Spring sports teams, stuck in the gym, hope for warmer weatherSilver Bay track, Silver Bay softball, Two Harbors softball and Silver Bay baseball prepare for the spring season in the gym.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
SILVER BAY TRACK
The Silver Bay track and field team is returning from a record-breaking season and rebuilding with a young squad this year.
Head Coach Rick Frericks said the boys had their best season in 40 years last spring. Nine seniors led the team and their loss will certainly be felt.
“That made a big difference for the success of the team,” he said.
This year, three seniors are out for the boys’ squad, including Mark Harris, Dexter Yoki and Kyle Blood. Blood has gone to the state tournament the past two years in the 800-meter run and finished 7th overall last year.
On the girls’ side, junior Abby Michels is returning from a strong season. She placed in the top three in the 100-meter dash and the 400-meter run in the Section 7A Championships. Frericks said the team will lean on her leadership as a captain. Blood is the captain for the boys’ side.
SILVER BAY SOFTBALL
Though the snow outside says otherwise, the softball season has officially started. Last week, Silver Bay Head Coach Mike Guzzo had the field ready for his team’s practice, but last weekend’s storm put the girls back in the gym.
If the weather allows, their first game will be against Two Harbors at the Silver Bay fields next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
The girls are coming off of a successful 17-8 season and Guzzo said he hopes they’ll be contenders in the section this year. They finished third in Section 7A last year. They return just four starters from that squad.
“We will be a work in progress as the season goes,” he said.
Three experienced senior girls will anchor the team on the field: Rebecca Dilley as left field/shortstop, Kaelyn Lenski at first base and Jackie Larson at second base. Junior Phoenix Lillis is the fourth returning starter, and she’ll be the experienced pitcher. She also plays shortstop.
Guzzo said the girls have been focusing on pitching and catching drills in their preseason workouts and he’s almost solidified the rest of the starting lineup in their few practices on the field. Most of the remaining starters are sophomores.
Emma Bemlott will be on the pitchers’ mound this season with Ally Kloster behind the plate, Allison Morris will be at third and Sydney Topp will play first base and outfield. Eighth-grader Brooke McMillen is the youngest starter on the team; she’ll play centerfield.
“We hope to rebuild and contend in Section 7A again this year,” Guzzo said.
TWO HARBORS SOFTBALL
Julie Benson, longtime softball coach, stepped down last season and Chris Lemke took over her position. He has a tough act to follow: the girls finished with a 17-5 record last year, the best ever for the team. They were runner-ups for the conference title.
“Long-standing coach Julie Benson did a great job leading this seasoned group of athletes and she will be missed,” Lemke said.
Four starters graduated last year, and Lemke said their presence will also be missed.
“All four were major contributors and some of the very best players in the Polar League,” Lemke said.
The new squad hasn’t had much time on the field this year thanks to uncooperative weather, but Lemke said there are four experienced players returning this year on whom they’ll be relying heavily.
Seniors Savannah Juuenemann, pitcher, and Jenny Grignon, outfield, are the captains for the squad this year. Lemke said seniors Molly O’Meara, first base, and Abby Cable, third base, will help keep the team competitive this year. Cable didn’t play last year due to an ACL injury but she’s healthy this season.
New assistant coaches Luke Heikkila and Mike McGrath will be on hand to help Lemke in his first year as the head coach.
SILVER BAY BASEBALL
With a small squad this year, the Silver Bay baseball team hopes to improve every day and remain competitive.
Their record last year was 5-11, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, said Head Coach Shawn Bartlette. They defeated the Two Harbors squad which went on to finish the season as the Polar League Conference champions.
“(We had) some other nice victories, but we were not able to string together enough wins to contend in the conference or section,” Bartlette said.
The ten-player squad has just one senior this year, so Bartlette hopes the young players can step it up. Senior Brock LeBlanc will play in the outfield and five others will return as starters this year: Junior Luke Small will play short stop, junior Jonah Koehler will be at second, with junior Chad Smuk at first base, ninth-grader Nathan Bauck at third and junior Mike Klofstad in the outfield.
Bartlette also expects to rely on Zach Duresky, junior pitcher, for leadership.
“We expect to get better every game,” Bartlette said.