Head Coach Huber previews 2008 squad.
DCTC Baseball will launch the 2008 season with an annual spring trip to Florida on Mar. 9-16. The team is riding the crest of a school-record 2007 season that delivered 25 wins and a third consecutive Minnesota Community College Conference State Tournament playoff berth.
The Blue Knights will play their first game against Academia Baseball Canada in Cocoa, Florida, on Monday, Mar. 10, at 4 p.m. The team will play 12 games in Florida before traveling to Iowa for games against North Iowa Area Community College on March 20 and Des Moines Area Community College on March 21.
Brimming with experience, the team boasts 18 sophomores on the 2008 roster.
Two DCTC players—sophomore third baseman/pitcher Dillon Powell and sophomore pitcherDave Geiger—were selected by the NJCAA as pre-season All-Americans. Unfortunately, Powell suffered a season-ending arm injury in late February.
“The absence of Dillon will change things for us offensively and at third base,” stated Head Coach Tim Huber. “Hopefully, a few guys can step up and fill that void.”
Coach Huber welcomes a very deep and talented pitching staff in 2008. Dave Geiger (Como Park), 2007 NJCAA All-American and 2008 pre-season All-American, will lead the rotation.
Sophomores Andy Fitzgerald (Madison Area Technical College, St. Paul Johnson)and Justin Kohls (Watertown), along with freshman Marcus Fitzgerald (South St. Paul), will follow Geiger in the starting rotation.
Freshmen Jeremy Kruse (Northfield)and Brad Lawson (Belle Plaine), along with sophomoresWill Dahlgren (NIACC, Burnsville) and Travis Borowicz (River Falls, Wis.), will get early season starts and battle for one or two rotation spots.
Sophomores Ryan Kraft (Coon Rapids), Ben Schroeder (Concordia Academy, St. Paul), Jared Duske (Crown College, Mayer Lutheran), Mike Siegfried (Burnsville)and Jared Thies(Pipestone)will handle relief duties, along with freshmen Aaron Kackman (Bloomington Kennedy), Evan Lucius (Lakeville North), Ben Briesacher (Prior Lake, NDSU red shirt transfer) and Shane Hawkins (Farmington).
Sophomore Adam Stuessel (River Falls)will switch roles from utility and backup middle infielder to take Powell’s spot as starter at third base. Duske will also help cover third base.
Sophomore Chase Brown (Mankato West) will slide over to second base from his 2007 position at shortstop. Sophomore transfer Jay Stensgard (NIACC, Lewiston-Altura) will start at shortstop. Sophomore Billy Cook (St. Mary’s, Sleepy Eye) will back up Brown at second base.
As talented offensive players, Kackman and Lucius will switch off manning first base. Briesachercould also see time at first base.
As the lone returning outfielder, Ryan Valdez will take centerfield and bring defensive leadership to the group. The year will begin with Briesacher in left field and Dahlgren in right field. M. Fitzgerald will see time in right field as well. Freshman Ben Meyer (Medford, Wis.) is another outfielder vying for playing time.
Sophomore returnees Spencer Braun (Sauk Rapids) and Kyle Sovde (Apple Valley) will split time behind the plate in a catching position stoked with experience.
“Our pitching staff has some talent and we have a lot of arms this year,” commented Coach Huber. “I need to see consistency and strikes as we have struggled with that in practice.”
“We should be very strong up the middle with Valdez, Stensgard and Brown, who are all very talented defensively and should save quite a few runs for us,” Huber added. “We also have offensive depth through the lineup and hopefully that carries over into game situations.”
The Blue Knights play their home games at Alimagnet Park, a 178- acre community park in Burnsville. Winter and early spring practice sessions are held in the Irish Sports Dome, a premier indoor facility in Rosemount.
Head Coach Tim Huber enters his fourth year managing the team. Huber’s assistant coaches include pitching coach, Randy Briesacher, who’s also an associate scout with the Atlanta Braves, hitting and outfield coach, Jake Swartout, and volunteer assistant coach, Garrett Retka.