St. Anthony baseball ready for bounce-back season

 

Since taking over back in 2002, St. Anthony Village High School baseball head coach Troy Urdahl has guided the Huskies to five state-tournament appearances and two championships. In that span, St. Anthony has had only two seasons with a losing record and one of them was last year.

St. Anthony opens the 2016 campaign this week and is looking to make sure that last year was just a once-in-a-decade thing. Not that they are fixated on last season.

“I don’t think that comes too much,” Urdahl said. “We try to focus on getting better every day and emphasize what we can control.”

Among those “controllables” are having fun, effort, being good teammates and attitude.

The attitude portion of that starts with the seniors. Nick Peterson, Joe Wehr and Andrew Webster are three of the Huskies’ five returning starters and will make up St. Anthony’s battery in many games again this season.

Peterson and Wehr are the top two pitchers on the team. Peterson posted a 1.70 earned-run average and Wehr racked up 31 strikeouts in 2015. When not on the mound, Peterson plays in center field and Wehr takes up residence at first base.

“We will look to Nick Peterson and Joe Wehr for leadership and as workhorses on the mound,” Urdahl said.

Webster is St. Anthony’s starting catcher and also plays some infield. He batted .408 last season.

Urdahl has a triumvirate of sophomores who should help fill some holes left by graduation. Nick Fredrickson and Nick Zezulka are outfielders and Aaron Smith in an infielder.

An overall lack of experience is something that the Huskies will have to overcome this spring.

“Many players will have had little to no previous varsity experience before 2016,” Urdahl added.

Despite finishing 11-12 overall in 2015, St. Anthony was still competitive in the Tri-Metro Conference. The Huskies finished second in the nine-team league, one game behind conference champion Holy Angels.

Urdahl expects the Stars to be strong again this season. They are ranked eighth in Class AAA in the preseason state rankings put out by Let’s Play Baseball Newspaper.

St. Anthony did not make the top 20 in Class AAA but did receive votes.

Alexandria begins the season ranked No. 1 in Class AAA and is followed by Rocori. Mahtomedi, Bemidji and Northfield round out the top five.

St. Anthony opens the regular season on April 6 with a game at St. Paul Highland Park. The Scots won the St. Paul City Conference title in 2015 but were one-and-done in the section playoffs.

The Huskies play three more non-conference games next week with Cambridge-Isanti and St. Paul Academy paying visits to Palm Field on April 11 and 12, respectively. St. Anthony visits Orono on April 15.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

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