Fresh faces look to baseball team’s returners for leadership in 2016 season
After a cancellation early last week at Iowa, the Duhawks opened their varsity baseball season Saturday, March 5, falling to Mount Mercy with a score of 3-2. Head baseball coach Carl Tebon dubbed it “a good game to get under our belt” and pointed out that it’s hard to win a game with three hits.
The Duhawks had picked up the game against the Mustangs last minute in order to round out their schedule with a full 40 games. Despite the loss, the men were able to finally play outside after five weeks of indoor practices that were rather “stale.” The game then provided some great insight into what the team needed to work on in order to be successful and take on the season to come.
“(I’m looking forward to) the first couple games of the year. You get a feel for your team in the first four games; you really get a good idea of what you have,” said Tebon.
And what they have is a lot of guys, many of them underclassmen, that just want to play. The 2016 program rosters 49 men with roughly 30 dressing for varsity.
“We’re young; we got a young team this year but with some experience…we also have some good leadership,” said Tebon, who is starting on his 21st year of “drinking the purple Kool-Aid.”
Having graduated 21 seniors in the last two years, the Duhawks look to the few returning veterans to step up in terms of leadership this year, especially with it being the kickoff of the new JV program.
This spring the Duhawks will lean on returning seniors Lucas Jacque from his station behind the plate, Alex Steines from the mound and Pat Walsch as a utility to really commandeer where the team is headed. Steines especially, as the current top pitcher, will face the tougher matchups throughout the season.
“He’ll have to play a big role in it this spring for us,” said Tebon.
Other players to keep an eye on as they see more innings are sophomores Ryan Koester and Danny Weis and juniors Tommy Johnson and Nolan Ritter.
“There’s a core group of guys that really need to help us out position-player-wise,” said Tebon.
The Duhawks next travel to Jacksonville, IL, this weekend to take on two double-headers: first facing University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Elmhurst on Saturday and Northland and MSOE on Sunday.