Pirates open season in Fergus Falls
Getting simple things like a complete roster and time for practice with all the rain had Head Coach Evan Meece busy preparing the Perham Pirates for the upcoming baseball season.
"I hope to get this done before Sunday's game," Meece said.
Sunday's opener was in Fergus Falls against the Hurricanes at 1:45 p.m.
Final practices were scheduled for Friday and Saturday leading up to the opener. Meece planned to hammer out team details then.
"Our starting rotation took some hits with losses of two pitchers who called it quits after last season," he said. "We will be bringing back two mainstays in our rotation: Tyler Doll and Jonnie Schmitz, who look to be our one-two."
Anthony Ruther and Shane Miller will also be part of the pitching rotation.
The lineup will see some changes early in the season, as the team awaits college ballplayers to finish out their collegiate seasons.
"For the first few games, we will be without some starters," said Meece. "For Sunday's game, we probably won't know a lineup until we know who will all be there. We will have to play the first couple games by ear."
Upon return of those players and depending on who is pitching a projected lineup will look something like this, according to Meece.
C Sam Meyer
1B Beau Bruhn-Josh Hendrickx -Jake Kalina
2B Shane Miller-Josh Hendrickx-Tyler Lynne
3B Gavin Biegler
SS Tyler Doll - Shane Miller
LF Brad Ellingson
CF Ryan Enger
RF Anthony Ruther-Jonnie Schmitz-Taylor Ziemann -Taylor Doll
Many of these positions will depend on who is pitching, Meece said.
Meece expects to get some big games and some leadership out of his veteran players.
"Tyler Doll and Ryan Enger have been mainstays in the Pirates lineup and expect to contribute greatly this year," he said. "The return of Brad Ellingson, who missed all of last year with a wrist injury, will add a lot of pop and leadership to our lineup."
Meece has high expectations for the upcoming season.
"The additions of a few college players like Ruth and Biegler will help to make up for the loss of some players who left after last season," he said.
"The pitching rotation looks to be a solid contributor to the team. We hope to build off the disappointment of last season's early exit in the Hi-10 playoffs and advance into the region tournament and beyond this year. The depth of our lineup and the veteran presence in the rotation will help to make this season a success."
Fergus Falls Hurricanes 8 Perham Pirates 2
The Pirates opened their season at Fergus Falls scoring a single run in the first and last innings, eventually dropping the contest 8-2 at Legion Field.
"It's tough to take a loss, but I was happy with the team and the quality of many of the at-bats," Meece said.
Shane Miller and Ryan Enger scored for the Pirates who were held in check by 'Canes starting pitcher Casey Kowalski. Kowalski pitched six solid innings giving up only five hits, striking out six and walking three.
"It definitely wasn't the start we were looking for," said Meece. "It's always tough to get going with the first game and it never helps having to face a solid Fergus Falls team right out of the shoot.
Fergus Falls brought out one of the best pitchers we will probably see this year and we put up quite a few good at-bats. It was good for the guys to get out there and get some at-bats in against some quality competition."
Kowalski also helped himself in the field gunning down Jonnie Schmitz trying to score on a suicide bunt attempt off the bat of Enger.
The bunt came off Enger's bat with backspin and skidded right into the glove of Kowalski. His throw had Schmitz dead to rights by two steps stranding two runners and killing the mid-game Pirate rally.
The Hurricanes put up runs against all three Pirate pitchers.
Tyler Doll started the game pitching four innings giving up four runs. He fanned five, walked three and allowed four hits.
Schmitz came on in relief pitching the next three innings. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, retired the side in order in the sixth, before allowing two runs in the seventh inning. He struck out two, walked six and gave up only one base hit.
Enger pitched the eighth giving up two unearned runs on an error in right field. He struck out two and hit one batter.
Enger and Ellingson led all Pirate hitters with two hits each. Ellingson doubled Enger to the plate in the eighth.
The Pirates stay on the road for the second game of the season. They will play at Pelican Rapids Sunday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m.
Perham at Fergus Falls, Legion Field, Sunday, May 9.
PER 100 000 010 - 2 6 2
FF 004 000 22X - 8 6 2
Other Area Scores:
Wadena-Deer Creek 10 Dent Bulldogs 0
Detroit Lakes 11 Hawley 3
Dent Wildcats 3 Bertha 1
Bluffton Braves 5 Pelican Rapids 1
Vergas 9 New York Mills 3
Hi-10 the standings
Detroit Lakes 1-0
Dent Bulldogs 0-1
New York Mills 0-1
Fergus Falls 1-0