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Frazee second baseman Sam Oelfke fields a throw during a 2008 home game. The Hornets will field a more experienced infield this season, along with a deep pitching rotation. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Deep pitching staff to key Hornets' baseball season

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A deep pitching rotation and a strong defensive lineup will be the propulsion behind the success of the Frazee baseball team.

The Hornets return almost all nine position players, along with a host of pitchers to fill out the rotation for the 2009 season.

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"We're still fairly young, but they all have varsity experience from last year," said Frazee head coach Bryan Gillespie. "That's something we want to capitalize on and start winning those close games. With that experience, these guys can progress through the season with ice water in their veins."

It will all start with pitching, though, and Frazee will have two quality starters at the top of that rotation.

Seniors Trevor Tappe and Nick Brower each experienced success last year on the mound, Gillespie said.

"Trevor has five pitches he can use and Nick throws a little harder," the Frazee coach said. "We have good depth behind them, too, with up to six considered to fill in."

Sophomore Matt Brower possesses good control of his pitches, along with accuracy, while other top contenders include seniors Brandon Vanwatermulen and Cory Overland.

Seasoning will be the key for Frazee's defense, as the Hornets will be strong up the middle with Nick Brower manning shortstop and Tappe center field.

"We do have some work to do defensively, but these guys saw a lot of action last year," Gillespie said.

Senior Tyler Blauert will see action at third base and outfield, as well some action at catcher, if his knee injury heals well during the season.

Junior Matt Viste, who possesses good all-around defensive abilities, will take on catching duties.

In the outfield, junior Dylan Stender, sophomore Brady Breitenfeldt and Vanwatermulen will see time.

The Hornets will have to manufacture their runs this season, with power not being a strength.

Instead, they will use speed and contact hitting to generate their offense.

"We don't have a ton of depth and we'll be more of a contact-hitting team and use our team speed," Gillespie added. "There will be a fair amount of small ball played by us."

With the experience back, Gillespie is hoping to contend for a top three finish in the tough Heart O'Lakes Conference, while with deep pitching, a potential deep run in the Section 8-2A playoffs is possible.

"We're hoping with three seniors in our pitching staff, we can make a good push through playoffs," the Frazee coach stated.

The Hornets open against section opponent Detroit Lakes on the road April 7, weather permitting.

Hornets info

Frazee baseball 2009 schedule:

April

7 at Detroit Lakes

17-18 Park Rapids Tournament

23 at Pelican Rapids

28 at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

30 at Lake Park-Audubon

May

5 Breckenridge

7 at Hawley

11 at Perham

12 West Central Area

15 Detroit Lakes

18 Ottertail Central

21 at Wadena-Deer Creek.

Frazee roster -- Seniors: Cory Overland (IF), Tyler Blauert (OF), Nick Brower (P), Trevor Tappe (OF, P)...Juniors: Sam Oelfke (2B), Matt Viste (IF), Dylan Stender (IF)...Sophomores: Brandon Vanwatermulen (IF), Tyler Sherman (OF), Matt Brower (1B), Brady Breitenfeldt (OF), Collin Willete (C)...Freshmen: Matt Woodard (IF), Hayden Hoskins (IF), Jacob Gabrecht (C).

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