Marinette Legion shortstop Derek Klegin fires the relay to first base during the AAA state tourney. Klegin has been chosen to play in the Wisconsin American Legion Baseball All-Star Game. <br> EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette Legion shortstop Derek Klegin fires the relay to first base during the AAA state tourney. Klegin has been chosen to play in the Wisconsin American Legion Baseball All-Star Game.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - A ground ball anywhere in Derek Klegin's vicinity was an automatic out this summer.

Smooth as silk, Klegin would scoop up a grounder and come up firing a strike to first in one continuous motion.

Klegin has been picked to play in Sunday's Wisconsin American Legion Baseball All-Star Game at Miller Park.

"About as smooth as you can get," is how Marinette Legion coach Brian Lesandrini describes Klegin's shortstop play. "Every time the ball's hit his way, you just expect him to make the play because he's set the bar so high. He did a great job."

Klegin and his Marinette Legion and Marinette Marine teammate Jake McMahon will play at St. Norbert next season.

"He's gonna be a great ballplayer at the next level, as will Jake," Lesandrini said.

Marinette Legion rallies often began with Klegin, its leadoff batter. He batted .468, with 65 hits in 139 at-bats, 41 runs, 21 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, 12 walks and just eight strikeouts.

"He had a phenomenal year offensively," according to Lesandrini.

Wisconsin is the only state to have a Legion all-star game played in a Major League stadium. The Milwaukee Brewers will play the Cincinnati Reds at 1:05 p.m. The nine-inning Legion All-Star Game will begin at about 6. Each team has 27 players.

Lesandrini played in the Legion All-Star Game at the former County Stadium, and he coached in the all-star game at Miller Park.

"It certainly seems surreal because you're playing in the same stage as these athletes," Lesandrini said. "Just the size of the field with that many seats."

St. Norbert coach Tom Winske frequently watched McMahon and Klegin play this spring and summer. He plans to play Klegin at shortstop and McMahon at pitcher.

"Derek's really versatile," Winske said. "He's got all the tools. We really like him. We think he's going to be able to help us a lot. We think Derek's going to be a fine shortstop."

Winske said McMahon and Klegin benefited from having fathers (Shawn McMahon and Dave Klegin) who coach and spend a lot of time honing their skills.

The St. Norbert coach is impressed with the way Klegin can hit fastballs and offspeed pitches.

"What I've noticed about him, he's got a great sense of timing. He's got a way of getting the bat where it needs to be, fast or soft," Winske said. "He's pretty strong, but he needs to fill out a little more."

Winske believes Klegin will be a good baserunner.

"He's a tremendous basketball player so he's got great feet," the coach said.

Winske first saw McMahon pitch at last summer's AshPort Regional. This summer, the Post 39 righthander struck out 91 batters in 65 innings pitched. His earned run average was 1.29.

"I liked him from the first time I saw him," Winske said. "He's a good competitor. He throws strikes and has got good-enough velocity. Once he fills out, the sky's the limit for him."

McMahon may pitch in relief and as a starter, the coach added.

Lesandrini believes Klegin and McMahon have a chance to play as college freshmen. They both practiced on their own before or after high school and Legion practices.

"That's wanting to play at the next level," Lesandrini said.