(KMSP) - One of Dennis Denning's favorite baseball players who he coached at Cretin-Derham Hall never played professional ball. But to Denning, he still hit a home run.
"I'm a baseball guy and to see one of my players go to the highest level you can possibly get as the umpire behind home plate, it's ecstatic for me. I can hardly wait," said Denning, the former Cretin-Derham Hall baseball coach.
Denning says Mark Wegner's love of the game goes beyond just hits, runs and errors. He says Wegner had to learn to throw the ball with his opposite hand to make the baseball team at Cretin in the late 80s. He went on to become a team captain, helping lead the Raiders to two state championships in a row.
"He was fast," said Denning. "He was a good little hitter. He had it all. He came from where he couldn't make the team to being captain and one of the best players on the team. Not only that but he was the best person too."
Since high school, Wegner has been calling balls and strikes for Major League Baseball for the last two decades.
He is now officiating his second World Series and if it goes to Game 7, all eyes will be on Wegner as the umpire behind home plate, the pinnacle of his profession.
"That's a huge deal doing the home plate especially in the World Series," said Denning. "The top game in baseball for the whole year and he's got it. So good luck Mark."
Denning admits he'll be on pins and needles until the series is over, but if Wegner gets his chance in the spotlight, Denning is confident he'll knock it out of the park.
"He's going to do great," said Denning. "But I'm sure he won't sleep for a few days here. It's really a big deal. For an umpire to say. Yeah, I did the final game of the World Series. That's big."
Wegner is actually the second Cretin graduate to umpire in the Fall Classic. The first was Tim Tschida, who umpired in three World Series.