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Summer Sports 2011

8 • May 25, 2011

Summit • News-Tribune

Tigers hope to make last season memorable BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the WCLT softball team are front row, left to right, Anne Studer, Chelsey Peterson, Kailey Pals, Sam Thilges, Jenna Heesch, Erika Withers, Katie Gross. Midde row, Michaela Andreasen, Hailey Kofron, Elizabeth Carlton, Chelsea Tweed, Michaela Heesch. Back row, Amanda Gross, Maggie Eden, Chyenna Julius, Abigail Stecker, Lexie Smidt. Missing from photo, Paige Heesch, Amanda Heesch, Hannah Kofron. Amanda will be able to go entire games. That would be a positive, because Paige plays great defense at shortstop.” Senior Sam Thilges returns at first base for the Tigers and she’ll be expected to be a run producer in the middle of the lineup. Also providing some run production this sea-

son should be Maggie Eden, who caught last year but will be moved to third base this summer. “Maggie had knee surgery over the offseason and she just got the OK to play a couple of weeks ago” Schwartz said. “We won’t use her at catcher, but we’ll need her bat in the lineup and she can play a

good third base for us.” Senior Hannah Kofron returns at second, but she’ll do the catching when Paige Heesch is pitching. Anne Studer will catch when Amanda is pitching and play short when Paige Heesch pitches. In the outfield, Schwartz says several players are still fighting for two available posi-

tions, since Jenna Heesch will get the start in centerfield. Back from missing the last two seasons is outfielder Erika Withers, who also was out with a knee injury. She’ll give the Tigers plenty of speed at the top of the lineup and in the outfield. And Schwartz says Withers has shown an ability to

drive the ball thus far in practice. “It’s good to have her back,” Schwartz said. “We really missed her and she’s worked very hard to get back to playing again.” In left field, Schwartz said, Hailey Kofron could see action and senior Katie Gross could be the rightfielder. Also in the outfield mix is Abigail Stecker. Offensively, the Tigers should be able to score plenty of runs. “We’ll try to utilize our speed, but we have some hitters who can drive in runs as well,” Schwartz said. “We want to score first in every game and just keep on scoring after that, because we know we may give up some runs this season.” Schwartz says her team is serious about making the most of the season. “We’re the last of the last in terms of sports at WCLT,” Schwartz said. “But we also want our kids to have some fun along the way.” The Tigers’ first five games are at home. The WCLT softball tournament will be held Saturday, June 18 in Woden.

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WODEN - The Woden-Crystal LakeTitonka softball team wants to make its last season a memorable one. And the Tigers, with their lineup of the last two seasons almost totally intact, will have the chance to do that. “We return a lot of experienced players,” said WCLT softball coach Teresa Schwartz. “The girls have a little extra motivation for this year and we’ve been working hard in practice the past two weeks.” The Tigers did losebh their top pitcher from last season in lefthander Michelle Eden. But Schwartz expects the sister combination of Paige and Amanda Heesch to step in and fill the void. “Paige is a harder thrower than Amanda, who relies more on hitting her spots and movement on her pitches,” Schwartz said. “So we may mix and match Paige and Amanda when hitters start timing some of Amanda’s pitches. “But we aren’t sure exactly how our pitching situation will work out. It’s possible that

2011 Summer Sports Preview

May 25, 2011


BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

FOREST CITY - The Forest City High baseball team lost several key players to graduation last spring off last year’s 11-10 team but returns some key veterans for this summer’s season. The Indians return their leading hitter in senior Drew Tweeten and their top pitcher from last season, Reid Gilbertson. “That’s a good place to start,” said Indian baseball coach Jeff Jerome. “We have a number of younger kids who saw a lot of varsity action last year as underclassmen. We need them to step up and have good seasons both in the field and at the plate.” Key players lost to graduation last year were infielder Alex Johnson, who hit .314 with 13 RBI in 2010. Another key loss was Andrew Rosacker, who hit .266 last year and

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the Forest City baseball team are front row, left to right, Reid Gilbertson, Cole Anderson, Parker Farland, Isaac Tuttle, Jeremy Kostelecky, Josh Dakken, Russell Scharper. Middle row, Tyler Harmon, Tobin Shaw, Jonathan Krein, Aaron Harms, Zach Lillquist, Drew Tweeten, Brian Brcka, Jeff Robson, Riley Scharper. Back row, Coach Mike True, Nathan Koch, Kyle Rosacker, Andrew Montgomery, Corey Osborn, Nathan Byro, Trent Waldrod, Coach Dusty Meyn, Nathan Freiderich, Head Coach Jeff Jerome. drove in 12 runs. Johnson and Rosacker, an outfielder, also saw time on the mound last season. Johnson was one of the Indians’ key relievers and Rosacker got some starts and wound up with a win to his credit. The Indians won 11 games last year after

winning just a handful the previous two seasons. The big difference for the 2010 season was improved pitching. Gilbertson led the way, compiling a 5-5 mark without a lot of run support. He threw six complete games on the year and had an outstanding earned run

average of 2,28. “Reid is going to be key for us this year,” Jerome said. “He has three good pitches - a fastball, breaking ball and changeup - and he’s able to spot all of them in the strike zone.” Last season, Gilbertson did the bulk of the pitching on the

