Angels bolster roster with vets and young energy
There will be six new players on the Detroit Lakes Angels’ roster, with each bringing a mixture of veteran experience, along with an infusion of youth.
The 2014 version will include Perham natives Nick Esala, Phil Doll and Nick Ostlie, while the Angels will get a shot of young energy in Kyle Singer, Austin Eiter, A.J. Matter and Taylor Magnuson – all hailing from Detroit Lakes.
With the folding of the Lake Park amateur baseball team, the Angels also will gain some top young talent in Mason Swegarden and Jackson Nelson.
“We’ll have a good mix of veterans and young players, with speed, power and enthusiasm for baseball,” said co-manager Phil Kirchner.
Add in the fulltime duties of DL’s Kirk and Connor McLeod, and the Angels have a nice head start in battling for the Hi-10 League championship.
With Perham veterans Esala, Doll and Ostlie, DL will have plenty of consistency added in the lineup.
Esala played for the Perham Pirates and was the starting shortstop and leadoff hitter.
He also pitched during the Pirates’ run of state tournament appearances in the mid 2000’s.
After graduating from Concordia College, he went to medical school in Florida. During his sports medicine schooling he served as a trainer for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was hired as a sports medicine doctor at Sanford in Detroit Lakes in 2013.
Doll will be coming out of retirement to play for the Angels in 2014.
He played for the Dent Wildcats before starting his Angels’ career in 2009.
Doll played the 2009-11 seasons for the Angels and has an Angels’ career batting average of .325 with four homers.
Ostlie last played for the New York Mills Millers, where he was a starting middle infielder.
The pitching rotation will be strengthened with the addition of Swegarden, who is a senior pitcher at LP-A.
He will be making his amateur debut this summer. Swegarden did not play for the Xpress of Lake Park-Audubon last season, as he instead was on a prospects team in Colorado that traveled to Tournaments across the country.
Swegarden has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Mayville State starting this fall.
Matter is a freshman left handed pitcher at Concordia College in Moorhead, and a 2013 Detroit Lakes graduate.
Magnusson is a 2013 Detroit Lakes graduate who was a starting infielder for the Lakers.
Kirk McLeod will be a full-time player this year as he is finishing up his first year of college ball at Iowa Central CC. Kirk saw time at DH and catcher for the Tritons in his freshman year. He was in the Angels’ starting lineup for the post season last year, after the conclusion of his Legion season. Kirk had a homer in the playoff game against Bluffton and batted over 300.
Kyle Singer is expected back after playing only one game for the Angels last season. He is a sophomore outfielder for M-State and was one of the top hitters in the conference his freshman season.
Eiter graduated in 2013 from Detroit Lakes and has filled in when needed for the Angels since he was a freshman. He will be available full time this year.
He was the Lakers’ starting shortstop last season and has played outfield for the Angels in several games over the previous few years.
The Angels’ bolstered roster will also include some very familiar players, as well.
Taylor Fuhs returns as one of the top hitters in the area, while Kirchner is entering his 23rd year of playing organized baseball and still has the power to drive balls over the fences.
Pitching will be a strength with the return of Chris Gilson, Bryan Buhr (an original Angel, along with Kirchner), ace and UND pitcher Brock Johnson, Ryan Berg, Matt Huberty, Trevor Tappe and Nick Polejewski.
“We’ll have solid pitching,” Kirchner said. “With the addition of the new pitchers, we’ll be deep, as well.”
Johnson is seeing regular action for Division I UND, while Matter is seeing time at Concordia. Swegarden could also turn into a top hurler.
Other returners who will see significant time include Nate Eidenschink, co-manager Mark Jorgenson and catcher Doug Dickey.
The Angels will open the season at Wolf Lake Saturday and will host their home opener Saturday, May 17, against Fergus Falls.
Detroit Lakes Angels 2014 schedule:
10 at Wolf Lake
11 at Vergas
17 Fergus Falls
18 at Dent
21 Moorhead Bulldogs
25 at Bluffton
28 Fargo Mets
31 Wolf Lake (DH)
1 at Perham
4 Pelican Rapids
7-8 DL Tournament
14 Wadena-Deer Creek
15 at Frazee
22 at New York Mills
28 Fargo Mets
9 New York Mills