The first week in June usually signals the start of the American Legion baseball season.
And, that means it’s time to check in with Bart Naumann, who is beginning his 12th season as Milaca Legion Coach.
“I look forward to it each spring,” said Naumann, whose team dropped its season opener to Mora 3-2 at Milaca June 7. “I love baseball and I enjoy coaching these young guys.”
So, what’s the scouting report on this year’s team?
“We’ve got some veterans coming back and we’ve got a few new players,” said Naumann. “I think we’ve got some potential.
“Each year we seem to get off to somewhat of a slow start but we usually finish the season playing our best ball. Our goal is to always be at our best when the playoffs come around.”
Utility player and designated-hitter Travis Bertram and outfielder Brian Vanderhoff graduated in 2011 but were eligible to play again this season.
Other returning players include infielder/pitcher Brandon Kiel, infielder/pitcher Brian Kiel, infielder Bob Peterson, catcher Mike Garber, outfielder Ian Carpenter, outfielder Hunter Foss, outfielder Zip Ploeger and pitcher/catcher Paul Young. New faces include pitcher/infielder Justin Fransen, infielder/pitcher Matt VanSomeren, outfielder Jorgen Erickson and infielder/catcher Zack Haske.
“As usual, several players will see action on the pitching mound,” said Naumann, whose team was 7-9 last summer. “And, I think our pitching will be pretty good.
“I think we’ll be a good-hitting team. A key is to string hits at the right time. I’m not sure how we’ll be defensively – we had four errors against Mora.
“We have players who enjoy playing baseball and that’s a big thing. We want to win but we also want the players to enjoy the game.”
Naumann looks at the “usual suspects” Cambridge, Chisago Lakes and Princeton to field strong teams once again.
Dillon Naumann, Bart’s youngest son, is helping coach the team.
“Dillon know baseball and he’ll be a big asset,” said Bart.
Milaca is home tonight (Thursday) for a doubleheader against St. Francis. The first game starts at 5 o’clock.
Milaca 2012 graduate Ashley Johnson was named to the St. Cloud Times All-Area Softball Team. The team was announced Tuesday.
“She’s a great player and deserves the honor,” said Milaca Coach Randy Johnson. “She’s been our ace.
“Ashley has a good mix of pitches and she’s worked hard to improve.”
Johnson notched 172 strikeouts this season and had a 3.42 earned-run average.
Albany senior pitcher Karli Persson was named St. Cloud Times Player of the Year.
The Milaca Junior Olympic 18-and-under softball team opened its season by sweeping a pair of games from Pierz last week.
Milaca won the opener 8-2 as Sara Warren pitched a three-hitter and struck out seven.
Hannah Johnson, Ashley’s sister, pitched a three-hitter and fanned 11 as Milaca won the second game 12-3.
Randy Johnson, Cory Ploeger and Jenny (Kortus) Sommerlot are sharing coaching duties.
Milaca hosts Sartell in a twinbill Tuesday, June 19, at Sod Park, at 6 p.m.
Stones Throw Golf Course will be busy this weekend.
The Big Cup Challenge is Saturday, with registration at 10:30 a.m. and tee-off at noon.
On Sunday, it’s the long-running Parent/Child Tournament. Tee times are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For information on the tournaments call Stones Throw at 320-983-2110.