Indian staff. He finished with 55 1/3 innings pitched, giving up just 11 walks and 58 hits. He struck out 46. “Reid isn’t a pitcher who will overpower a lot of hitters with his fastball, but he has good command of the strike zone. And he can bounce back from start to start. He can throw seven innings on a Monday and come back Friday for the start.” With so many games in such a short season, Jerome knows he’s going to need a few arms. The leading returning candidates at pitcher are sophomore Isaac Tuttle and junior Kyle Rosacker. Tuttle, as just a freshman last season, was a pleasant surprise on the mound for the Indians. Although he finished with an 0-4 mark, he logged 29 inningspitched and had a 4.88 earned run average. “Isaac did a good job for us last year,” Jerome said. “We hope he has

another good year for us and there’s no reason he can’t.” Kyle Rosacker didn’t lot many innings last season, but he has a strong arm and throws hard. “We’ve got some work to do with Kyle, but we expect him to log some innings for us this season,” Jerome said. Other pitching possibilities, Jerome said, include Tyler Harmon, Tweeten, Cole Anderson, Andrew Montgomery, Thomas O’Rourke and Aaron Harms. “We need some of those kids to step up into pitching roles like we had Isaac do last year,” Jerome said. Behind the plate, the Indians have plenty of experience, as Riley Scharper and Nathan Friederich did the bulk of the pitch calling last season. Offensively, Tweeten hit .319 last season with SEE INDIANS, 7

Eagles a work in progress EAGLES: FROM 3 Becker. New to the team this season is junior Gerardo Ibarra, who will bring some proven athletic success to the Eagle baseball team.Ibarra has been the starting quarterback for West Hancock the last two seasons and has been one of the top point guards in the area over the past three seasons.

Eagles girls sport offense EAGLE SOFTBALL: FROM 6 Wilson. At catcher, Kellie Schmit returns and should give the Eagles some speed as well as some run production in the middle of the lineup. The Eagles’ offense, meanwhile, will be keyed at the top of the order with Sarah Mallen leading off and Anna Mallen in the second spot. Last season, Anna led the Eagles in batting average with a .370 mark. She scored 22 runs and added ten RBI. Sarah hit .346 and added 21 runs-scored. “Sarah and Anna give us a solid 1-2 punch,” said coach Mallen. Also expected to lend some needed run production is Formanek. Last season, she hit .355 with 19 runs scored and 13 RBI. Heusinkveld had just 14 at-bats last season, but hit .286. “We’re looking for a strong offense again this season,” coach Mallen said. “We got a late start to the season because all but two of our players are out for track. We might throw the ball around a little bit at the start of the season, but that is usually the case.”

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Monson hit .310 and Bredeson .291. Coach Gilbertson added that like last year, the North Iowa Conference race will be wide open. “North Iowa kind of took control of the race last year, but they lost a lot to graduation,” Gilbertson said. “We’ll be in the mix, and Mason City Newman and Osage should have strong teams. And Lake Mills returns its top pitcher, Josie Brackey.

He finished with six doubles and a triple. Jerome will also be counting on Harms to be a force at the plate. Last season, he hit just .188 but drove in some key runs. The Indians finished last season with a team batting average of just .214. “That has to improve, but from what I’ve seen of us hitting in the cage, it will,” Jerome said. “But hitting live pitching in a game is a lot different than batting practice.” Jerome added that Mason City Newman is the heavy favorite for a

SUMMER SPORTS FILE PHOTO

Forest City’s Drew Tweeten is ready to make contact on a pitch from a game last season. North Iowa Conference title while Lake Mills and Osage will also field strong teams. “Newman might have one of the best pitching staffs in Class 1A in the

state,” Jerome said. “Lake Mills returns a lot of talent and Osage also returns some good players and is well-coached.”

