Youth will serve Vikings this season
With only two seniors and three juniors on the team, the Minneota Vikings will put out a young product on the diamond this spring.
The Vikings went 10-9 last year, falling to section champion Adrian in the playoffs and graduated nine seniors from that squad.
"The biggest question mark for us right away, with graduating quite a large group of seniors, is setting up an offensive lineup," said coach Keven Larson. "Trying to get someone to feel comfortable in each of the positions in the lineup will take a little bit of time."
Five players with some varsity experience are returning for the Vikings, although the team graduated its top seven hitters from a season ago. They include Jonah Gruenes and Tyler Gronke, both senior outfielders; as well as junior infielders Peyton Gillund, Jackson Lacek and Isaac Pohlen.
The Vikings do have an abundance of pitching depth, which is beneficial in a short season where several games are played each week. But none of the pitchers on this season's team has thrown a pitch at the varsity level, although they did pitch on the Summer League team last year.
"There are quite a few guys that threw a lot of innings last summer and know what each other can and cannot do on the mound," said Larson. "The strength of the team, at the beginning of the season, will be our pitching depth."
Newcomers to the varsity will be sophomore infielders Ryan Dalager, Peyton Sheik, Keaton Jurrens and Joe Voit; plus freshman infielders Ryan Meagher, Adam Dalager, Eli Gruenes and Parker Bradley; and freshman outfielder Brody Larson.
"I think we will be learning all year long," Larson noted. "With a team with not a lot of varsity experience, it will take us a bit to find ourselves, but we have a lot of guys that have shown in the past that they can play the game. We just want to focus on getting better and more consistent each day."
Larson will be assisted by J.D. Pesch, Les Engler and Chad Johnston.
The Vikings will be pitted against several experienced teams in the Camden Conference such as Lakeview, Yellow Medicine East, Lac qui Parle Valley, Renville County West and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.
"I feel that there are a lot of teams that will have a good year," Larson said. "It will be a tough schedule no matter which team we are playing. We will have to play well every time on the field."2022 schedule
April 8 at Edgerton
April 12 at Springfield
April 14 Renville County West
April 19 at KMS
April 21 MACCRAY
April 26 Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
April 28 at Lakeview
May 3 Central Minnesota Christian
May 5 at Yellow Medicine East
May 6 Red Rock Central
May 12 at Trcy-Milroy-Balaton
May 13 Adrian
May 16 Lac qui Parle Valley
May 17 Murray County Central
May 19 at Dawson-Boyd
May 23 at Canby