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2013 Spring Preview: Royals' veteran group returns in hope of improving on 9-13 record

Senior Ryan Winter returns to help lead the Royals baseball team this spring.

Woodbury returns a veteran group this season following a strong postseason run that included a first round upset of 13th-ranked Mahtomedi.

Despite graduating 11 seniors from last year's 9-13 team, the Royals remain confident on improving this season.

"We have a veteran group with a lot of seniors," fifth-year head coach Kevin McDermott said. "I am hopeful we will compete hard and have a chance in a lot of games."

Senior right fielder and pitcher Sawyer Moon headlines the cast of returners after finishing second on the team with a .345 average.

The Royals will have to deal with the loss of leading run producers in Ryan Fritze and Ben Roxroth. Rexroth led the team with 14 RBI and Fritze finished second with 12.

The pitching staff, which finished with a team ERA of 3.18 in the regular season, will have to regroup after graduating Noah Danner. Danner led the team with a 4-1 record and threw two shutouts to finish with a 3.35 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. Steven Fingleton had two wins with a .45 ERA in 33 2/3 innings. Nathan Wallgren (2-1 4.96 ERA), Brandon Mazur (1-5 3.68 ERA) and Moon will pick up the slack on the mound. All three saw time last season and Mazur finished third on the team in innings pitched. Wallgren threw 18 1/3 innings and Moon threw two innings.

Woodbury relied on that pitching staff last season but struggled offensively at times. The Royals averaged 3.8 runs per game last season and lost five games by one run. Woodbury hit .254 as a team, slugged .338 and had a .344 on-base percentage.

"I think we might have a chance to be better offensively this year and hope we have enough pitching depth to make it through each week," McDermott said.

The Royals ended the season with a 7-2 loss to 19th-ranked Mounds View in the quarterfinals of the Section 4AAA tournament. Six players from that team return including second baseman Ryan Scanlon, shortstop Quinten Strub, outfielder Ryan Winter and third baseman Josh Sharp. Other returners include first baseman and pitcher Ben Meyer and outfielder and pitcher Nick Yan. Scanlon hit .256 with nine RBI and Strub hit .250 with five RBI.

Cretin-Derham Hall, Forest Lake and Stillwater are expected to vie for the conference title this season.

Woodbury is scheduled to begin the season April 9 against Rosemount in Woodbury.