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Summer Sports 2011

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BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the West Hancock softball team are front row, left to right, April Burgardt, Kellie Schmit, Taylor Formanek, Dusty Kraft, Rachael Smith. Back row, Caitlin Wilson, Sarah Mallen, Anna Mallen, Brooke Heusinkveld, Colbie Bates, Abby Paca, Jessica Gray, Paige Thompson. center field last year, will fill in for Anna if she needs relief. Later in the season, Mallen said he could call up some younger players. Competing for the spot at first base are junior Brooke Heusinkveld and Colbie

Bates. “We’ll play them both the first week and see what shakes out,” coach Mallen said. The Eagles also must fill outfield positions in left and right. Anna Mallen was an all-conference rightfielder last

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BRITT - This year’s West Hancock baseball team will be a work in progress. The team has won just five games over the past two seasons, including just two last season. The Eagles have had three different coaches in the past three years, but hope to have some consistency in that department starting this year, when Paul Sonius takes over. Sonius has built the West Hancock girls basketball team into one of the better programs in North Iowa. But he has no illusions that there will be a quick turnaround for the West Hancock baseball team. “We’re building for this year, but also next year and the years after that,” Sonius said. “Our

road.” Other returning starters for the Eagles include Vincent Wade, Josiah Eckels, Jonny Eekhoff and Mason Muth. “We’re looking for Vincent Wade to be one of our better pitchers this season,” Sonius said. “He also shows some good instincts at

the plate. “Mason will also give us a lot of help. We’ll be expecting him to pitch some this season and also play one of the infield or outfield spots.” Eckels has been of the Eagle’s better average hitters the past two seasons and will give West Hancock some speed at

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the top of the lineup. Behind the plate, Sonius is encouraged by the progress of three sophomore prospects in Jon Burgardt, Zach Paulus and Mark Roth. “All three of those guys will be in the mix for the starting catcher position,” Sonius said. “And I have confidence in all three players.”

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Also returning is Seth Goepel, who saw time on the mound but has a good shot at gaining the starting third base position, Sonius said. The coach added that among players in the strong sophomore group are Cory Formanek, Devin Richter and Collin SEE EAGLES, 7

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Members of the West Hancock baseball team are front row, from left to right, Jacob Hejlik, Mark Roth, Jordan Savoy, Joey DeHart, Klayton Lamareux, Tim Smidt. Middle row, Seth Goepel, Devin Richter, Zach Paulus, Jon Burgardt, Cory Formanek, Collin Becker. Back row, Ryan Fedders, Jonathan Eekhoff, Mason Muth, Conor Thill, Josiah Eckels, Vincent Wade, Gerardo Ibarra.

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main goal is to just improve with every game we play and if we do that, we’ll have a successful season.” Sonius said the Eagles will build around junior Ryan Fedders, who led the Eagles in hitting, RBI and runs scored last season. “Ryan has a lot of ability,” Sonius said. “He’s a very good hitter and shows good instincts both at the plate and in the field. “We’ll also be looking for some leadership from Ryan this year, since we don’t have any seniors on team. We have a good group of juniors and a very large group of sophomores. “Those kids all show talent, and we also have a talented group of eighth graders and freshmen who could develop into starting players for us down the

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in and pitch well for us. “But one concern is our depth at pitcher and other positions. Our numbers are down a little bit this year with just 13 players out.” Coach Mallen said junior Sarah Mallen, an all-conference player in

SEE EAGLE SOFTBALL, 7

Eagle baseball team young but hopes to improve

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BRITT - Last season, the West Hancock softball team’s offense came alive after a couple relatively dormant years, and the Eagles are looking for another strong offensive campaign in 2011. West Hancock softball coach Shawn Mallen is more concerned about replacing four key positions, including pitcher. Lost to graduation were all-conference pitcher Alicia Eliason and first baseman Cassie Sonius. Expected to step in and fill the void at pitcher is sophomore Anna Mallen. She threw just 18 innings last season but struck out 11 and finished with an earned run average of 5.29. “Alicia needed some help at the end of the season last year and I thought Anna stepped in and did a good job,” Shawn Mallen said. “We think she’s ready to step

year but will be in the circle in games this season. Fighting to secure the two outfield spots are Rachael Smith, Abby Paca and Jessica Gray. Meanwhile, the Eagles do return some experience in the infield. Taylor Formanek returns at shortstop while April Burgardt is a returning letter winner at second. Last season, Taylor Kraft hit and played well at third base but injured her back midway through the season. The back injury, however, will keep Kraft on the shelf and she won’t play this season. Stepping in at third base will be Caitlin

May 25, 2011 • 3

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Summit • News-Tribune

Tiger baseball team returns experience on mound

BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the WCLT baseball team are front row, left to right, Carter Henken, Mark Wellik, Jake Meinders and Chase Stohr. Middle row, Logan Hobbes, Chad Ullmann. Tyler Franzen, Kyle Pals, Andrew Henken. Back row, Caleb Blocker, Jeremy Rurup, Eric Spear, Joey Lee, Logan Kunkel. ing batters hit the ball and let our fielders do the work. If we can play good defense and improve our offense, the wins will take care of

Sheri’s

themselves.” At the catching position, Meinders saw most of the action last year and could play behind the plate this year, along

with Stohr and Wellik. Other infielders include Pals, Kunkel, Joey Lee and freshman Chad Ullmann. Meinders could see time

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and also has a breaking ball and a changeup that can be very good. And she spotted her pitches well last year in the strike zone.” Last season, Price pitched 54 innings and logged an earned run average of 3.37. She struck out 35 hitters and walked 31. Should the Indians need a second option, they’ll go to senior

