Two former Saint Paul Saints players launch HT Sports Academy, a youth baseball program.

When Dylan Thomas and Chase Hentges met while playing for the Saint Paul Saints in 2014, the two became friends right off the bat. Now, the best friends are also business partners after co-founding HT Sports Academy, a youth baseball program based in Lakeville. The academy, started in 2015, offers one-on-one lessons, training camps, velocity and weight training and summer clinics at locations across the state. “We want to instill confidence and build character while also learning a couple of things,” Hentges says. “It’s all about the kids for us.”

While playing for the Saints, the two pitchers realized they had similar goals of working with youth in their post-baseball careers. Thomas was an All-American pitcher and hitter for the University of St. Thomas, and Hentges played for the Kansas City Royals for five years. A favorite Saints memory of theirs is throwing and chasing a Frisbee down the outfield to make conditioning more fun at practice. They’ve incorporated this into HT Sports Academy, substituting a football, which works better in the facility. “We always try to make it fun,” Hentges says.

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