There are 41 baseball players out this year in grades nine through 12.
The team graduated 11 seniors from last yearís squad who ended the season with a 15-6 record and finished second in the sub-sections. The team has had only one season below 500 in the last 10 years. The team won the Paynesville Invitational and Sartell tournament last year.
Returning lettermen are seniors David Hemmesch, Brett Aagesen, and Chris Soine. Other seniors on the team are Josh Erickson and Chris VanderBeek.
ďWe will probably be making a few mistakes early in the season,Ē coach Brad Skoglund said. ďBut I feel weíll have a good ball club down the stretch.Ē
ďPitching and defense are the key areas to watch,Ē Skoglund said. In the pitching rotation are seniors Chris Soine, David Hemmesch, and Chris Vander-Beek; and junior Brent Heinen. ďWe have a lot of younger pitchers to step up next year,Ē Skoglund added.
Skoglund said behind the mound catching are two solid players, Dustin Looman and Jon Lieser, which will help the team.
ďWe have a talented, hardworking group of ball players out. I think the hitting will come around. We have some decent power on the team. There will be a lot of competition between the players vying for the starting positions. Iíll probably need to adjust the lineup several times before I figure out who will get which spots on the team. It will be a pretty tough decision to make,Ē Skoglund added.
Skoglund expects Melrose and Albany to be the teams to watch this year. Melrose finished second in the state last year and both teams basically have everybody back. He said two other power houses to watch will be Sauk Centre and Cathedral.
Coaching this year are: Skoglund, varsity; Dick Realdsen, junior varsity; and Tom Ludwig, ninth grade.
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