked three, struck out one, and allowed two runs. Tanner Mlynczak and Nachtigal combined for the Buddies' two hits.

Owatonna never surrendered the lead after the third inning, scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly by Kodey Kiel and an RBI single by Brock Hanson.

"Pitching was great today. Our defense and hitting are getting better, we just need to have more timely hitting and make a big play defensively to minimize innings," O'Brien said. "I am happy with how quickly we have been progressing and a full week of practice is much needed."

The Buddies are back in action Saturday for a double header starting at 11 a.m. This will be Winona's home opener at Gabrych Park against Faribault.

Box Score Game 1 http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=499259341&GameID=19689759&url=winvfw

Box Score Game 2 http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=499259341&GameID=19689761&url=winvfw

"Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved." Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.

Winona's Gamoke Stymies Stewartville

Stewartville, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies (1-1, 2-1) used a strong pitching performance from Easton Gamoke to overcome an early deficit en route to a 8-2 victory over Stewartville on Wednesday night.

Gamoke got the win for Winona Buddies thanks to 11 strikeouts. Gamoke allowed no earned runs on one hit and three walks over six innings.

"Easton put us on his shoulders today," Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "He pitched through some early defensive mistakes and kept putting up zeroes until we could get the bats going." 

The Buddies scored four runs in the fifth on a bunt single by Noah Nachtigal, a sacrifice fly by Jacob French, and a two-run single by Mitch McMurl.

"In the fifth inning, we finally started taking some aggressive swings and were able to put some pressure on them defensively," O'Brien said. "We have to learn how to make adjustments at the plate much earlier in the game."

McMurl racked up three RBIs on two hits for Winona Buddies.

Carter Sveen took the loss for Stewartville. He lasted just four innings, walked four, struck out four, and allowed one run.

The bottom of the second saw Stewartville take an early lead, 2-0. Stewartville then tacked on more runs when Herman scored on a passed ball.

Winona Buddies brought home one run in the fourth inning, and matched that run total in the seventh. In the fourth, Winona Buddies scored on an RBI single by McMurl, plating Dylan Gordon.

The Buddies are back in action Saturday for a double header in Owatonna starting at 11 a.m.

"It was good to watch our guys persevere through some early struggles," O'Brien said. "We just have to use each practice and game as an opportunity to get better."

Box Score: http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=70819811&GameID=19689758&url=winvfw

"Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved." Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.

Buddies Split in Season Opening Games

Waseca, MN

The Winona VFW Buddies started off the season a little rough, getting 10 runned (10-0) in their season opener. The Buddies would rebound to win Game 2 in extra innings 8-6 against First District opponent Waseca on Sunday.

"That first game was pretty tough to watch," Winona Head Coach Matt O'Brien said. "That's to be expected when you combine two teams and only have three practices before your first game. I was very excited to watch our team come back and compete in Game 2. It should show them we have a talented team, we just need some polishing."

Winona was held to just two hits, while striking out seven times in Game 1.

"Offensively in Game 1 we struggled with making adjustments to their pitcher," O'Brien said. "In Game 2, our hitters looked more confident at the plate and came through with runners in scoring position."

Daniel Rohde (3-7, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB) lead the Buddies at the plate. Mitch McMurl (3-5, 2 RBI) and Sheldon Brand (2-5, RBI) had multiple hits for the Buddies as well. 

"Daniel is one of our 3 returning players and he is a terrific leader by example," O'Brien said. "He had great at bats today, and hopefully our guys can follow his lead this year."

The Buddies return to action Wednesday at Stewartville for a 6 p.m. single game.

Game 1 Box Score http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=504285672&GameID=19689757&url=winvfw

Game 2 Box Score http://leaguelineup.com/gamesum_baseball.asp?sid=504285672&GameID=19689760&url=winvfw




Former VFW alum has success in college, another signs with WSU

Former VFW player Joe Miller playing at the University of La Crosse, enjoyed a successful senior season playing in the Division 3 National Championship. Here's an article leading up to the World Series.


Former VFW player Hunter Kruse signed a national letter of intent to play at Winona State University. Kruse who graduated from Winona Senior High,spent two years at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, IA and now has two years of eligibility left at WSU.

VFW Roster 2015

Congratulations to the 2015 Winona VFW Buddies Roster (apologize for the spelling errors)

Dylan Gordon, Sheldon Brand, Peyton Schossow, Mitch McMurl, Griffen Buswell, Joe Grund, Easton Gamoke

Jacob French, Noah Nachtigal, Daniel Rohde, Michael Bennick, Parker Nelton, Jordan Frey, 

Tanner Mlynczak, Scott Masyga, Jordan Niemeyer.

Practice will not begin until B-squad and JV seasons are complete. Please keep an eye on the website for updates.

Reminder that the fundraiser date is Saturday May 30th. If every player could send an e-mail to mattob24@yahoo.com with player's parents names, phone number, and e-mail addresses so we can start a contact form and set up a fundraiser work schedule. Congrats once again, and look forward to meeting and working with all of you!