Preparing to take the field
With the weather this past week, the Buccaneers’ baseball team is probably wishing they could join the Minnesota Twins down in Florida for their spring training. While the weather has limited their opportunities to get outside on the grass diamond, the preparation for the upcoming season continues none-the-less in their indoor practice facility, also known as Pemberton Auditorium.
While the pitchers and catchers work in a different gym, other players hit off the tee, work on fielding drills, and go over base running and fielding fundamentals as they get ready for their opening game.
The Bucs will be fielding a young team this year as only a handful of seniors are on the team. This will provide the younger players with a chance to get experience and earn more playing time.
Leading the pitching staff will be hard-throwing junior Garrett Anderson. He is joined by Mat Willner, Corey Liebl, Taylor Owen and Clinton Nienhaus.
When not pitching, Anderson, Liebl and Nienhaus will see infield duty while Willner will help patrol the outfield.
Other fielders include Dalton Hurn, Joe Franta, Collin Nienhaus, Jared Smith, Dylan O’Rourke, Trey Dyslin, Josh Amundson, Conner Hanson, Brady Bleess, Kory Dikken, Jordan Leitzke, and Tommy Handke.
“We have a group of hard workers,” noted Head Coach Todd Schmidtke. “That should result in us improving as the year progresses.”
Joining Schmidtke as volunteer assistant coaches this year are his son T.J. Schmidtke and Lee Hodges. The younger Schmidtke works with the infielders and hitters while Hodges helps the pitching staff hone their skills.
The top teams in the conference look to be New Ulm and Fairmont according to Coach Schmidtke while there will be a tussle for third place between the other four teams.
Waseca will be the Bucs first home opponent on April 9.
The game is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. and is played on the ballfield at the fairgrounds.