Lake Park-Audubon baseball hoping for improved defense
Pitching and defense will be the focus of the Lake Park-Audubon baseball team as they enter their second year with a varsity schedule.
Topping off the Raiders' pitching staff will be returning juniors Tyler Mickelson and Caleb Lunde, who each have seen plenty of live action in the last three years.
Defensively, it will be a work in progress with a group of inexperienced players, said LP-A head coach Darrin Myhre.
"Our first two years (as a junior varsity team) our defense was solid," Myhre said.
"Last year, we had no experience on the varsity level, so that hurt us. I've been preaching defense to the guys, because all the pitchers can do is keep the ball low, throw strikes and force some pop flies.
"The defense has to make the plays."
Mickelson returns with a lively arm, which has lots of strikes in it.
Myhre said his top pitcher stays in control of the count and has "decent speed," which should only pick up this season.
"Caleb Lunde is our No. 2 guy and he has a good change-up to work with," Myhre included.
Depth is an unknown and will look at last year JV pitcher juniors Jake Lunde and Chad Dehler.
"We'll look at those two to fill our three and four spots in the rotation," the LP-A coach said.
"Jake threw some minimal varsity innings last year and we'll have to work on their control."
Experience back in the field will include junior Jesse Wixo and seniors Kenyon O'Brien and Michael Olson.
Wixo was a solid catcher last year, called good games for the pitchers and has played behind the plate since his eighth grade season.
"The biggest thing Jesse does is block the plate well," Myhre said.
"Chad Dehler can also play catcher and he has a strong arm to throw out runners."
O'Brien and Olson each will be anchors in the infield, as well.
The hurdle will be to not have those one or two bad innings, which ultimately end up being detrimental to the Raider's chances in each game.
"We lacked that complete game last year," Myhre stated.
"We had just one bad inning and we lost a lot of close games because of it.
"Maturation in their abilities should help this year."