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Baseball: Red Wing's Boldt receives final curtain call

Red Wing senior Ryan Boldt entered the game as a pinch hitter during the fourth inning of Tuesday's game against Ellsworth at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Boldt, a projected first round prospect for Major League Baseball's First Year Amateur Baseball Draft on June 6, injured his knee during the first game of the season. Photo by Jon Claesson/Ellsworth Fan Foto1 / 2
Red Wing senior Ryan Boldt (middle) is congratulated by teammates after coming out as a pinch runner during the fourth inning of Tuesday's regular-season finale at the Red Wing Athletic Field. A preseason All-American from various baseball outlets, Boldt has not played since April 26 due to a torn meniscus. Photo by Joe Brown2 / 2

It wasn't how Ryan Boldt imagined Senior Day. There's no way around it.

But on Tuesday, Red Wing's baseball team honored the injured senior standout the best way it could considering the circumstances.

Recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, Boldt entered as a pinch runner with two outs in the fourth inning during Tuesday's game against Ellsworth at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Boldt, escorted by crutches, made his way out in full uniform and received a loud applause from the players and fans before being removed from the game.

"It means a lot just going out there one last time even if I'm not fully playing or even going in for a pitch just to be a part of it one more time," Boldt said. "I love these guys to death and I wouldn't ever want to not play with them again. It's obviously going to happen eventually but hopefully we can keep the season going so I can keep being a part of it. The support has been incredible from friends to family to people I never really knew that have reached out, and it's kind of a blessing to know that people care about you."

Boldt and many of the Wingers were visibly affected by the moment.

"You could see the emotion in the dugout," Hartmann said. "It shows what he means to them."

The decision to have Boldt enter Tuesday's game at some point as a pinch runner was brought up late last week, Hartmann said.

"He deserves that," he said. "Hopefully our fans were able to recognize in the moment what kind of a player and what kind of a person he is. It was really an emotional moment. A lot of the guys got choked up, myself included. It was a special moment. I won't ever forget it and I don't think he will either."

Boldt's rehab is progressing well as he regains range of motion and muscle in the leg. He has little pain in the knee going through day-to-day activities, he said.

And rehab is nothing new to Boldt, who broke his left elbow in Little League and endured multiple surgeries before switching his throwing arm. He was clocked at 89 miles-per-hour at a showcase during the summer and he knows first-hand the meaning of perseverance.

"You just got to keep pushing," Boldt said. "With my arm injury in the past, I know I can overcome adversity, I've proven that before and I know I can do it again. You just have to persevere and keep plugging away until to get back to 100 percent and get back to playing."

Before the knee injury, Boldt was considered by many a sure-fire first-round pick in Major League baseball's amateur draft June 6-8. ESPN's Keith Law had Boldt ranked the 13th best draft prospect and Baseball America had him as the 22nd-rated prospect. While some of the same experts have Boldt falling out of the first round, it's yet to be seen how the surgery will fully impact his draft stock. The speedy Nebraska Cornhusker recruit injured the knee on April 26 in the first game of the season against Farmington in Rochester.

Ryan was a member of Team USA's 18-and-under team that took gold in Seoul, South Korea last September and was also named MVP of the Perfect Game All-American Classic August 12 in San Diego.

Boldt received an uplifting surprise two weekends ago while attending a baseball game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Minneapolis. He was approached by two scouts from Kansas City that were at the game to watch Minnesota pitcher Tom Windle and came over to talk, Boldt said.

"One of them right before they left didn't say anything just gave me his card and it was kind of weird, he just pointed to something and I didn't know what was going on," he said. "Right after he did that, he wrote the verse on there: James 1:2-4."

The Bible verse in the New International Version says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

"I looked it up right away and knew it definitely had meaning to me," Boldt said. "I'm glad he did or else I wouldn't have even thought about it."

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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