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Willmar spring sports preview - Baseball

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COACH

Brad Dean

ASSISTANT COACHES

Wade Adamson (assistant varsity, pitchers), Dale Becker (sophomores), Brad Haugen (freshmen)

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LOOKING BACK

Central Lakes Conference: 5-9, tie for 7th with Sartell

Overall: 8-13

Post-Season: Lost to Mankato West 2-1, beat Mankato West 4-3, lost to Eden Prairie 3-0

KEY DATES

Season: April 9 at St. Cloud Tech (Faber Field)

Home opener: April 14 vs. Brainerd

Marshall Invite: April 19

Section 2AAA: Starts May 22

ROSTER BREAKDOWN

(Returning letterwinners in bold)

SENIORS: Logan Birkland, Justin Hamann, Andrew Jacobs, Matt Odom, Josh Oestreich, Alec Saunders, John Sawatzky, Scott Skaalerud, Jordan Smith

JUNIORS: Austin Adamson, Andrew Bangen, Adam Fagerstrom, Derrick Loiselle, Sam Spaulding, Jacob Tone

SOPHOMORES: Gabriel Amon, Andrew Chermak, Jacob Damhof, Blake Graves, Ryan Horning, Eric Jacobs, Ryan Lawler, James Liimatta, Derek Michaelis, Jacob Rambow, Daniel Stadem, Joel Stadem, Nathaniel Swoyer

FRESHMEN: Nicholas Aaker, Cody Anderson, Bryce Enstad, Lucas Friedlein, Michael Fuchs, Jason Gunvalson, Mitchell Johannes, Jackson Olson, Josh Pehrson, Josh Platt, Brandon Reuvers, Tim Rogers, Damon Ruter, Brady Schneck, Matthew Smith, Dean Stier, Dan Tusa, Cody Wangen, Aaron Weidemann, Bryce Wenberg, Brandon Zuidema

OUTLOOK

All-Conference picks Jordan Smith and Alec Saunders are among nine returning lettermen, all of them seniors. Smith was MVP Offense while second baseman Matt Odom was MVP Defense. Coach Brad Dean starts his 27th year coaching Willmar VFW, Legion or high school baseball with a six-deep pitching staff. "Jordan threw two memorable games in the post-season. We just didn't get the key hits we needed to win. We've brought up hard-throwing Nathaniel Swoyer, who threw for the sophomore team and VFW last summer. He and Jordan will be our 1-2 hurlers. Scott Skaalerud, Odom and Justin Hamann will also throw. Also we'll have Josh Oestreich, who threw over the winter, and juniors Austin Adamson and Andrew Bangen." ... Willmar has six games slated in five days the season's second week, so each pitcher will get a chance early to show what he can do. Saunders can play 3B, 1B, RF or DH; John Sawatzky provides a proven backstop with Swoyer also available; Smith and Adamson are pegged for SS; Skaalerud has experience at 1B and Hamann at 3B; Oestreich can back up at second or play outfield; Adam Fagerstrom can be used at 3B and OF and Derrick Loiselle provides catching depth. The outfield sets up as Logan Birkland in left, Sam Spaulding or Bangen in center and Andrew Jacobs or Jacob Tone in right.

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