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  • 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

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.

Austin Game Cancelled Today!!!!

The Winona VFW Buddies game at Austin has been cancelled due to rain. Please spread the word to all players and parents. No practice Monday as well. Practice Tuesday at 1 pm at WSU. Rest up!!!

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:

Box Score Rockets:

Box Score Mantorville:

Buddies' Rohde following in brother's footsteps

From WDN


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

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


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:

Box Score Game 2:

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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:

Game 2 Box Score: 


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:

Game 2 Box Score:


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


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

Box Score Game 2

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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:

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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

Game 2 Box Score




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 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!


Upcoming Games/Practices

Tuesday,  Jul 7
Winona @ Austin 5:00pm Marcussen Park (Austin)
Wednesday,  Jul 8
Winona @ Rochester Spartans 5:00pm Mayo High School Field (Rochester Spartans)

For a complete schedule listing, click here!