PREP BASEBALL PREVIEW: Greyhounds look to rebuild

NEW ULM – One of the definitions for “rebuild” that is found in Webster’s Dictionary is “to replace, reinforce or restrengthen.”

That definition is the task facing the New Ulm Cathedral baseball team for the 2013 season.

After a 19-7 record last season and a 104-30 mark in the past five seasons, Cathedral head coach Bob Weier faces perhaps his biggest challenge in his 21 years at the helm.

“We have just one starter back from last year and that is Jake Stadick,” Weier said. “Other than that, it will be an entirely new team and a lot of question marks that need to be answered as the year goes on.”

One of the question marks is the pitching staff, where the right-handed Stadick returns with a 3-1 mark from last season.

Despite the lack of numbers, Stadick feels that this edition of the Greyhounds may start out slow but will gain confidence later in the season.

“We are inexperienced now,” Stadick said. “But I feel that we can come around later in the year.”

With the inexperience, each position is wide open, said Weier.

Weier anticipates sophomore Collin Helget and junior Nate Palmer to battle for the catching spot.

Junior Russ Hoffman will vie for first base along with other potential candidates with senior Josh Kienlen at second base.

Mike Skillings along with Stadick will battle for the shortstop spot.

Stadick and Josh Dove will work for the third base position.

The outfield battles will see Palmer, Tyler Blackstad, Mike Hoffman, Brandon Beranek and freshman Gabe Knowles patrolling Johnson Park.

Senior Tyler Wall is also expected to contribute for the Greyhounds.

“We are going to try a lot of people at different positions early in the season and see what they can do,” Weier said. “And if they cannot, we will look elsewhere for people who can.”

If you read between the lines, that may well mean that some B-squaders may get some varsity playing time.

“We are going to be a station-to-station team this year,” Weier said. “We are not going to be a great hitting team and we do not have that power hitter, so we need to do the little things right.”

While Mother Nature has sent her winter season into extra innings this spring and kept teams from practicing outside, Weier feels that this may be an advantage for his team.

“We can get more classroom baseball learning,” he said. “We can talk about situations that arise during the games.”

Weier and pitching coach Sam Clyne, as they always have, will keep pitch counts each game so as to not overwork the pitchers’ arms.

“We do that until the playoffs,” Weier said. “And we will have a lot of different people on the mound this year.”

In addition to Stadick, players that may seem time on the mound include Palmer, Blackstad, Helget, Beranek, Knowles and Skillings.

As for the Tomahawk Conference, Weier looks for Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s to be the heavy favorite, with Springfield a dark horse.