Tiger baseball team taking advantage of practice time
Head Morris Area baseball coach Lyle Rambow isn't getting discouraged by the uncooperative Minnesota weather. Not yet, anyway.
The Tigers were scheduled to begin the 2008 campaign April 29 at Montevideo, but with the tardy spring the team has only had three outdoor practices.
Rambow said the Tigers are taking advantage of the situation by getting in more practice time. Also, with the Sub-Section 6A tournament starting May 27, he said there's still time to reschedule those postponed games.
Weather and field permitting, the Tigers will host Minnewaska for their home opener Thursday. The regular season is scheduled to wrap up May 22 with a home game against West Central Area.
Seniors Matt Wohlers (.391), Kirby Sayles (.340), and Mikey Siegel (.341) will lead the Tigers' hitting attack.
"The Tigers need to hit well while the pitchers pick up some experience," said Rambow.
The Tigers' only starting pitcher returning is senior Ben Johnson (3.97 ERA in 42 innings). Wohlers will pick up some innings again this season. Juniors Dusty Sauter and Chris Scott are expected to take the mound, along with junior lefty Nate Gades, who is new to pitching.
Junior Darrick Henrichs returns behind the plate to anchor the Tigers' fielding team. Danton Hein will be his back up.
Seniors will cover the corners with Sayles on first and Tallack Dosdall on third. Siegel will be at second base. When not pitching Johnson and Sauter will be at short stop.
In the outfield Wohlers will be in the center. The third-year starter can play a lot of positions, but said Rambow, "We need him at center field."
Chris Boettcher and Hein will join Wohlers in the outfield, with help from Gades and Scott when they're not pitching.
Scott may also fill in at first or third.
"I think we can be really good in the field," said Rambow.
Last season the Tigers were 13-11 overall, taking third in the West Central South with a 7-5 record. The team finished the season as the District #19 runner up.
Gone from that team are last season's captains Josh Griffith and Craig Knochenmus, as well as Tony Schultz, Taylor Witt, Brett Anderson, and Andrew Loher.
Back to help Rambow in his 27th year as head coach of the Tigers are assistant coaches Jim Greenwaldt and Don Goracke.
Shane Tappe is coaching the freshmen, Doug Anderson and Brian Giese are coaching the eight grade, and Joel Beyer is the seventh grade coach.
"We have a solid coaching staff," said Rambow. "I've got outstanding guys" helping out this season.
The coach expects the team to be solid and contend in the West Central South and Section 6A.
The Tigers remain in the West Central Conference and will face the usual teams. In the conference Rambow expects Lac qui Parle Valley, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, and Montevideo to be tough. Other teams in the southern part of the WCC are Benson, Minnewaska, Yellow Medicine East, and BOLD.
This season, for the first time in many years, the Tigers make the move to class A.
"Section 6A will be reminiscent of the old District 21," said Rambow.
Teams in Section 6A include Ashby, Bertha-Hewitt, Brandon-Evansville, Campbell-Tintah, Chokio-Alberta, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Hancock, Hawley, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Lake Park-Audubon, Menahga, New York Mills, Parkers Prairie, Pine River-Backus, Sebeka, Verndale West Central Area, and Wheaton/Herman-Norcross.
Rambow predicts Wheaton/ Herman-Norcross will be the team to beat in the south sub-section, but he's not familiar with the teams in the northern half.
The Tigers will be hosting rounds two and three of the Sub-Section 6A Tournament May 29 at Chizek Field. The Section 6A Championship will be held in Fergus Falls June 5.