Pedretti leaves lasting legacy as baseball coach

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Prairie du Chien’s Mark Pedretti gets fired up during a playoff game a few years ago. (Courier Press file photo)


By Ted Pennekamp


Mark Pedretti is stepping down as head baseball coach at Prairie du Chien High School after an 28 seasons at the helm in an accomplished coaching career.

Pedretti’s 28 seasons as head coach (1984-1998, 2007-2019) join him with Andy Banasik (this upcoming season being his 27th) and Paul Bebow (26 seasons) as the only coaches in school history to have been a varsity head coach at Prairie du Chien High School for more than 20 seasons in one sport.

Pedretti owns a career record of 430-177-2 overall and 248-62-1 in SWC/SWAL conference games. He is the only varsity head coach in any sport at Prairie du Chien to have won more than 400 games for the Hawks.

“Success in our program can be attributed to a variety of things. Great community support over the years by fans, Little League volunteers who see to it that all kids get an opportunity to play and a devoted high school coaching staff working with our players,” said Coach Pedretti. “We have had many outstanding players over the years but focusing on team effort and players knowing their roles, led to much of our teams’ chemistry. Every player has been important to me as well as our coaching staff, whether a starter or someone keeping stats on the bench.”

Going into the 2019 season, and based upon a list compiled by Joe Waite of, Mark had the 11th most wins among all active Wisconsin high school baseball head coaches, the 26th highest winning percentage of all active head coaches (with a minimum of 100 wins) and was ranked 24th all-time for wins in the spring season in Wisconsin high school baseball history. During the 2019 season, Pedretti moved into 20th all-time for most wins in the spring season and 37th on the all-time Wisconsin spring/summer combined career wins list. 

Pedretti’s teams won 20+ games in a season five times, 15+ games in a season 16 times and 10+ games in a season an outstanding 26 times. During the 14 seasons from 1970-1983 that preceded Pedretti becoming head coach, Prairie du Chien baseball finished with a winning record only five times. Under Pedretti, however, Prairie du Chien baseball finished with a winning record in 25 of his 28 seasons as head coach.

Up until 1984, Prairie du Chien baseball all-time had two conference championships, one regional championship, three regional runner-ups, two sectional runner-ups and no state tournament appearances. During Pedretti’s 28 seasons, Prairie baseball won the conference championship 21 times, advanced to the regional championship game 18 times (winning 13 regional titles), the sectional championship game nine times (winning four sectional titles) and to the state championship game three times. His teams won one state championship in four state tournament appearances. In fact, the last three state championship game appearances for any Prairie du Chien High School sports team have all been baseball teams coached by Pedretti. 

In 2016, Pedretti joined Paul Bebow as the only Prairie du Chien head coaches to ever lead a team to a state championship game three times, the most by any coach in school history.

Pedretti coached dozens of all-conference selections over his 28 seasons as head coach, including 11 Conference Player of the Year selections while also being named Coach of the Year for the SWAL and SWC an amazing 16 times as well as being named the 2016 Telegraph Herald All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year. Was also named a coach for the 1993 Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Classic. Two players he coached became Major League Baseball draft picks years after playing for him (Tom Knickerbocker in 1995 and Scott Gillitzer in 2001). 

Coach Pedretti was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (the first ever inductee from Prairie du Chien) and the Prairie du Chien High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018.

In Pedretti’s 28 seasons, the Blackhawks have produced plenty of thrills and excitement.

“I have a lot of great memories that’s for sure,” said Pedretti. “Some that stick out would be the fans storming the field and our players after we beat the number one team in the state at the Evansville sectional to advance to state. I like to think our teams over the years gave fans countless exciting moments and memories. There were two great comeback wins, one was early in my career being down 10 to 1 and winning 13 to 11 with five home runs. The other was recently on Senior Night where in the bottom of the seventh we had seven or more hits in a row to secure the win with two outs.”

“I would like to especially thank my wife, Megan, and my family for their great support over the years,” Pedretti concluded.

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