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Experience will be the key to Vikings’ success on ball diamond

COLFAX — The Colfax baseball team returns a large part of their pitching staff as well as most of their leading hitters from a year ago, allowing coach Tim Wilson to be optimistic coming into the 2015 season. With eight seniors and seven juniors back, the majority with varsity experience, the team hopes to improve on their 8-10 record from a year ago.

The Vikings will have to replace Ethin Kiekhafer who was a three time All Conference player, a pitcher for four seasons, the second leading hitter on the team last year and a utility infielder, along with first baseman/designated hitter Nolan Prince.

Doing most of the work on the mound will be seniors Logan Mittelstadt and Sawyer DeMoe along with junior Jarrod Rudi. Leading the team in the hitting department will be senior outfielder Nate Leibfried who batted .345 last season, senior infielder Jeremiah Wait who will split time with the track team after batting .304 as a junior, DeMoe who plays third base when he’s not pitching who carried a .328 batting average, Rudi, a .339 hitter last season who will anchor the shortstop position when not on the mound and catcher Brady Simonson, a junior who posted a .314 batting average as a sophomore. DeMoe and Leibfried were First Team AC picks a year ago while Rudi was a Second Team selection.

Other returning letter winners include senior first baseman/DH Trevor Olson and junior outfielder Zach Meyer while seniors Matt Shaw, Brett Johnson and Brandon Anderson along with juniors Mason Harmon, Ben Christianson, Andrew Harmon and Joe Verdon will be competing for starting positions.

There are no sophomores out this year but seven freshmen fill out the squad including Mitch Kiekhafer, Nate Polden, Alex Sykora, Taylor Sarauer, Jackson Harvey, Cole Hill and Brett Schindler.

“Our strength this year should be the experience we have at a lot of positions,” Wilson, who begins his 23rd year leading the Vikings said. “We have a good but unproven staff of pitchers which will be the key to our success. We have pretty good team speed but we will have to play more consistent baseball in all phases to have a good season,” he added.

Wilson looks for Elk Mound, St. Croix Central and Mondovi to be the leading teams in the conference this year. He is assisted by Garrett Maas.