Giants' Levander to hit the diamond at HCC next spring

Mesabi East graduate Hunter Levander of Aurora will be playing baseball at Hibbing Community College next spring. He will also be in the Law Enforcement Program.

AURORA -- Being a well-rounded player, Mesabi East’s Hunter Levander should be a good fit for baseball next spring at Hibbing Community College, Giants’ head coach Dave Hillman said.

The 2020 high school graduate can play multiple positions, has above average speed and can get to any ball, the coach added.

“He’s a great center fielder,’’ Hillman said, while also being able to play third base or pitch.

Levander added that HCC coach Bob DeNucci liked that fact that “I can pitch and I was pretty quick on my feet.’’ He is not sure of his position yet, but he is mostly playing center field and infield if needed on this summer’s Aurora Senior Babe Ruth team.

Levander’s decision to play in Hibbing came as he was looking at the HCC Law Enforcement Program. From there, Mesabi East junior varsity coach Mark Goerdt talked to DeNucci, who said he was interested in Levander.

The 18-year-old from Aurora was excited to play baseball again next spring after the 2020 high school season was canceled due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was kind of a relief to be able to play at Hibbing next year,’’ said Levander, who also played football and hockey in high school.

“I’m just thrilled that these kids are getting an opportunity to continue playing. It’s something that they won’t regret doing,’’ Hillman added.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge compared to high school,’’ said Levander, who likes pitchers that can throw faster when he’s up to bat. “It should be much more competitive than high school.’’

According to Hillman, Levander is a “smart athlete’’ and puts a lot of time and effort into the sport. “He just provides such great leadership. He leads by example. If someone is struggling, he talks to them’’ and helps them through it.

If he’s struggling himself, he takes the coaches’ advice on what he needs to work on and then helps his teammates with that knowledge.

“He’ll be greatly missed in our program,’’ Hillman said.

Levander has been playing the sport of baseball since he was in tee ball. He does consider it his No. 1 sport, although it does vary from season to season because football ranks pretty highly as well.

Hillman got to see him excel on the football field, too. As a running back, he was versatile enough to get out in open space and get after a ball, he stated.

What exactly attracts him to baseball?

“It’s just a fun game because you get to do so many different things.’’

Hillman believes Levander will do well at the junior college level because he’s “taken a lot of life lessons away from high sports.’’ The high school coach puts him up there on the same mentality and caring about people as Matt Niskanen and Dan Lanari. “I just think that highly of Hunter.’’

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