Eau Claire (WQOW) — For three consecutive seasons, the Eau Claire North baseball team has won a conference championship and also advanced to the division one state tournament. But coming into 2019, the Huskies lose six all-conference players and enter with a little more uncertainty.
North does though return a pair of first-team all-conference players in senior’s Sam Stange and Carter Hesselman. Then mix in a talented group of youngsters, and the Huskies full expect to be right in the mix for another big rivers title.
“We’re lucky to have quite a few seniors this year,” says Stange. “Not everyone has varsity experience yet, so it’s a little different in that way. But I think everybody who’s been here, and even the kids who haven’t stay focused.”
“We’re going to stick with a short-term goal approach, and let these guys work on little facets of their game right now,” says head coach Robert Johnson. “That hopefully will allow us to improve, and become a more polished product as we get closer to May.”
With seven starters gone from last season, that leaves some holes to be filled all over the field for 2019. One position in particular that the Huskies need to figure out, the pitching staff. They do return a trio of players with experience in Hesselmen, Stange, and Logan Rasmussen, but after those three seniors they’re looking for young players to step-up. And when it comes to taking the mound, their’s one thing in particular that Johnson is looking for.
“Once again, I think the common theme is going to be consistency,” says Johnson. “We had a few walks early in the game that came back to bite us, some control issues. We have eight arms, so we’ll continue to rep guys and give people opportunities to see what we have.”
“Guys who can back-up our pitchers and that can give us a lot of good innings on the mound will help us out later in the year too,” Hesselman says. “Just the overall experience as a team is going to be one of the major things we need to take care of earlier this season.”
The Huskies are back in action on Saturday, April 20th. They’ll travel to take on D.C. Everest for a doubleheader at 11 a.m.