Young players learn to lead as senior-dominated team gets ready to defend state title
The Redhawks are the reigning state champions of Class AA baseball and are optimistic about finishing strong in 2017.
They won the IMAC conference, finished with a record of 9-0, and are ranked #2 in Class AA behind Belle Plaine.
They are the top-ranked team in Section 4AA, with playoffs beginning tomorrow. It’s still a long road to the state tournament, which begins June 15.
“I think anytime that you return six to seven starters, like this year, from a team that won a state championship,” said head coach Scott Glenn, “I think we’re gonna have a decent chance and obviously that is the players’ goals, so that’s what we are hoping for.”
However, this year’s baseball team can be seen in two different lights: during the season and the playoffs, there are 10 seniors on the team, seven of which start regularly. This team is heading down the path to win another state championship.
Then at the end of the season, when the 10 seniors graduate, sophomores Noah Dehne, Bennett Theisen and Brock Brumley have to step in to lead the team.
Dehne is a shortstop that was vital to the team’s success.
Theisen played third base but also was a part of the team’s pitching rotation. He made an immediate impact this year for the Redhawks.
Right-handed pitcher Brumley mainly pitched for the team.
“I definitely think that we have the talent to do so and we’re all there, we’re all experienced. Having 10 seniors really helps but also we have three really good young guys who are in the mix, too,” said Brumley.
Everyone on the team is hyped up for playoffs and hopefully winning another state title.
Looking ahead to next year, however, the team is losing a bunch of great players and leaders but the returning players are still very keen about the coming years.
“It’ll be tough.” said Theisen, “We’ll be a young team. Saying that, we’ve got Noah and I as the only starters, we still have deep talent from the sophomore and freshman classes. We’ve got kids like Brock, Roddy, Will Wamre. We have a strong system coming up. It is gonna be tough losing 10 seniors but it will be a good rebuilding year.”
Everyone in the program is inclined to believe even though 2018 will be a rebuilding year, the year will still be a good one as the ranks coming up are full of young talent.
However, next year’s leaders don’t have a for sure spot as starters for the coming season. They have had to work for their place in the team and have spent many hours honing their skills and getting better. They also get to travel to places on the other side of the country to play baseball.
“Offseason, I’m at mash [training] four days a week for about two hours. We also go to Chicago, Indiana and Kentucky for tournaments this summer so it is a lot,” said Brumley.
They all have lots of offseason work to keep their spots and lead next year’s team.
As the seniors graduate, they also have good words to say about next year’s leaders.
“Noah and Bennett have started every game and have been doing great,” said senior second baseman Kenny Kiratli. “They’re both middle of the lineup, solid reliable hitters. Also, Brock’s pitching has been phenomenal, and next year those three will bring the experience to lead the team.”
Senior outfielder and ace pitcher Alex Evenson also gave the younger players a vote of confidence.
“I just think they’re intelligent baseball players,” he said. “No one really sees them as underclassmen. We kind of just see them as really good baseball players that help out the team. They continue to work and progress, and they will be good leaders in the future.”
This year, as the team hopes to win another state championship. Dehne, Theisen and Brumley will be learning to lead.
Everyone knows next year will be a tough year. But even losing all the seniors that are on the team now, most every player thinks that the team will still be very good and have a good chance at doing well in the years to come.