Rochester baseball previews: Mayo, Century hope to build on strong 2021 finishes
Lourdes is coming off a 20-win season and should be a major contender in the HVL and in Section 1AA
Head coach: Todd Stellmaker (third season, 11-12 record).
Last season: The Panthers finished 11-12 overall and 5-6 in the Big Nine Conference.
Top returners: Matt Haun, Josh Fletcher, Ryan Ohm ( 4-1 record, 1.44 ERA, All-Conference), Peyton Milene (.324 average, 9 RBIs, 2-4 record, 5.35 ERA, honorable mention All-Conference), Ben Johnson.
Top newcomers: Harrison Esau, Jerry Fletcher, Jack Eustice.
Season outlook: The Panthers have their top battery back in staff ace Ryan Ohm and catcher Peyton Milene. That duo made a big impact as sophomores a year ago and Century could have a trio of sophomores step in an fill big roles this season. The Panthers are looking to start where they left off with last year's strong finish and be a force in the Big Nine and Section 1AAAA races. Farmington is coming off a state title and is the team to beat in Section 1AAAA. Century will look to battle Mankato West, Mayo and Owatonna for a spot at the top of the Big Nine.
Coach Todd Stellmaker says: "After finishing last season on a 9-2 run and making the section final four, our hopes are high. We return our top two pitchers and are deep in that position. We graduated a lot of seniors but bring in a lot of young skilled players. We should be able to put together a competitive, successful season."
Seniors: Matt Haun (P/C/3B), Josh Fletcher (INF), Ben Johnson (OF), Michael Rand (P), Drake Mayer (P), Aidan Marcou (OF/C), Joe Guertin (INF). Juniors: Ryan Ohm (P/INF), Peyton Milene (P/1B), Blake Baudoin (P/1B), Xavier Felder (1B). Sophomores: Harrison Esau (C/P), Jerry Fletcher (Inf), Jack Eustice (INF/OF).
Head coach: Tyler Zemla (first season).
Last season: The Rockets finished 8-15 overall, 6-5 in the Big Nine Conference. They were 1-2 in section play.
Top returners: The Rockets have four returning starters in Zach Carr (honorable mention All-Conference, 1-5 record 3.31 ERA), Tyler Motley (.286 average, five doubles in half the season), Cayden Cherevko (.275 average, team-high nine steals) and Adam Hegrenes (1-1 record, one save, also 28 at-bats). Part-time players back include Xavier Flatt, Nolan Satre and Jayden Guillette.
Top newcomers: Aiden Smoley, Ryan Hus, Jake Schmidt.
Season outlook: The Rockets, who have a new coach in Tyler Zemla, have a modest amount of returning players, but expect to be competitive in both conference and Section 1AAAA play. JM should get a good test to start the season with games against some top conference/section foes in Northfield, Farmington, and Mankato West (twice). Mankato West was the Big Nine champ a year ago while Farmington was the Section 1AAAA and Class AAAA state champion.
Coach Tyler Zemla says: "I am excited about the potential that this team has. Despite the relatively low amount of returnees, this team has a foundation of key players as well as a roster full of players who embrace their role and buy into what we are building as a program."
Seniors: Zach Carr (P/OF), Xavier Flatt (OF), Ethan Gary (P/C/OF), Jayden Guillette (2B/SS), Ryan Hus (C/OF), Tyler Motley (P/SS/3B), Nolan Satre (P/1B/3B), Jake Schmidt (P/3B/SS/2B), Nick Scott (P), Christian Wojtkiewicz (P/OF). Juniors: Carter Bletsch (1B/OF), Cayden Cherevko (P/OF/3B/SS), Adam Hegrenes (P/C/OF), Garrett Hermanson (P/OF), Aiden Smoley (P/C/3B/1B).
Head Coach: Tom Senne (seventh season).
Last season: The Spartans finished 12-13 overall, 5-6 in the Big Nine Conference and had a strong postseason run to finish second in Section 1AAAA.
Top returners: Kyle Prindle (.359 average, 10 RBIs, 17 runs, 1.069 OPS, All-Conference, All-Section), Josh Auger (All-Section), Ian Regal (.367 average, 11 doubles, 4 HRs (4), 25 RBIs, 15 runs, 1.134 OPS, All-Conference, All-Section), Mason Leimbek, Chase Gasner, Liam Dahl, Jonah Alleckson, Jacob Brown, Sam Hruska.
Top newcomers: Carson Beavers, Spencer Kober, Kasey Carlson, Zach Condon.
Season outlook: After last year's strong finish, the Spartans are optimistic that they can produce a stellar 2022 season. Mayo features a number of talented players and has a lot of players who have experience at the high school level. Coach Tom Senne also like the team's depth at a lot of positions. All those factor should make Mayo a very competitive team in the conference and section. Defending section and Class AAAA state champion Farmington will be the team to beat in 1AAAA.
