Baseball team ready for seasonBy Colten Bartholomew • March 8, 2012 • Category: Sports
With Spring just around the corner, the Pioneers are dusting off the gloves and bats for a highly competitive schedule on the diamond.
The Pioneers are coming off an 11-29 season that saw the team struggle in conference play, dropping 18 of 24 WIAC games. Last season’s difficulties aren’t deflating the team’s expectations for this year’s campaign.
“Our goal is to win the WIAC Conference, Regionals—it’s basically a step-by-step process—lastly make Nationals, then hopefully win the World Series,” said Trevor Hall, sophomore pitcher.
The team has a challenging game schedule ahead of it. The Pioneers face eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation, and have a strength of schedule ranked in the top 15 of the country. Conference rivals University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will be two of those tough foes, ranked fifth and eighth in the nation, respectively.
Travel will be another item to watch for the squad this season, as it started the season with a two-game series in Alabama, where they dropped both games, and will be traveling to St. Louis. Mo., Chicago and Jacksonville, Ill. and Franklin, Ind.
The Pioneers have focused much of their efforts on weight training and the psyche of their players this offseason.
“Our guys have come a long way mentally and physically, and the team has done a great job in the weight room,” said head coach Eric Frese.
Hall’s season in 2011 was ended prematurely by an injury, and he wants to stay on the field with his team for all the games this season.
“My goal this season is to stay healthy for the whole season,” Hall said. “Hopefully I stay healthy the whole way to help the team.”
The Pioneers’ roster features plenty of underclassmen.
“We have three actual returning guys that played a full season last year,” Frese said. “This season we have a lot of freshmen, which most of them played part-time, so basically our team is very young.”
The outfield positions manned by Cody Luther, Trevor Kattre and Levi Ney are going to be keys for the Pioneers this season. Kattre led the Pioneers in batting average last season with a .331, and Ney led the squad with three triples in 2011.
The Pioneers make their home debut at Kendall Murray Field, April 5 with a double-header against University of Wisconsin-Stout.