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Gabe Pankonin makes a play at the plate versus Detroit Lakes this past school year baseball season.

Pankonin attends Atlanta Braves prospect camp

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Gabe Pankonin, who will be a senior at Perham High School, recently participated in the Atlanta Braves tryout camp in Minnetonka, Minn. Pankonin, who is a switch-hitting catcher for Perham's baseball team, was invited to participate in the camp that was held Aug. 4.

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Activities at the camp centered around 60-100 yard dashes, batting and pop times.

Pop times are the measurements of when a pitch hits the catcher's glove and his throw to the second baseman's glove.

A standard for Major League Baseball catchers is 2.0 seconds.

Pankonin measured a 1.85 at the Minnesota High School Baseball Showcase in Burnsville, Minn., earlier this year.

Two seniors-to-be are nominated from the baseball team to attend the showcase. Pankonin joined teammate Jesse Hein.

"A lot of MLB catchers throw 2.0 but they get it there accurately," Pankonin said.

Pankonin, while hitting over .400 this summer, no slouch at the plate, centers his game on defense.

In a high school game this past season against East Grand Forks, he picked off five runners from first and second base taking almost two innings away from the Green Wave single-handedly.

While hot on the recruiting trail to play college ball. The call from the pros was a little unexpected.

"I was expecting college ones but not the Braves," he said.

Pete Gaustad, of Fergus Falls, also attended the Braves camp.

Over the course of the summer, Pankonin has attended many prospect camps, most recently the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes camps from the Universities of Nebraska and Iowa.

Last week, he visited St. Cloud State and Mankato with future stops at North Dakota State University and Creighton.

"I am just kind of open to wherever I can go," Pankonin said.

He has also discussed weekend Fall ball for Team Max Bat.

As of Monday, Aug. 15, football practice looms. Pankonin is in the middle of a starting quarterback roll with Jordan Hein. The duo split quarterback responsibilities last season.

His aspirations for the football team are high.

"We're the favorites to go to state," Pankonin said. "Pequot and East Grand Forks will be tough in the section."

The Heart O' Lakes Conference is going to be provide a real test for the Yellowjackets with the addition of powerhouse Detroit Lakes.

"I've gotten looks at division three for football," Pankonin said. "But I'm going to pursue baseball at the next level."

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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