Baseball Preview: Lakers to build with inexperience
There will be plenty of opportunities for the inexperienced players coming up to the Detroit Lakes baseball team after the Lakers had a big class of seniors graduate off of last year’s team.
The Lakers will have just five seniors this year, but only four to five total players with varsity experience.
“It’s an issue we’ll have to deal with this season,” said DL head coach Steve Fuhs on the team’s experience shortcomings.
There will be a good foundation in the pitching rotation, with three returning after solid outings last year.
Juniors Connor Johnson, Ryan Cihak and senior Sam Voz will anchor a shallow pitching staff, with all three having the ability to throw strikes.
“Sam had a good summer pitching (for the Legion team) and if we keep progressing, we should have three solid starters,” Fuhs said. “They will be pitching the bulk of the innings for us.”
Others who will be called upon to pitch will be senior Ben Thompson, newcomer senior Nolan Singer, junior Cooper Heimark and sophomore Matt Haire, who was DL’s top junior varsity pitcher last year.
For the first time in many years, catching will also be an inexperienced position, with junior Sam Beck coming up as the starter.
Sophomores Andrew Dahl and Corey Hanson will also add depth to the position.
“It’s been about 10 to 12 years where we’ve been very good at catcher, so hopefully Sam can fill that need, as well,” Fuhs said.
The left side of the infield will be anchored by returners Cihak and Voz at shortstop and third base, while depth will be provided by Haire and Heimark.
Senior Cole Hegg will start at second base, with juniors Jalen Young and John Schumaker also seeing time there.
At first base, sophomore Trey Lyngaas will provide good height and a bigger target, with junior Joe Voz as backup.
“We will need guys playing different positions, so we’ll have to be versatile,” Fuhs said. “Some of the positions will also be determined how the bat, as well.”
Johnson will be the regular centerfielder when not pitching, while senior Jackson Lyngaas and Thompson will fill the corner spots.
“I am confident all can catch the ball,” Fuhs included.
Other outfielders will include Singer, junior Boyd Bradbury and Beck, when he isn’t catching.
The offense will be led by five batters who had some relative success last year.
Jackson Lyngaas and Cihak will lead off the order, followed by Sam Voz, Johnson and Thompson.
“The three other slots will be up for grabs,” Fuhs said. “The keys overall is we will need to make the routine plays in the field and get better as the season goes on.”
Power has not been a factor for or against the Lakers the last two seasons, with DL hitting two homers during that time span, but having none hit against them, either.
“We don’t have to pound the ball around, we need to make contact to start with,” Fuhs said.
Last year, the Mid-State Conference had a three-way tie for first, with Perham taking fourth place. But the Yellowjackets still finished in second place in the Class 2A state tournament, which shows the competitive edge to the conference.
The Lakers will open at home against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton April 8.
The 2014 Detroit Lakes baseball schedule:
11 Fergus Falls
22 at Park Rapids (DH)
24 Staples-Motley (DH)
29 at W-DC (DH)
1 Perham (DH)
6 at Pequot Lakes (DH)
8 at East Grand Forks
19 at Bemidji
22 Thief River Falls