Reporting Shane Kitzman
When Burnsville’s Tyler Hanson lined up at wide receiver this fall for the Blaze – playing pigskin for the first time, ever – one of the state’s standout baseball players had a revelation.
First off, it confirmed his preferred style of play: “I’m not a physical dude. I’m not a mean dude. And it was a really physical game out there.”
Secondly, it reinforced a teamwork mentality: “It showed me everything you do plays a huge role in each play. You don’t have to touch the ball on every play to make someone else better.”
And it reminded the senior how much he wants the ball (a baseball, that is) in his hands at all times: “That’s what I love about pitching – you have complete control,” he said. “You control the pace, control the outcome of the game, and it’s in your hands.”
The third baseman/pitcher has Burnsville at 7-2 on the year. And after a stellar sophomore season helping the Blaze secure a state title, Hanson likes his team’s chances to get back to Target Field and hoist the trophy once again, perfectly bookending his prep career.
Here’s nine things you need to know about the homegrown talent who’ll play at the University of Minnesota next year on scholarship.
Reason No. 1 why the U wants him
Hanson’s 6-2, 210-pounds and throws as high as 89 mph. Oh, and starting three years in a row for a powerhouse like Burnsville isn’t too shabby, either.
Reason No. 2 — he embraces leadership roles
“I’m a senior captain. I know teammates look up to me. I like to lead by example, talk with the underclassmen, and get to know everyone I’m playing with.”
As a Gopher, it’ll be a Burnsville reunion
“On the very first day they could call me, my old teammates Dan (Motl) and Matt (Stemper) called and really started persuading me to come to the U. I was born in Minnesota and that makes you a Gophers fan right away.
And the brand new field is awesome.”
He’s cautiously optimistic of taking the field next year for the U
“They want me to play the field and pitch right away. We’ll see if it goes one way or the other.”
His favorite person to follow on Twitter isn’t a male athlete
“Shawn Johnson, of course. She’s a good looking lady, and she’s funny.”
His brother (Eric) and father shaped him into a boy of summer
“My parents (Ed and Becky) pushed me and spent the long, endless hours playing catch in the street, and going to the batting cages.
My dad was a baseball player – so he says – in high school. When we were younger, when dad got home he would say ‘lemme change first’ and we would play catch outside all the time.”
He still can’t believe his Blaze didn’t win a second-straight championship last year
“We had three infiedlers going Division I, outfielders going Division I and Division I, and we had Division I pitchers.”
He’s debating two athletically oriented majors at the U
“It’s between sports management or kinesiology. I want to be helping people with whatever I do.”
What does he say when his coach calls him one of the best he’s ever seen?
“I try to be humble, but having him say that gives me a bit of a big head. But I’m only in high school, I’ll just try to keep getting better.”