Irondale baseball looking for breakout season

Victories were hard to come by for the Irondale High School baseball team last season. That team was young and is ready for a bounce-back in 2016.

Irondale returns five starters, including its entire infield, who are ready to lead the team into its second season in the Northwest Suburban Conference.

“Our expectations are high this year,” said first-year head coach Noah Nesler. “Although we didn’t have a lot of on-field success last year, we were a young team setting a good base for our future.”

Nesler, who spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach at Irondale and has coached the Tri-City Maroon American Legion baseball team since its inception, wants his team to create an identity.

“Our main goal is to refocus and find our identity early,” said Nesler, who replaced Brian Peloquin as Irondale’s head coach. “With a couple of recent down years, our expectation is to be relevant in one of the top conferences in the state.”

The Northwest Suburban Conference consists of 14 schools and nine of them posted winning records last season. Totino-Grace won the conference title by a game over runners-up Maple Grove and Centennial.

“Our conference is one of the top conferences in the state,” said Nesler. “There are many talented teams. Perennial top performers like Maple Grove, Coon Rapids and Centennial will be very competitive this year.”

Irondale won just one conference game a year ago but returning senior starters such as Chase Drill (catcher), Nate Ostlund (pitcher, first base), Jordan Brenny (second base) and Ryan Schicker (shortstop) are back trying to change that result this season.

“They all complement each other very well and will create a dynamic top of our lineup,” Nesler said.

Newcomers expected to contribute this spring include seniors Wyatt Smith and Perry Scamehorn and junior Luke Janecek.

Nesler sees Irondale’s strength lying in its defense while the pitching staff is a question mark.

“We pride ourselves in our ability to make plays in the field,” Nesler said. “Our pitching is our biggest unknown at this point. We have a lot of talented pitchers who will see the field but with little varsity experience. We are confident they will be able to perform at this level.”

Irondale opened the season with a 2-1 victory over Waconia on April 5. Ostlund picked up the complete-game victory by giving up one run on six hits and striking out five. Smith led the offense with three hits, including a double.

The Knights were also scheduled to host Park Center in their Northwest Suburban Conference opener on April 8 but that game was postponed until April 11.

The Knights play their first five and 10 of their first 12 games at home and are on the road for seven of their last eight games. On the docket this week are conference games against Park Center, Totino-Grace and Blaine and a non-conference match-up against St. Francis. All four games are at home.

 

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

 

Class AAAA baseball preseason rankings

1 — Chanhassen

2 — Eden Prairie

3 — Minnetonka

4 — Lakeville North

5 — Mounds View

6 — Wayzata

7 — Maple Grove

8 — Anoka

9 — Prior Lake

10 — Chaska

11 — St. Michael-Albertville

12 — Centennial

13 — Grand Rapids

14 — Totino-Grace

15 — Robbinsdale Armstrong

16 — Champlin Park

17 — Cretin-Derham Hall

18 — Stillwater

19 — Shakopee

20 — Blaine

 

Also receiving votes: Burnsville, Edina, Eastview, Hopkins, Forest Lake, Woodbury, Bloomington Jefferson, Apple Valley, Elk River, North St. Paul, Farmington, Coon Rapids, Cambridge-Isanti, Moorhead, Eagan, Brainerd, Rochester Century.

2016 Mounds View High School
Baseball schedule

April 14

April 15

April 19

April 20

April 23

April 26

April 27

April 30

May 3

May 5

May 7

May 10

May 11

May 13

May 17

May 19

May 25

vs. Blaine

vs. St. Francis

at Park Center

at Andover

vs. Bloomington Jefferson

vs. Spring Lake Park

vs. Osseo

vs. Maple Grove

vs. Coon Rapids

at Centennial 

at Mounds View

vs. Robbinsdale Armstrong

at Anoka

at Rogers

at Elk River

at Champlin Park

at North Branch

4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

2 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

1 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

1 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

7 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

5 p.m.

7 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here