Baseball: Other season previews (Red Wing, M-C, B.P.)
Red Wing (6-11, 6-8 in Missota Conference) is preparing for its final season in the Missota Conference, which is disolving after this school year. The Wingers will join the Big Nine Conference next season. "I believe the Missota, in its final year, will be the strongest it has been in a while, because many teams fielded young squads last year," said Paul Hartmann, 35, who enters his second season as head coach. He lists three returning starters and two others with varsity experience. Junior P/SS Tyrell Buck (.429, 18 RBI, 6 2B, 3 3B/2-2, 1.85 ERA, 26 K) is an imposing kid on the mound and at the plate at 6-4 and 225. Buck was all-conference and all-section last year, and Hartmann said he has the potential to join "a special list of former Winger baseball players". Senior P Cody Leitner (1-0, 1.71 ERA) is another proven pitcher, and senior C/1B Thate Peterson is also back. A pair of juniors saw playing time last year, C/IF Dixon Irwin and IF Ryan Jones. "Both Ty and Cody have proven they can get people out," Hartmann said. "Overall we are somewhat inexperienced, but we have really good kids who enjoy the game and will work at it."
Mabel-Canton (3-16 overall, 2-10 in Southeast Conference)had a challenging 2013 season and lost its last four games and allowed 49 runs in the process. The Cougars' season ended with a five-inning 15-0 loss to Wabasha-Kellogg in a Section 1A East opener. The good news for longtime head coach Karl Urbaniak is that last year's team was young, and now he lists eight returning starters including two seniors, P/1B Collin O'Bieglo and C/P Noah Manning. Juniors who started last year are P/IF Wesley Richert, P/1B Jon Selness and CF Keyser Wenthold. The Cougars aim to reverse last year's runs which had them being outscored by average of 7.9-3.7 per game. "We have some pitchers coming back and most of our core players," said Urbaniak, 61, who has coached here since 1985. "We expect to be pretty good if we play solid defense and pitch with control."
Blooming Prairie (5-8 overall, 5-6 in Gopher Conference)lost its last four games last season and fell in the first round of the Section 1A West playoffs with a 4-0 loss to Goodhue. Head coach Paul Peterson has a more veteran team this season with six seniors to lead; OF Zach Reynolds, OF Tyler Ferguson, P/C/OF Ryan Doerhoefer, OF Hunter Rudlong, 2B Matthew Worke and OF/IF/P Weston Fibiger. The Blossoms scored just under 6 runs and allowed 7 per game last season.