2011 Spring Preview: Woodbury baseball team looking to new core of ‘ball players’With the departures of Lion’s All-Star players Colin Keefe and Jason Eddy, along with all but two regular players from last year, the Woodbury baseball team will have a new core of players in 2010-11.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
With the departures of Lion’s All-Star players Colin Keefe and Jason Eddy, along with all but two regular players from last year, the Woodbury baseball team will have a new core of players in 2010-11.
Under the direction of third-year head coach Kevin McDermott and after posting a 10-11 overall record and finishing tied for sixth place in the 10-team Suburban East Conference, Woodbury has a team full of “ball players,” according to McDermott.
“I think we have a varsity team with almost every kid claiming baseball as their primary sport; there is a lot to be said for that,” McDermott said. “Kids like that seem to take it a little more seriously and put in the extra effort to be the best player that they can be.”
Last year, Woodbury began the season 3-1 with wins over rivals East Ridge and Park, along with Mounds View. However, following that, a 2-5 stretch in its next seven games doomed the Royals for a .500 regular season.
Key players for this year’s team include senior Mike Policano, who plays third base, first base and pitcher, senior outfielder Sean Scanlon, senior catcher Austin Fleischhacker and junior pitcher and third baseman Ryan Fritze, along with seniors Thomas Mohwinkel and Jon Castro and varsity newcomers Chase Lonetti, Jacob Roerick and Chris Hofacker.
Policano and Fritze were all-conference honorable mention last year.
“I like the core of players that we have,” McDermott said. “I think we will have a lineup filled with coachable, hard working kids that will play the game the right way and compete in each and every game.”
After beating Park 16-4 and topping fifth-ranked Eagan 7-4 midway through the season, Woodbury went 3-5 the rest of the way, including falling 9-1 to rival East Ridge in the opening round of the Section 4AAA playoffs. In all, Woodbury was 1-3 against the Raptors in year No. 1 and 2-0 against intra-district rival Park. The Royals also split its games with perennial power Cretin-Derham Hall in 2009-10.
McDermott said the teams to beat this year in the SEC are Cretin-Derham Hall, East Ridge, Stillwater, White Bear Lake and Forest Lake, adding, “pretty much everybody as the conference is going to be very strong this year.” He also said Cretin-Derham Hall, Stillwater, East Ridge and Hill-Murray will be tough in the section.
Last year, Stillwater won the conference and Section 4AAA titles with Cretin-Derham Hall finishing in second place in both regards.
Woodbury opens the season at home against Rosemount on April 6 and plays its conference opener at Woodbury against East Ridge on April 11. Other big games will be April 21 against Tartan at Midway Stadium, at Forest Lake on May 9 and against Cretin-Derham Hall on May 18 at Woodbury High School.