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season and we know Bailey can fill in well behind the plate,” coach Gilbertson said. “But if Bailey catches, we’ll have to fill the position at third base.” The Indians should be a strong defensive team in 2011, with plenty of experience returning in the infield and outfield. Connor Thompson returns at shortstop while Alyssa Bredeson

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Bailey Gilbertson, who has been a three-year starter at third base. Last season, Gilbertson threw just 13 innings but will probably see more time in the circle this season. Coach Gilbertson added that Bailey or Gen Halvorsen will likely play behind the plate in place of Vermedahl. “Gen caught at the junior varsity level last

and Maggie Shipman saw plenty of varsity action at second last season. If Shipman or Bredeson aren’t in the lineup at second, they might fill in for Bailey Gilbertson at third. In the outfield, the Indians are set with speedy Amanda Busta patrolling center and Jaz Coleman-Monson in right. Miranda Bartleson saw action last year in the outfield as well. Forest City should be speedy on the basepaths and dangerous, even at the top of the order with Busta leading off and Bailey Gilbertson in the second spot. Last summer, Busta led the Indians in batting average (.430), and runs scored (29). Bailey was second on the team with a .411 average. She drove in 12 runs and scored 26. Thompson should be a good option in the third or fourth spot. Last season, she hit .353 with 20 RBI, 20 runs scored and seven doubles. The speedy Coleman-

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Members of the Forest City softball team are front row, left to right, Sarah Nelson, Molly Lewison, Briana Marsen, Tory Sharp, Liz Springer, Reagan Reece. Middle row, Miranda Bartleson, Maggie Shipman, Alyssa Bredeson, Amanda Busta, Bailey Gilbertson, Jaz Coleman-Monson, Britney Rauk. Back row, Nicole Skjeie, Rachel Price, Gen Halvorsen, Ali Peterson, Kelsey McQuown, Rachael Steiff, Connor Thompson, Jessica Tweeten.

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FOREST CITY - With proven experience on both offense and defense, the Forest City softball team will definitely be in the mix for a North Iowa Conference title this summer. “We lost just two seniors last year and even though we had some growing pains last summer, we return a lot of experience,” Gilbertson said. “That would probably be our strength, and I think the lineup we put together should be able to score some runs.” The two seniors lost however, were valuable. The Indians lost pitcher Maria Levang and veteran catcher Kayla Vermedahl. In 2010, Levang logged 124 innings in the

circle and finished with a 3.60 earned run average. Vermedahl was one of the top defensive catchers in the conference the last two seasons and finished with a batting average of .396. She drove in 18 runs and scored 23. When the Indians needed a second arm in the circle last season, that duty went to Rachel Price. According to Gilbertson, Price will be looked on as the Indians ace this summer. She did, however, have shoulder problems toward the end of last season. “A key will be keeping Rachel healthy,” Gilbertson said. “If she is, we have the confidence that she can step in and be a good No. 1 pitcher. “She has decent velocity on her fastball

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CRYSTAL LAKE With three of its top pitchers returning, along with plenty of infielders and outfielders, the Woden-Crystal LakeTitonka baseball team is looking to make its last season a good one. Taking over the coaching duties for the departed Adam Squires is Matt Warren. “We have a lot of experience coming back,” Warren said. “We will be strong in the mound and in the field, but we need to increase our team batting average and runs-scored over last year.” Defense and hitting have been the priorities early for the Tigers, Warren said. Last year, WCLT hit just .222 as a team and had just one hitter bat over .300. “We just want to go out there and make consistent contact and make the opposing fielders work to get us out,” Warren said. The leading returning hitter is senior Kyle Pals, who hit .333 last season with two doubles, 11 runs-scored and 10 RBI. Second to Pals last year in batting average was Andrew Henken,

who hit .253 with 12 RBI, two doubles and a triple. The good news offensively is that the Tigers return their four top run producers. Leading the way in RBI last year were Chase Stohr (22), Logan Kunkel (18), Jake Meinders (17) and Mark Wellik (16). “We have some potential there, and if we just put the ball in play, good things will happen,” Warren said. On the mound, the Tigers return ace Eric Spear, who saw the most innings last year. In 2010. Spear threw 46 innings and finished with an earned run average of 6.29. He gave up 63 hits and walked 39. Returning on the hill is Jake Meinders, also a standout football and basketball player for the Tigers. In 2010, Meinders threw 31 innings and finished with an earned run average of 7.90. He yielded 47 hits and issued 29 walks while striking out 26. Warren will also look to Logan Kunkel as a third starter on the mound. He threw 26 innings last season . “We’ve been stressing to our pitchers to throw strikes,” Warren said. “We need to let oppos-

May 25, 2011 • 5

Indian softball team expects to challenge for North Iowa title

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BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

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Tiger baseball team returns experience on mound

BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the WCLT baseball team are front row, left to right, Carter Henken, Mark Wellik, Jake Meinders and Chase Stohr. Middle row, Logan Hobbes, Chad Ullmann. Tyler Franzen, Kyle Pals, Andrew Henken. Back row, Caleb Blocker, Jeremy Rurup, Eric Spear, Joey Lee, Logan Kunkel. ing batters hit the ball and let our fielders do the work. If we can play good defense and improve our offense, the wins will take care of

Sheri’s

themselves.” At the catching position, Meinders saw most of the action last year and could play behind the plate this year, along

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and also has a breaking ball and a changeup that can be very good. And she spotted her pitches well last year in the strike zone.” Last season, Price pitched 54 innings and logged an earned run average of 3.37. She struck out 35 hitters and walked 31. Should the Indians need a second option, they’ll go to senior

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season and we know Bailey can fill in well behind the plate,” coach Gilbertson said. “But if Bailey catches, we’ll have to fill the position at third base.” The Indians should be a strong defensive team in 2011, with plenty of experience returning in the infield and outfield. Connor Thompson returns at shortstop while Alyssa Bredeson

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Bailey Gilbertson, who has been a three-year starter at third base. Last season, Gilbertson threw just 13 innings but will probably see more time in the circle this season. Coach Gilbertson added that Bailey or Gen Halvorsen will likely play behind the plate in place of Vermedahl. “Gen caught at the junior varsity level last

and Maggie Shipman saw plenty of varsity action at second last season. If Shipman or Bredeson aren’t in the lineup at second, they might fill in for Bailey Gilbertson at third. In the outfield, the Indians are set with speedy Amanda Busta patrolling center and Jaz Coleman-Monson in right. Miranda Bartleson saw action last year in the outfield as well. Forest City should be speedy on the basepaths and dangerous, even at the top of the order with Busta leading off and Bailey Gilbertson in the second spot. Last summer, Busta led the Indians in batting average (.430), and runs scored (29). Bailey was second on the team with a .411 average. She drove in 12 runs and scored 26. Thompson should be a good option in the third or fourth spot. Last season, she hit .353 with 20 RBI, 20 runs scored and seven doubles. The speedy Coleman-

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Members of the Forest City softball team are front row, left to right, Sarah Nelson, Molly Lewison, Briana Marsen, Tory Sharp, Liz Springer, Reagan Reece. Middle row, Miranda Bartleson, Maggie Shipman, Alyssa Bredeson, Amanda Busta, Bailey Gilbertson, Jaz Coleman-Monson, Britney Rauk. Back row, Nicole Skjeie, Rachel Price, Gen Halvorsen, Ali Peterson, Kelsey McQuown, Rachael Steiff, Connor Thompson, Jessica Tweeten.

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in the outfield along with Henken, Caleb Andreasen, Wellik and Spear.

FOREST CITY - With proven experience on both offense and defense, the Forest City softball team will definitely be in the mix for a North Iowa Conference title this summer. “We lost just two seniors last year and even though we had some growing pains last summer, we return a lot of experience,” Gilbertson said. “That would probably be our strength, and I think the lineup we put together should be able to score some runs.” The two seniors lost however, were valuable. The Indians lost pitcher Maria Levang and veteran catcher Kayla Vermedahl. In 2010, Levang logged 124 innings in the

circle and finished with a 3.60 earned run average. Vermedahl was one of the top defensive catchers in the conference the last two seasons and finished with a batting average of .396. She drove in 18 runs and scored 23. When the Indians needed a second arm in the circle last season, that duty went to Rachel Price. According to Gilbertson, Price will be looked on as the Indians ace this summer. She did, however, have shoulder problems toward the end of last season. “A key will be keeping Rachel healthy,” Gilbertson said. “If she is, we have the confidence that she can step in and be a good No. 1 pitcher. “She has decent velocity on her fastball

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CRYSTAL LAKE With three of its top pitchers returning, along with plenty of infielders and outfielders, the Woden-Crystal LakeTitonka baseball team is looking to make its last season a good one. Taking over the coaching duties for the departed Adam Squires is Matt Warren. “We have a lot of experience coming back,” Warren said. “We will be strong in the mound and in the field, but we need to increase our team batting average and runs-scored over last year.” Defense and hitting have been the priorities early for the Tigers, Warren said. Last year, WCLT hit just .222 as a team and had just one hitter bat over .300. “We just want to go out there and make consistent contact and make the opposing fielders work to get us out,” Warren said. The leading returning hitter is senior Kyle Pals, who hit .333 last season with two doubles, 11 runs-scored and 10 RBI. Second to Pals last year in batting average was Andrew Henken,

who hit .253 with 12 RBI, two doubles and a triple. The good news offensively is that the Tigers return their four top run producers. Leading the way in RBI last year were Chase Stohr (22), Logan Kunkel (18), Jake Meinders (17) and Mark Wellik (16). “We have some potential there, and if we just put the ball in play, good things will happen,” Warren said. On the mound, the Tigers return ace Eric Spear, who saw the most innings last year. In 2010. Spear threw 46 innings and finished with an earned run average of 6.29. He gave up 63 hits and walked 39. Returning on the hill is Jake Meinders, also a standout football and basketball player for the Tigers. In 2010, Meinders threw 31 innings and finished with an earned run average of 7.90. He yielded 47 hits and issued 29 walks while striking out 26. Warren will also look to Logan Kunkel as a third starter on the mound. He threw 26 innings last season . “We’ve been stressing to our pitchers to throw strikes,” Warren said. “We need to let oppos-

