MAYVILLE, N.D. — Mayville State head baseball coach Scott Berry used an NFL analogy to describe what it meant to the Comets program to have catcher Marcus Wohl return for this spring season.
A West Fargo High School graduate, Wohl didn’t have to return for another season after COVID-19 cut what was his senior season short last fall. Berry likened Wohl coming back to an NFL team signing its own free agent.
“Marcus was our free agent,” Berry said. “For him to be able to commit to come back was fabulous for us.”
Wohl helped Mayville State (35-16) win the North Star Athletic Association tournament championship with a 16-2 victory against top-seeded Bellevue (Neb.) on Monday, May 10, in the second-and-deciding title game. The Comets earned the league’s automatic bid to the NAIA tournament.
“It was huge for us,” Wohl said.
Wohl had a big performance in that NSAA tournament-clinching victory against the Bruins, going 3-for-4 with six RBIs, including a three-run home run. The No. 5-seeded Comets play No. 4 seed Point Park (Pa.) on Monday, May 17, in Williamsburg, Ky., in the first round of the NAIA tournament.
“He just has meant the world to us,” Berry said of Wohl.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Wohl is batting .280 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBIs in 51 games this season. Batting leadoff, he has 39 walks and a .440 on-base percentage.
“We’ve been very resilient and we’ve come out on top in a lot of close games because we’ve been able to stick together,” Wohl said.
Wohl is part of a group of seniors that decided to come back for one more season after the COVID-19 pandemic cut short last season. Wohl said it was an easy decision for him to return after the way last spring ended. In addition, he missed the 2019 season after shoulder surgery.
“I knew that it was a great opportunity and we could carry out a great season,” Wohl said. “A bunch of us seniors decided to come back and have one more go round. … We were able to get the full season in and it worked out into our favor, so it’s been a tremendous year all-around with that.”
Wohl joined the Comets program for the 2018 season after spending two seasons at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, Iowa.
“We were very happy to get him out of junior college and we were hoping to get him before junior college, but we were delighted to have him in our program,” Berry said. “He just does a terrific job, he’s just been so outstanding for us from a leadership standpoint and catching is such an important leadership position and he’s done it masterfully.”
Wohl was named to the All-NSAA second team this spring. This in essence is his third senior season with the Comets. In 2019, he was set to be a senior, but he missed that entire campaign due to injury. Then 2020 would have been his final year, but all players were granted an eligibility waiver due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Ending on a great note, that was the main reason I really wanted to come back,” Wohl said.
Comets senior right-hander Parker Stohr was a first-team All-NSAA selection as a starting pitcher, while senior right-hander Kenny Stewart was on the first-team as a reliever. Stohr is 6-1 with a 2.32 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 62 innings. Stewart is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA and seven saves and 62 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. Mayville State outfielder Jared McCorrister was also first-team all-conference. He is batting .295 with 18 doubles, seven home runs and 41 RBIs in 51 games.
Berry said returning veterans like Wohl were key this spring as the pandemic made it challenging to recruit transfers into the program. Most of the incoming players for the Comets this season were younger. Mayville State is starting true freshman Anthony Villanueva, from West Fargo, at shortstop and true freshman Sammy Satrom, from Mayville, at second base.
Mayville State would have been young at catcher if Wohl had decided not to return.
“We just could not have had the success we’ve had without Marcus Wohl behind the plate for us,” Berry said. “What he does best for us, is he receives very well. He receives well, he blocks well, he handles our staff well. He is very competitive.”