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Stigman takes over for the Pirates

The 2016 baseball season will usher in a new era for the Perham Pirates. Ryan Stigman takes over the reins as manager when they kick off the new season with perennial power. Stigman played amateur baseball for Wadena and Bluffton for 20 years, be...

The 2016 baseball season will usher in a new era for the Perham Pirates.

Ryan Stigman takes over the reins as manager when they kick off the new season with perennial power.

Stigman played amateur baseball for Wadena and Bluffton for 20 years, before retiring. Recently, he has spent time in the stands watching his son Jack Stigman and his son-in-law play as well.

"I'm going to be there watching the games, so I might as well be participating," Ryan Stigman said. "Hopefully, they have some fun and have a good season."

The Pirates feature some familiar faces to Yellowjacket baseball fans when it comes to the new players for 2016. Mason Malikowski, Dylan Kruzel, Joe Solberg and Nathan Currier are among some of the new faces to the team in 2016.

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"We have a nice mix of some younger kids and dedicated veterans," Stigman said. "That's one thing I'm hoping is to get some of the younger guys involved because they haven't had a lot of following with the younger kids. I'm excited to see some of those guys come out, mix them in the lineup and see if they can help us. Overall, I want everyone to have a fun season, hopefully win some ballgames and make a run at the playoffs."

Several familiar faces return to the Pirates as well. Jack Stigman is back and expected to help a veteran pitching staff. Gavin Biegler returns as well.

Eric Hendrickx, Chris Ruther, J.T. Laughlin and Gabe Pankonin are returning to the Pirates.

The Pirates hope to put the pressure on opposing team's defenses with the youth movement. The Pirates feature several speedsters that could provide a spark for the offense.

"With our youth, we are going to have a lot of speed. We do have some veterans that can hit the ball pretty well. Hopefully, some of the younger guys can hit the ball too." Stigman said. "The key will be pitching. We have some good pitching and that will help us. Our speed and our pitching that will be the two things (that will be key for us)."

It's a unique opportunity for Stigman to return to the game. He said he misses the game, when he sits in the stands watching.

"I miss being on the field. Obviously, I'm getting a little old for playing, but it will be neat to get involved again," Stigman said. "Hopefully, I can bring some of the dedication back and some of the fun. It will be fun for me to get back on the field and put on a uniform again. I kind of miss that; it has been about 15 years since I have played."

Stigman said they have a good nucleus of players for this season.

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"Everyone is excited about the optimism about how it's going to go," Stigman said. "The veterans seem excited about it too, which is good. I don't want them to think they are not viable parts of the team anymore, because they definitely are. We need their leadership. I have seen a lot of excitement in them and I'm happy to see that. I hope they welcome (the new guys) with open arms, come together and play as a team."

Weather has forced the cancellation of the season opener with the Midway Snurdbirds. The Pirates open the season with New York Mills at New York Mills at 7:30 p.m.

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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