May 25, 2011 • 5

Indian softball team expects to challenge for North Iowa title

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Members of the West Hancock softball team are front row, left to right, April Burgardt, Kellie Schmit, Taylor Formanek, Dusty Kraft, Rachael Smith. Back row, Caitlin Wilson, Sarah Mallen, Anna Mallen, Brooke Heusinkveld, Colbie Bates, Abby Paca, Jessica Gray, Paige Thompson. center field last year, will fill in for Anna if she needs relief. Later in the season, Mallen said he could call up some younger players. Competing for the spot at first base are junior Brooke Heusinkveld and Colbie

Bates. “We’ll play them both the first week and see what shakes out,” coach Mallen said. The Eagles also must fill outfield positions in left and right. Anna Mallen was an all-conference rightfielder last

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BRITT - This year’s West Hancock baseball team will be a work in progress. The team has won just five games over the past two seasons, including just two last season. The Eagles have had three different coaches in the past three years, but hope to have some consistency in that department starting this year, when Paul Sonius takes over. Sonius has built the West Hancock girls basketball team into one of the better programs in North Iowa. But he has no illusions that there will be a quick turnaround for the West Hancock baseball team. “We’re building for this year, but also next year and the years after that,” Sonius said. “Our

road.” Other returning starters for the Eagles include Vincent Wade, Josiah Eckels, Jonny Eekhoff and Mason Muth. “We’re looking for Vincent Wade to be one of our better pitchers this season,” Sonius said. “He also shows some good instincts at

the plate. “Mason will also give us a lot of help. We’ll be expecting him to pitch some this season and also play one of the infield or outfield spots.” Eckels has been of the Eagle’s better average hitters the past two seasons and will give West Hancock some speed at

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the top of the lineup. Behind the plate, Sonius is encouraged by the progress of three sophomore prospects in Jon Burgardt, Zach Paulus and Mark Roth. “All three of those guys will be in the mix for the starting catcher position,” Sonius said. “And I have confidence in all three players.”

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Also returning is Seth Goepel, who saw time on the mound but has a good shot at gaining the starting third base position, Sonius said. The coach added that among players in the strong sophomore group are Cory Formanek, Devin Richter and Collin SEE EAGLES, 7

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Members of the West Hancock baseball team are front row, from left to right, Jacob Hejlik, Mark Roth, Jordan Savoy, Joey DeHart, Klayton Lamareux, Tim Smidt. Middle row, Seth Goepel, Devin Richter, Zach Paulus, Jon Burgardt, Cory Formanek, Collin Becker. Back row, Ryan Fedders, Jonathan Eekhoff, Mason Muth, Conor Thill, Josiah Eckels, Vincent Wade, Gerardo Ibarra.

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main goal is to just improve with every game we play and if we do that, we’ll have a successful season.” Sonius said the Eagles will build around junior Ryan Fedders, who led the Eagles in hitting, RBI and runs scored last season. “Ryan has a lot of ability,” Sonius said. “He’s a very good hitter and shows good instincts both at the plate and in the field. “We’ll also be looking for some leadership from Ryan this year, since we don’t have any seniors on team. We have a good group of juniors and a very large group of sophomores. “Those kids all show talent, and we also have a talented group of eighth graders and freshmen who could develop into starting players for us down the

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in and pitch well for us. “But one concern is our depth at pitcher and other positions. Our numbers are down a little bit this year with just 13 players out.” Coach Mallen said junior Sarah Mallen, an all-conference player in

SEE EAGLE SOFTBALL, 7

Eagle baseball team young but hopes to improve

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BRITT - Last season, the West Hancock softball team’s offense came alive after a couple relatively dormant years, and the Eagles are looking for another strong offensive campaign in 2011. West Hancock softball coach Shawn Mallen is more concerned about replacing four key positions, including pitcher. Lost to graduation were all-conference pitcher Alicia Eliason and first baseman Cassie Sonius. Expected to step in and fill the void at pitcher is sophomore Anna Mallen. She threw just 18 innings last season but struck out 11 and finished with an earned run average of 5.29. “Alicia needed some help at the end of the season last year and I thought Anna stepped in and did a good job,” Shawn Mallen said. “We think she’s ready to step

year but will be in the circle in games this season. Fighting to secure the two outfield spots are Rachael Smith, Abby Paca and Jessica Gray. Meanwhile, the Eagles do return some experience in the infield. Taylor Formanek returns at shortstop while April Burgardt is a returning letter winner at second. Last season, Taylor Kraft hit and played well at third base but injured her back midway through the season. The back injury, however, will keep Kraft on the shelf and she won’t play this season. Stepping in at third base will be Caitlin

