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Riverland’s Wolard named to All-State baseball squad

By Scott A. Kolb

skolb@postbulletin.com

While his best hitter is staying in shape by playing amateur baseball with the Austin Blue Sox over the summer months, Riverland coach Scott Koenigs is busy criss-crossing the countryside to find more talent for his team next season.

Pat Wolard led the Riverland Blue Devils in hitting this past spring during his freshman campaign. Wolard is now playing with the Blue Sox and trying to help them make a run at a state tournament spot.

It was a big statistical season for Wolard, who is the starting catcher for Riverland and pitched a little bit during the Minnesota Community College Conference season. Wolard had a .462 batting average, and was 36-for-78 in his plate appearances during the spring games.

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For his standout efforts on the diamond, Wolard was named to the all-MCCC South Division team and also to the All-State team. He had four home runs, a pair of triples, scored 21 runs, and collected 28 RBIs for the Blue Devils. Wolard finished with a .718 slugging percentage and also struck out 10 batters in five innings of mound work.

"Numerous four-year schools are looking at Pat already, and he has a good future in baseball," Koenigs said. "He’s a big guy who can hit the ball hard. He works extremely hard on his game and he’ll have some options to continue playing baseball after Riverland.

"We expect big things from Pat next year. We’ll have other good hitters around him, and they won’t be able to pitch around him so much. He’s working hard playing with the Blue Sox, and wants to keep improving. He’ll be a good ballplayer for some four-year school."

Not only does Wolard possess a big stick as he showed by blasting a home run out of Dick Seltz Field that nearly landed on Interstate 90 in an April game, but he also plays great defense. Last season, Wolard had a .960 fielding percentage as the Blue Devils catcher.

Wolard and Andy Van Remortel, another one of the top hitters for the Blue Devils, both return next season. Meanwhile, Koenigs continues his road trips to find sidekicks to go along with his talented returning sophomores for next season. The Blue Devils haven’t qualified for state in three years, but with the likes of Wolard and Van Remortel returning, they should put an end to that streak in 2008.

"I’m on the road every day trying to recruit more players," Koenigs concluded. "I have 10 verbal commitments for next year, and hope to get at least five more. The best news is Pat will be back at catcher next year. He has rocket for an arm behind the plate and we have a great nucleus on which to build our team."

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