Coach Tom Senne says: "This might be the most talented Mayo team we have coached throughout the last seven years. The guys love baseball and strive to play at the next level. We will need to perform up to our abilities and expectations to have the success we are shooting for."
Seniors: Joshua Auger (P/1B) Kyle Prindle (C/P/IF), Jackson Lesmeister (OF), Jonah Alleckson (IF), Nolan Thompson (OF). Juniors: Grant Woodcock (P/1B), Kasey Carlson (P/IF), Mason Leimbek (OF/P), Payton Kor (IF/OF/P), Reid McGovern (IF/OF/P), Samuel Hruska (OF/P), Zachary Condon (C/P/IF), Ian Regal (1B/P/OF), Jacob Brown (IF/OF), James Collettin (OF), Liam Dahl (IF), Nicholas Weick (IF/OF/P). Sophomores: Chase Gasner (C/P/IF), Carson Beavers (OF/P), Spencer Kober (C/P/IF).
Head coach: Dave Jenson (third season, 20-4 record).
Last season: The Eagles finished 20-4 overall, won the HVL Gold Division with a 12-2 record and were the Section 1AA runner-ups.
Top returners: The Eagles have seven starters back in Joe Sperry (6-1 record, 1.23 ERA, .397 avg, 1.24 OPS, 5 HRs, 37 RBIs), Sam Stanley (2-1 record, 3.89 ERA, .466 avg, 1.22 OPS, 2 HRs, 11 RBIs, 35 runs), Braden Mlenar (4-0 record, 2.31 ERA), Carter Wenszell (3-0 record, 0.65 ERA), Sam Schneider (.364 avg, .949 OPS, 20 RBIs), Seth Haight (.292 avg, .799 OPS, 8 RBIs) and Gannon Fix (.226 avg, .723 OPS, 10 RBIs, 26 runs). Brendan Davick was a part-time player and Cam Powell pitched one game before suffering an injury.
Top newcomers: Isaac Wenszell, Nick Bowron, Griffin Thompson, Aidan Jahns, Cole Smith .
Season outlook: The Eagles should be in great position to have an outstanding season with seven starters back. Sperry was All-HVL and All-State last year and Stanley was All-HVL. A bevy of strong starting pitchers return as well. With the experience and depth on the mound, Lourdes should again be a force in the HVL and a contender for the Section 1AA title. The section should be very tough with defending champion Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Caledonia, Pine Island, Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Cannon Falls, and La Crescent-Hokah all in the mix for a state berth.
Coach Dave Jenson says: "Our squad this year plays together like brothers. They love each other and pull for each other. We are going to enjoy every opportunity we have to play together this season. Our team captains, Joe Sperry and Sam Schneider, have done a great job leading the effort so far to help our team get better every day."
Seniors: Joe Sperry (P/3B/1B), Sam Stanley (P/CF), Sam Schneider (C/3B), Gannon Fix (P/SS/2B), Cam Powell (P/2B/3B), Seth Haight (OF), Brendan Davick (P/1B/DH), Braden Mlenar (P/INF), Carter Wenszell (P/OF), Luke Bigler (P/OF), Henry Radke (1B/DH). Juniors: Cole Smith (U), Aidan Jahns (P/INF), Griffin Thompson (C/INF). Sophomore: Isaac Wenszell (P/OF). Freshman: Nick Bowron (P/C/INF).
Head coach: Jeff Morgan (24th season, 144-164 record).
Last season: The Lions finished 2-19 overall, 2-13 in the Southeast Conference.
Top returners: Cole Morgan (.543 average, All-Conference), Minsoo Choung, Caleb Lanners.
Top newcomers: Matthew Gingerich.
Season outlook: Cole Morgan returns as the team's top pitcher and he is one of six seniors who gained valuable experience a year ago. Junior Minsoo Choung, a middle infielder, and sophomore catcher Caleb Lanners are also back as part of a solid lineup. Transfer Matthew Gingerich will also step in and is expected to fill a key role as the Lions took to be competitive in SEC play after taking some lumps a year ago. Southland and Lyle/Pacelli are expected to be the SEC favorites this season.
Coach Jeff Morgan says: "Our team is eager to improve upon last years performance and be competitive in every game we play. We have great potential to grow throughout the season and make a good playoff run if we stay healthy."
Seniors: Cole Morgan (P/SS), Jarrett Minot (P/OF), Colton Barnacle (CF/P), Drew Merry (OF/P), Micah Lahr (3B/LF), Matthew Gingerich (1B/SS/P). Juniors: Minsoo Choung (2B), Toby Kluth (OF). Sophomores: Caleb Lanners (C/P), Owen Larson (1B/OF/P). Freshman: Miklos Baumann (OF). Seventh-graders: Caleb Loomis (OF/3B), Jonah Freburg (OF).
— Guy N. Limbeck, firstname.lastname@example.org