Lake Park-Audubon baseball preview
Pitching will be an area of strength for the Lake Park-Audubon baseball team, as the Raiders possess one of the top stoppers in the area.
Junior Mason Swegar-den is coming off a spectacular sophomore campaign where he nearly averaged 10 strikeouts per game and an ERA near the 1.00 mark.
LP-A head coach Taylor Fuhs knows the team will be depending on Swegarden as an ace, but he also knows the entire team will need to step up to the occasion if the Raiders are to have a successful season.
“We can’t just rely on Mason to win games, he is only one pitcher,” Fuhs said. “I do see Mason becoming more consistent, though, with another year under his belt.
“He has been more of a vocal leader so far this season, too.”
Swegarden will also anchor the middle of the infield at shortstop, while being one of the Raiders’ best hitters at the top of the order.
The Raiders also have two more pitchers returning with good varsity experience in senior Jackson Nelson and Wes Jaster.
“Those three guys will be pitching the bulk of our innings,” Fuhs said. “The rest of our pitchers are sophomores, who haven’t seen much varsity action.”
The Raiders return three infielders and two outfielders to help solidify their defense, which will be key.
“Like any baseball coach knows, if you play good defense and pitch strikes, you will be in every game,” Fuhs added.
Nelson has the ability to play any position and will be the Raiders’ utility player, while Jaster also has experience playing all the infield positions.
The outfield will be led by seniors Dylan Larson and Korey Mickelson.
“That experience will help us a lot,” Fuhs said.
“I just want our defense to make the routine plays this season, because walks and errors killed us last year.”
The offense will be led by the seniors, while the order one through nine will be athletic.
“I want to be aggressive on the pads this year because we do have speed,” Fuhs said. “We will need to be disciplined at the plate and put the ball in play.”
The Raiders finished at .500 last year and Fuhs hopes to see his team contend for a Pine to Prairie Conference title and a home section playoff game.
With the front half of the schedule being lost due to the extended winter, a condensed May schedule is on the horizon, potentially consisting of four to five games a week.
“Everyone is dealing with the same problem, but hopefully it’s an advantage for us since we do have pretty good pitching depth,” Fuhs said.
“The young guys will have to learn on the fly.”
The 2013 Lake Park-Audubon baseball schedule:
23 Norman County West
26 at Menahga
29 at Waubun/Mahnomen
7 at Win-E-Mac
9 at Fosston
14 at Fertile-Beltrami
16 at New York Mills