Sturgeon Bay: Clippers Lineup Is Stacked Again
The Clippers, who finished last season 14-5 overall and 7-1 in the Packerland Conference, return five players who hit better than .313 and a trio of pitchers who combined for eight wins.
Senior Ryan Jacobson returns after hitting .431 last season. Junior Jake Schneider (.417), senior Max Bordeau (.404), senior Mitchell Jackson (.333), senior Trent Ehlers (.313) and senior Isaac Berkley (.269) round out the list of top returning hitters.
Schneider was the ace of the pitching staff with a 4-0 mark and a 3.13 ERA last season, while Trent Ehlers (2-2, 2.00) and Jackson (2-1, 3.28) complete the list of three dependable returning starters.
Coach John Bern said the Clippers should get contributions from sophomore newcomers Andrew Carbajal, Abram Abeyta and Anthony Jennerjohn.
“We have a considerable amount of varsity experience,” Bern said. “We have pitching depth and seven proven varsity hitters.”
Bern said other keys to a successful season are his pitchers throwing a higher percentage of strikes, his hitters striking out less, and his team running the bases better. He added that the Packerland will be more competitive this year, with six teams as title contenders.
Gibraltar: Vikings’ Bats Locked and Loaded
Hitting shouldn’t be an issue for Gibraltar. The Vikings return four players who hit better than .300 last season and three additional players who turned in solid seasons at the plate.
Sophomore Alex Laughlin returns after hitting .380 with 13 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Senior Trevor Reinhardt hit .348 with 10 RBIs; junior Brandon Stillman hit .327 with 14 RBIs; and senior Andras Szakal hit .315 with 14 RBIs. Sophomore Luke Steebs (.292), senior Griffin Reinhardt (.271, 15 RBIs) and sophomore Spencer Krause (.265) round out the list of top returning hitters.
“The team needs to continue working on their hitting,” said Coach Jay Kita, whose team was 10-10 overall and 3-5 in the Packerland Conference.
Reinhardt returns after posting a 3-4 pitching record with 46 strikeouts in a team-high 45 innings, and Steebs is back after going 2-1 with 21 strikeouts in 24 innings. Unfortunately, Alex Laughlin – 3-2 with 27 strikeouts in 30 innings – will miss the season with an injury.
“I believe pitching will be one of our strengths,” Kita said. “Trevor Reinhardt brings great experience to the mound for his senior year. Alex Laughlin and Luke Steebs showed lots of promise as freshmen last year. Unfortunately, Alex is out with an injury this season.
“I feel we have a team that can compete if everything falls into place. We need players to step up to be able to contend for the Packerland Conference championship.”
Southern Door: Eagles Need Youth to Step Up
The Eagles return eight starters from a team that finished 2-5 in the Packerland Conference and 3-14 overall and lost to Roncalli in the opening round of the Division 3 playoffs.
Junior infielder Tyler Kroll is the top returning hitter after hitting .330 with five doubles and nine RBIs. Senior infielder Derik LeCaptain (.330 BA, four doubles, two triples, one home run), sophomore outfielder Aiden Vandertie (.285 BA, eight RBIs) and sophomore catcher Devin Schinkten (.250 BA) round out the top returning hitters.
“Our team strength will be our experience,” Coach Dave Neinas said. “Our team will be young, but we are optimistic that we’ll be competitive with our sophomore and freshman classes being very talented.”
Kroll and LeCaptain bring experience back on the mound. Kroll finished 2018 with a 2-4 mark and a 3.85 ERA, and LeCaptain was 1-3 with a 4.75 ERA.
“We will need Kroll and LeCaptain to help this team with their experience and maturity,” Neinas said. “We will need those two to get us deep into games on the mound. Pitching depth will be much better this season although it will be young. But our ability to throw strikes should be much better.”
Neinas said he will count on freshmen Logan Jeanquart, Charlie Neinas and Brodie Overbeck to be the Eagles’ top newcomers.
“We are very confident,” LeCaptain said. “We have a lot of young guys and a lot of energy in the program.”
Sevastopol: Experience Springs Hope for Pioneers
All-Conference center fielder Ethan Kroll heads a list of strong hitters returning for the Pioneers. Kroll, a senior, hit .474 for the Pioneers, who finished 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the conference.
Junior Robby Pollman, a second-team All-Conference pick, returns after hitting .391 last season. Senior Jaden Sawyer (.500), junior Jacob Pflieger (.462), junior Josh Pflieger (.389), junior Brent Haberli (.351) and junior Arthur Hocevar (.343) round out the list of top returning hitters.
Pollman, Haberli and Josh Pflieger return after combining to record three of the Pioneers’ five pitching wins in 2018. Kroll, who didn’t pitch last year due to injury, will provide pitching depth.
Coach Jason Marggraf said juniors Johnny Jorns and Caleb Malvitz, senior Nathan Stenzel and several incoming freshmen should provide roster depth.
“I’m still figuring out what [the freshmen] bring to the table,” Marggraf said. “There are some good athletes in that group. Hopefully a couple pitchers who can provide some innings.”
Marggraf said experience will be a strength for the Pioneers.
“All the starters have been starting on varsity since they were freshmen,” he said. “We only lost one senior [from last year]. We have good team speed, and we are solid defensively.”