May 25, 2011 • 3

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BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

FOREST CITY - The Forest City High baseball team lost several key players to graduation last spring off last year’s 11-10 team but returns some key veterans for this summer’s season. The Indians return their leading hitter in senior Drew Tweeten and their top pitcher from last season, Reid Gilbertson. “That’s a good place to start,” said Indian baseball coach Jeff Jerome. “We have a number of younger kids who saw a lot of varsity action last year as underclassmen. We need them to step up and have good seasons both in the field and at the plate.” Key players lost to graduation last year were infielder Alex Johnson, who hit .314 with 13 RBI in 2010. Another key loss was Andrew Rosacker, who hit .266 last year and

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the Forest City baseball team are front row, left to right, Reid Gilbertson, Cole Anderson, Parker Farland, Isaac Tuttle, Jeremy Kostelecky, Josh Dakken, Russell Scharper. Middle row, Tyler Harmon, Tobin Shaw, Jonathan Krein, Aaron Harms, Zach Lillquist, Drew Tweeten, Brian Brcka, Jeff Robson, Riley Scharper. Back row, Coach Mike True, Nathan Koch, Kyle Rosacker, Andrew Montgomery, Corey Osborn, Nathan Byro, Trent Waldrod, Coach Dusty Meyn, Nathan Freiderich, Head Coach Jeff Jerome. drove in 12 runs. Johnson and Rosacker, an outfielder, also saw time on the mound last season. Johnson was one of the Indians’ key relievers and Rosacker got some starts and wound up with a win to his credit. The Indians won 11 games last year after

winning just a handful the previous two seasons. The big difference for the 2010 season was improved pitching. Gilbertson led the way, compiling a 5-5 mark without a lot of run support. He threw six complete games on the year and had an outstanding earned run

average of 2,28. “Reid is going to be key for us this year,” Jerome said. “He has three good pitches - a fastball, breaking ball and changeup - and he’s able to spot all of them in the strike zone.” Last season, Gilbertson did the bulk of the pitching on the

Indian staff. He finished with 55 1/3 innings pitched, giving up just 11 walks and 58 hits. He struck out 46. “Reid isn’t a pitcher who will overpower a lot of hitters with his fastball, but he has good command of the strike zone. And he can bounce back from start to start. He can throw seven innings on a Monday and come back Friday for the start.” With so many games in such a short season, Jerome knows he’s going to need a few arms. The leading returning candidates at pitcher are sophomore Isaac Tuttle and junior Kyle Rosacker. Tuttle, as just a freshman last season, was a pleasant surprise on the mound for the Indians. Although he finished with an 0-4 mark, he logged 29 inningspitched and had a 4.88 earned run average. “Isaac did a good job for us last year,” Jerome said. “We hope he has

another good year for us and there’s no reason he can’t.” Kyle Rosacker didn’t lot many innings last season, but he has a strong arm and throws hard. “We’ve got some work to do with Kyle, but we expect him to log some innings for us this season,” Jerome said. Other pitching possibilities, Jerome said, include Tyler Harmon, Tweeten, Cole Anderson, Andrew Montgomery, Thomas O’Rourke and Aaron Harms. “We need some of those kids to step up into pitching roles like we had Isaac do last year,” Jerome said. Behind the plate, the Indians have plenty of experience, as Riley Scharper and Nathan Friederich did the bulk of the pitch calling last season. Offensively, Tweeten hit .319 last season with SEE INDIANS, 7

Eagles a work in progress EAGLES: FROM 3 Becker. New to the team this season is junior Gerardo Ibarra, who will bring some proven athletic success to the Eagle baseball team.Ibarra has been the starting quarterback for West Hancock the last two seasons and has been one of the top point guards in the area over the past three seasons.

Eagles girls sport offense EAGLE SOFTBALL: FROM 6 Wilson. At catcher, Kellie Schmit returns and should give the Eagles some speed as well as some run production in the middle of the lineup. The Eagles’ offense, meanwhile, will be keyed at the top of the order with Sarah Mallen leading off and Anna Mallen in the second spot. Last season, Anna led the Eagles in batting average with a .370 mark. She scored 22 runs and added ten RBI. Sarah hit .346 and added 21 runs-scored. “Sarah and Anna give us a solid 1-2 punch,” said coach Mallen. Also expected to lend some needed run production is Formanek. Last season, she hit .355 with 19 runs scored and 13 RBI. Heusinkveld had just 14 at-bats last season, but hit .286. “We’re looking for a strong offense again this season,” coach Mallen said. “We got a late start to the season because all but two of our players are out for track. We might throw the ball around a little bit at the start of the season, but that is usually the case.”

