Plenty of new faces for Panther baseball
Last year’s senior-heavy team turned over to underclassmen
Lakeville North found relief in the extra outdoor practice. Last year’s team was senior-heavy, meaning this year’s version will have plenty of new faces and several underclassmen.
“Most years we have 10-11 (seniors) out, but this year we have six or seven,” head coach Tony Market said. “We’ll rely on a lot of juniors to step up and fill those roles.”
Leading the list of returning players is Austin Streit, an all-conference member in 2011. He’ll be playing with Joel Klinkhammer, who figures to be the Panthers’ top pitcher, and returning starter Adam Alexander.
“We have great leadership and a talented group of juniors who just lack varsity experience,” Market said. “They’ve been successful at other levels, so it’s just a matter of getting them some varsity time.”
Fellow seniors Henry Wehlage and Neil Engler, who is coming off a serious knee injury, hope to fill some gaps along with an athletic group of junior athletes.
Brandon Morgan will spot up in the outfield with Zack Creighton with Erik Rutt in the infield. A young pitching lineup of Sam Petrick, Dalton Lehnen and Jordan Jacobson also hope to throw some strikes for the Panthers.
After a few days practicing in Florida during spring break, Market has noticed a speedy bunch and an aggressive defense.
“We hit pretty well today… in a scrimmage,” Market said. “We have some good team guys willing to move runners along and put down some bunts. We’re still capable of having quality at-bats, but they have an understanding of game situations.
“We’re definitely putting an emphasis on baserunning and taking advantage of opportunities.”
Andy Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/sunthisweek.