NEW ULM - When the Sleepy Eye St. Mary's baseball team scored 10 runs Monday in a 10-5 Tomahawk Conference win over Springfield, it was the seventh time in the Knights' first 14 games that they have scored double-digit runs this season.
They have scored a total of 121 runs in that time and have given up just 33 for an average win of 8.6 to 2.4.
There is no wonder that the Knights are the top-ranked team in Class A this season.
Head coach Bruce Woitas knew that his team this season would be a good one with a slew of returning players from last year's 16-8 team.
The question was just how good could they be.
"We knew that we had a veteran team coming back with a lot of experience," Woitas said. "We also had the majority of our pitching back from the last two years (a record of 33-16 in those two seasons), so we anticipated that we would have a decent year. But to say that you would be unbeaten at this time, you never say that."
One of the many strengths of the Knights this season is a mound staff that boasts three solid pitchers in senior Adam Sellner (5-0) and juniors Sean Mathiowetz (4-0) and Jordan Anderson (3-0).
Sellner and Mathiowetz almost have matching ERAs at 0.90 and 0.91, respectively, with Anderson coming in with a 1.47 ERA.
"We have three pitchers that we feel are probably number ones on most teams in our conference," Woitas said. "And coming in we felt that pitching along with defense would be our strengths."
The one game that the Knights allowed a number of runs in was a 16-12 victory against Blue Earth Area. Woitas said that he did not throw any of his top three arms in the contest.
"Anytime that we can throw any of those top three pitchers on the mound you like your chances to win," added Woitas. "And all three of those pitchers have varsity experience and they are maturing into that. For the most part we have played good defense behind them and we have scored some runs."
The team's potent offense has added another weapon for the Knights' opponents to be worried about.
St. Mary's has six batters hitting over .300, led by senior Scott Salfer, who is hitting .429. Salfer leads the team in hits with 21 and has a slugging percentage of .531.
Kyle Krzmarzick and Mathiowetz are hitting .389 and .381, respectively, with Anderson at .378, Sellner at .365 and Joe Meyer at .355.
"Our hitting is pretty well balanced," Woitas said. "I think we have had big hits from our line-up one through nine - they have all had big hits. We like the batting order that we put our there."
Woitas feels that his team, even though currently 14-0, has not played its best baseball as of yet.
"We still have room to improve," Woitas said. "We want to be playing our best baseball in the next two to three weeks. Hopefully we can do that so we can be where we want to be come playoff time."
Sub-section will be a test
Woitas knows that come playoff time, the 2A North sub-section will perhaps be the toughest sub-section in Minnesota.
The Knights are 14-0, BOLD is 11-2, New Ulm Cathedral is 12-3, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart is 10-4 and Minnesota Valley Lutheran is 9-7.
"There are a lot of competitive teams there," Woitas said. "And then you go to the [South sub-section] and you have Mankato Loyola (now 10-3), who is having a nice season. It is going to be tough come playoffs. We had two tough games against Cathedral and we were fortunate to win both games. We beat BLHS twice, 7-2 and 7-1, but the games were more like 2-1 and 3-2 for a while before we had a big inning that opened things up for us. MVL can play with anyone and BOLD is kind of unknown to our sub-section this year."
Woitas said that this team does compare to the many good teams that his program has produced over the years.
"We do not talk about wins and losses. We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the year," Woitas said. "We want to contend for the sub-section title and have the chance to represent our section in the state tournament. That is the goal of every team."
Try-outs for players in New Ulm who want to play Legion/VFW baseball here in New Ulm this summer will be held Sunday at the New Ulm Senior High School baseball field.
Legion players start at noon, 15-year olds at 1:30 p.m. and 16-year olds go at 2:30 p.m.
Six hits in a game
When Orono sophomore Jacob Flemmer got six hits in a game it was not a record. There have been two others to accomplish the feat.
The first was New Ulm High School's Walt Keckeisen, who did it against St. Peter back in 1951.
Helget to umpire in DIII World Series
Terry Helget of Sleepy Eye has been selected to umpire in the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wis., at the end of May... Letters of support for Red Wyczawski for entry to the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame are due by May 21 and should be mailed to Herb Schaper, 1435 10th South Street, New Ulm, MN 56073. Schaper can also be reached at 507-276-1774... Season tickets for the New Ulm Brewers and New Ulm Kaiserhoff amateur baseball teams are now on sale at Johnson Park or from any New Ulm Baseball Association Board member. Cost is $25 for one or $40 for two... The New Ulm Baseball Association will be holding a fundraiser next weekend, from Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20. Details will be released this weekend.