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Monson hit .310 and Bredeson .291. Coach Gilbertson added that like last year, the North Iowa Conference race will be wide open. “North Iowa kind of took control of the race last year, but they lost a lot to graduation,” Gilbertson said. “We’ll be in the mix, and Mason City Newman and Osage should have strong teams. And Lake Mills returns its top pitcher, Josie Brackey.

He finished with six doubles and a triple. Jerome will also be counting on Harms to be a force at the plate. Last season, he hit just .188 but drove in some key runs. The Indians finished last season with a team batting average of just .214. “That has to improve, but from what I’ve seen of us hitting in the cage, it will,” Jerome said. “But hitting live pitching in a game is a lot different than batting practice.” Jerome added that Mason City Newman is the heavy favorite for a

SUMMER SPORTS FILE PHOTO

Forest City’s Drew Tweeten is ready to make contact on a pitch from a game last season. North Iowa Conference title while Lake Mills and Osage will also field strong teams. “Newman might have one of the best pitching staffs in Class 1A in the

state,” Jerome said. “Lake Mills returns a lot of talent and Osage also returns some good players and is well-coached.”

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Indians return top pitcher

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Summit • News-Tribune

Tigers hope to make last season memorable BY CHRIS TODD SUMMER SPORTS 2011

SUMMER SPORTS PHOTO BY CHRIS TODD

Members of the WCLT softball team are front row, left to right, Anne Studer, Chelsey Peterson, Kailey Pals, Sam Thilges, Jenna Heesch, Erika Withers, Katie Gross. Midde row, Michaela Andreasen, Hailey Kofron, Elizabeth Carlton, Chelsea Tweed, Michaela Heesch. Back row, Amanda Gross, Maggie Eden, Chyenna Julius, Abigail Stecker, Lexie Smidt. Missing from photo, Paige Heesch, Amanda Heesch, Hannah Kofron. Amanda will be able to go entire games. That would be a positive, because Paige plays great defense at shortstop.” Senior Sam Thilges returns at first base for the Tigers and she’ll be expected to be a run producer in the middle of the lineup. Also providing some run production this sea-

son should be Maggie Eden, who caught last year but will be moved to third base this summer. “Maggie had knee surgery over the offseason and she just got the OK to play a couple of weeks ago” Schwartz said. “We won’t use her at catcher, but we’ll need her bat in the lineup and she can play a

good third base for us.” Senior Hannah Kofron returns at second, but she’ll do the catching when Paige Heesch is pitching. Anne Studer will catch when Amanda is pitching and play short when Paige Heesch pitches. In the outfield, Schwartz says several players are still fighting for two available posi-

tions, since Jenna Heesch will get the start in centerfield. Back from missing the last two seasons is outfielder Erika Withers, who also was out with a knee injury. She’ll give the Tigers plenty of speed at the top of the lineup and in the outfield. And Schwartz says Withers has shown an ability to

drive the ball thus far in practice. “It’s good to have her back,” Schwartz said. “We really missed her and she’s worked very hard to get back to playing again.” In left field, Schwartz said, Hailey Kofron could see action and senior Katie Gross could be the rightfielder. Also in the outfield mix is Abigail Stecker. Offensively, the Tigers should be able to score plenty of runs. “We’ll try to utilize our speed, but we have some hitters who can drive in runs as well,” Schwartz said. “We want to score first in every game and just keep on scoring after that, because we know we may give up some runs this season.” Schwartz says her team is serious about making the most of the season. “We’re the last of the last in terms of sports at WCLT,” Schwartz said. “But we also want our kids to have some fun along the way.” The Tigers’ first five games are at home. The WCLT softball tournament will be held Saturday, June 18 in Woden.

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WODEN - The Woden-Crystal LakeTitonka softball team wants to make its last season a memorable one. And the Tigers, with their lineup of the last two seasons almost totally intact, will have the chance to do that. “We return a lot of experienced players,” said WCLT softball coach Teresa Schwartz. “The girls have a little extra motivation for this year and we’ve been working hard in practice the past two weeks.” The Tigers did losebh their top pitcher from last season in lefthander Michelle Eden. But Schwartz expects the sister combination of Paige and Amanda Heesch to step in and fill the void. “Paige is a harder thrower than Amanda, who relies more on hitting her spots and movement on her pitches,” Schwartz said. “So we may mix and match Paige and Amanda when hitters start timing some of Amanda’s pitches. “But we aren’t sure exactly how our pitching situation will work out. It’s possible that

2011 Summer Sports Preview

May 25, 2011

Forest City 2011 Summer Sports Preview  

2011 Summer Sports Preview Supplement to: May 25, 2011 MS - 3 5 6 0 3

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