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by Marlys Kruger
BOYCEVILLE — After winning virtually everything possible in 2021 including a Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship, a WIAA regional, sectional and Division 4 state championship, the Boyceville baseball team will have five starters back from that team who are expected to carry the load for them this season.
Gone through graduation are four-year catcher Trett Joles and four-year pitcher/shortstop Walker Retz, who along with winning several state awards last year were first team all conference selections and the Dunn-St. Croix Co-Players of the Year. Joles is now playing for Indiana State and Retz is playing for St. Thomas University, MN. Connor Sempf, another first team all conference pick, along with Joles and Retz, and Trevor Hollister, second team all conference, Brady Helland and Nick Litomsky also departed. Hollister and Sempf were four-year pitchers for the Bulldogs.
“We are losing great leaders, competitors and athletes,” Boyceville head coach Michael Roemhild, who begins his eighth season at the helm and brings a 77-44 record to the diamond, said.
However, he has plenty of experienced players back including senior Jacob Granley, a second team all conference selection, senior Ira Bialzik and sophomore Braden Roemhild who were both all conference honorable mention. And senior Dawson McRoberts and junior Chase Hollister both return after playing varsity all last season.
Coach Roemhild expects all five of them, who played in the biggest pressure situations possible last year and came through big for the team, to lead the Bulldogs this year.
Granley and Hollister are looking to lead the rotation with the pitching staff, Braden Roemhild may be taking on the role of the lead-off hitter and McRoberts and Bialzik are looking to bring some power to the hitting department.
Sophomore Devin Halama is working to be in the pitching rotation as well as a starting spot in the field while his bat has looked really impressive at practice, according to coach Roemhild.
Seniors Tyler Dormanen and Isaac Bartz are looking for their turn to help the team reach it’s goals. Also fighting for positions are juniors Bash Nielson, Jack Phillips and Simon Evenson along with sophomores Nick Olson and Reid Fenton.
Coach Roemhild believes the strength of the Bulldogs this year is that the team is a family who knows each other.
“They know that we lost a lot last year but they are up to the challenge to try and carry the torch from last year’s team,” he said.
Their major weakness seems to be who will catch, pitch, play shortstop and hit at the top of the order.
“Who is going to say I want the ball at crunch time?” Roemhild asked.
After losing great base runners from last season, one of the Bulldogs’ goals is to continue to be aggressive on the base paths. The coaches also want the team batting average to be above .300 and they want to keep the fielding errors minimal. And as a pitching staff, keep the walks and runs down. A non-statistical goal is to win each game they play, fight for a conference championship and make a deep run in the playoffs again.
In order to win that conference championship, coach Roemhild expects Elk Mound and Spring Valley to be the teams to beat. The Mounders have two great pitchers and Spring Valley is full of athletes and are very well coached.
Assistant coaches for the Bulldogs are Brian Roemhild, Jayme Retz, Blaine Leslie and Chris Ames.
Seniors: Jacob Granley, Dawson McRoberts, Ira Bialzik, Isaac Bartz, Tyler Dormanen, Jonathan Zebro, Cody Harmon
Juniors: Chase Hollister, Bash Nielson, Jack Phillips, Simon Evenson, Carter Katuin, Frank Fetzer
Sophomores: Braden Roemhild, Devin Halama, Reid Fenton, Nick Olson, Paul Kurschner, Zach Kersten, Parker Coombs, Wyatt Sell, Treylin Thorson
Freshmen: Tristan Larson-Vazquez, Nate Jensen, Carson Lindstrom, Blaine Severson, Dominic Anderson, Jake Bialzik, Ryker Benitz, Talen Kietzer, Riley Schutz