By Missy Klatt
GLENWOOD CITY – New season, new coaches. First year co-head coach, Shane Strong will be joined by Jim Celt at the helm of Hilltopper baseball. Celt makes a return to coaching after several years away from the sport. They will also be assisted by Tom Stack.
The Toppers who didn’t win a game last year, finishing 0-10 in the Small Dunn-St. Croix and 0-15 overall, have a lot of work to do. However Coach Strong doesn’t see this as a problem. He states that the players have a good work ethic and attitude. He goes on to say that “they are a close group focused on improvement.”
Strong mentions four returning players that will be a big asset to the team this year. First is junior, Hadin DeSmith, who pitches and plays short stop. Strong said “Hadin will be a key leader in our lineup. He is a good athlete with a strong arm and a quick bat.” Second is junior, Tanner Davis who is an outfielder. Coach Strong had this to say about Tanner; “Tanner is a very positive young man that will be a great asset to our team. He is a positive vocal leader with good skill set as a baseball player.”
Third on Strong’s list is senior, Marcus Hurtgen. Strong credits Hurtgen who plays third base, as the most experienced player on the team. He continues by saying, “he has a solid bat and a strong arm at third base.” Fourth on Strong’s list is junior catcher, Bryce Fayerweather. ‘Bryce will be a key player for us behind the plate. He is working hard to improve his skills. He has a strong arm and very good bat.”
As for newcomers, Strong states that “Gavin Janson will be a solid freshman for us.” He goes on to say that he has a strong baseball background, has a solid glove and can really hit the ball.
When asked about the team’s weakness, Strong said that pitching was a concern, citing a lack of pitching experience on the team.
As for the competition, Strong sees, Durand, Elk Mound and Spring Valley at the top of the conference.
Coach Strong states that we have one goal this year and that is to improve fundamentally. He goes on; “Glenwood City hasn’t had a winning baseball season in over a decade. Right now we are focusing on skill development, coming together as a team and learning the game of baseball.” Strong says that we have some very positive leaders in our youth program right now and they foresee great improvement in the next few years. As for the high school team, he feels that they could be the start of something good but right now their goal is to be competitive and to improve each week.
Although this is Coach Strong’s first year coaching baseball at Glenwood, he previously was the assistant varsity coach for seven years under Craig Anderson in Pine Island, MN. Anderson is a 42 year retired head coach in the Minnesota and National Hall of Fame. Strong hopes to use what he learned from Anderson to develop the Topper players.
Seniors: Marcus Hurtgen, Pete Hill, Brad Kessler, Jake Nadeau, Jake Kopacz & Carson Strong
Juniors: Tanner Davis, Hadin DeSmith, Bryce Fayerweather
Sophomores: Cole Logghe, Dan Loring, Tucker Lagerstrom
Freshmen: Gavin Janson, Nick Hill