Prep Baseball Report

Royals and Ponies to Rumble at Baseball Day Minnesota

Parker Hageman
Prep Baseball Minnesota

Minnetonka, MN – Over the past decade, the Woodbury Royals and Stillwater Ponies have produced some premium talent. 

Gilbert. Frisch. Meyer. Mazur. Malec. Murr

It would be challenging to overlook Woodbury and Stillwater when searching for programs with a deep history of competitive baseball. Over the last ten seasons, the Royals and Ponies games have been split relatively evenly, with Stillwater winning 16 to Woodbury's 15. In that time, neither team has finished a season below .500. Considering some of the names above, it's difficult to see them losing too many contests. 

Stillwater plays a brand of baseball that many can appreciate as timeless. They defend well, throw strikes, put the ball in play, and put pressure on the defense. Woodbury incorporates a similar game. "That's what it takes to win in the Suburban East Conference," says Woodbury head coach Kevin McDermott.

The Suburban East has long been considered a meat grinder of a schedule that undoubtedly sharpens performances. Since 2017, the AAAA state tournament championship games have all included teams from that conference, with Suburban East teams bringing home four of the six titles. The odds are strong that one of these two programs could be in the state tournament in 2024. 

In 2023, Woodbury defeated Stillwater 7-2 in River Falls in their first meeting of the year. Stillwater would take the next two with a 2-1 victory at home and a 10-7 win in the section elimination game at Northwestern College. Cretin-Derham Hall would eliminate the Ponies in the section's elimination bracket final. Both finished the season 11-7 in conference. 

Historically, Stillwater had made 11 state tournament bids, including appearances in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022, and came home with titles in 2018 and 2022. Woodbury has made three state visits, the most recent being in 2017. 

"Woodbury is honored to participate in the first-ever Baseball Day Minnesota," said McDermott. "This group of teams has sustained long-lasting success and has great baseball tradition, and we are very excited to showcase what we believe is one of the best rivalries in the Suburban East Conference and the entire state of Minnesota." 

"Our kids will be so excited to be a part of this celebration of Minnesota high school baseball," echoed Ponies head coach Mike Parker. "This event will allow us to showcase the high quality of our players and teams in the state."

There are certainly plenty of high-quality players on these teams. Woodbury's Lucas McNellis, a University of St. Thomas commit, is the highest-ranked player out of the class of 2024 (26th). Stillwater's Alex Boston, a University of Minnesota-Duluth commit, is the highest-ranked player for the Ponies (39th) in the senior class. Other talented players ranked in the Top 50 in their respective classes by Prep Baseball Minnesota include Joe Fredkove (Stillwater, 2025), Luke Adams (Stillwater, 2025), AJ Levy (Stillwater, 2025), and Nick Kinsey (Stillwater, 2026, Jr. Future Games participant). 

More on Baseball Day Minnesota:

+ Minnetonka and Wayzata Leadoff Baseball Day Minnesota
+ Baseball Day Minnesota Aims To Elevate High School Baseball Statewide


Lucas McNellis C / Woodbury, MN / 2024

University of St. Thomas commit



Gavin Dahl LHP / Woodbury, MN / 2025



Evan Crandall SS / Woodbury, MN / 2025




Ben Giliuson SS / Woodbury, MN / 2025




Tommy Kroohn OF / Woodbury, MN / 2024

Wisconsin-River Falls



George Bjellos RHP / Woodbury, MN / 2024




Nick Kinsey RHP / Stillwater, MN / 2026




Joe Fredkove OF / Stillwater, MN / 2025




Luke Adams SS / Stillwater, MN / 2025




AJ Levy OF / Stillwater, MN / 2025




Alex Boston OF / Stillwater, MN / 2024

University of Minnesota-Duluth commit



Charley Rowan SS / Stillwater, MN / 2024

University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse commit 


Gus Swenson SS / Stillwater , MN / 2024

St. Scholastica commit 


Owen Maslowski C / Stillwater, MN / 2024

Wisconsin-Parkside commit