Milaca American Legion Baseball Team Manager Bart Naumann feels pitching will be one of his team’s strengths this season.
And, strong pitching performances were evident last week as Milaca opened its season by topping Mora 2-0 Thursday, June 6 and Becker 12-2 the following night. Both games were at Milaca.
“I’m very happy with how our pitchers performed last week,” said Naumann, who’s starting his 13th season as manager.
Matt VanSomeren pitched a three-hitter to blank Mora. He walked four and struck out 12.
“Matt was fantastic,” said Naumann. “He worked out of a jam in the third inning by striking out Mora’s No. 5 and No. 6 batters.”
Nathan Hass and Mike Garber each had a double to pace Milaca’s offense while Zach Streff, Hunter Foss and Mike McLouth each had a single.
Milaca scored the game’s only runs in the second inning.
“You really find out what you’re made of in a tight game like this,” added Naumann. “Those two early runs gave us a big boost.”
Brian Kiel started on the mound against Becker and allowed two runs, four hits and four walks over five innings while striking out nine. Fransen blanked Becker in the final two innings, allowing three hits and no walks.
Hass had a double and two singles and Kiel had three singles to pace Milaca’s 12-hit attack. Foss rapped a double and a single and Fransen had a double.
Milaca led 3-2 before erupting for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and three more in the sixth.
“Our offense really showed up,” said Naumann. “We were very aggressive at the plate.”
VanSomeren, Kiel and Fransen will lead what Naumann feels is a deep pitching staff.
“It’s nice to have those veterans who have pitched a lot of innings.” Naumann said.
Right-handers Ian Carpenter and Foss, along with left-handers Mason Hoskins and Nick Wolbert will also see some action on the mound.
Garber will see much action at catcher while Kiel and Streff can also handles things behind the plate.
Kiel (shortstop), Fransen (third base) and VanSomeren (first base) will handle infield positions when they’re not pitching. Other infielders include Wolbert (first base), Streff (second base), McLouth (utility) and Cole Earl (second/third base).
Outfielders include Hass, Hunter Foss, Wyatt Foss, Hoskins, Carpenter and Jorgen Erickson.
“We have 14 players on the roster, the most I’ve ever had,” said Naumann. “That gives us pretty good depth.
“Our hitting should be solid – we need to get hits at the right times with runners on base. Our defense appears to be OK and I think it will improve as the season goes on.”
Milaca will be playing in Division II of the Legion program for the first time. It will be playing its usual District 10 North End opponents during the regular season
Milaca Legion Schedule
June 6 – Mora (home), won 2-0.
-June 7 – Becker (home), won 12-2.
-June 13 – at St. Francis, doubleheader, 6 and 8 p.m.
-June 18 – Chisago Lakes at Milaca, 6:30 p.m.
-June 20 – at Cambridge, 6:30 p.m.
-June 24 – at Mora, 6:30 p.m.
-July 2 – North Branch at Milaca, 6:30 p.m.
-July 9 – at North Branch, 6:30 p.m.
-July 11 – at Princeton, doubleheader, 6 and 8 p.m.
-July 15 – at Chisago Lakes, 6:30 p.m.
-July 16 – at Cambridge, 6:30 p.m.
-July 22-28 – sub-state tournament, TBA