Raider pitching will be strong in 2014
Pitching will be a strength when the Lake Park-Audubon baseball team takes to the field for its 2014 season.
That pitching staff will be led by one of the strikeout kings of the area in senior Mason Swegarden, who has averaged over 10 K’s a game the last two years.
“He is our cornerstone,” said first-year LP-A head coach Sean Degerstrom.
“He will continue being a dominant strikeout pitcher for us, our stopper.”
Degerstrom added Swegarden is adding a third pitch to his already devastating fastball-changeup combo.
“We are developing his curveball, not necessarily for this level, but for his future in college,” Degerstrom said.
Swegarden will be pitching for Mayville State next year, but adding a third pitch to his almost unhittable fastball and change-up menu will make the Raider senior that much more dangerous.
But the LP-A pitching rotation doesn’t end with Swegarden, with junior Tim Brekken and sophomore Lane Ulmer filling the No. 2 and 3 roles well.
“Lane pitched a lot last summer and efficiently can throw three pitches,” Degerstrom said.
“Tim has two different styles of fastballs, one off speed, and both can throw strikes.”
After the top three pitchers, Degerstrom can go to his bullpen, which will have up to five other hurlers at hand.
“Total, we have eight pitchers, with our top three being the main workhorses,” Degerstrom said.
With the pitching being in good hands, the gloves out in the field have been the question mark. That’s why the practices have been focused on improving the defense.
“Defense has been LP-A’s Achilles heel the last several seasons,” the Raider coach said.
“We have pitchers who can strike batters out, but we need them to be confident enough to throw for contact, as well.”
The Raiders gave up 50 unearned runs last year, which is more than the earned runs the LP-A pitchers allowed.
Swegarden (shortstop), Brekken (short and second base) and Ulmer (third and second base) will be the anchors in the infield when not pitching.
That will leave some inexperienced players at the other positions, while the outfield will have utility player senior Tom Vohnoutka and other speedy younger players patrolling.
“It will be a trial by fire thing for some of these players, we’ll have to throw them in there early,” Degerstrom said.
Swegarden will be bumped down a little in the batting order, with Degerstrom using his .600 batting average as an RBI producer, as well.
“He is a great leadoff hitter, but we may sneak him down in the order and hide him a little so he can bat some guys in instead of being stranded on the bases,” Degerstrom added.
Ulmer and Brekken were both .300 hitters last year, and will help stabilize the top of the order.
Some other younger batters who can make an impact include sophomore Reese Mattson, freshman Mitchell Hall and a host of others who will be looked upon to reach base.
“We’ll play a lot of small ball to produce runs and be very aggressive on the pads,” Degerstrom included.
“We’ll have to take the extra base when we can.”
The 2014 Lake Park-Audubon baseball schedule:
21 at NCE/U-H
22 at Norman County
1 at Fosston
5 at Hawley
16 at Brandon-Evansville
22 at Fertile-Beltrami
23 at New York Mills