By PATRICK SLACK
The Royalton baseball team has been hampered by injuries for the past two seasons.
The Royals hope to avoid that this year while fielding a young roster in the deep Prairie Conference.
Leading Royalton into the spring will be a cast of five returning starters, including seniors Steve Hoff (pitcher/shortstop), Tyler Sieben (outfield/pitcher) and Jeremy Grittner (outfield), junior Noah Farrell (outfield) and sophomore Cade Stang (infield/pitcher).
“We have been hit hard the last two years by injuries and we are hoping to avoid that this year,” Royalton head coach Rusty Gwost said. “We will be young and lack experience in some key areas, so we will need to grow up quickly.”
The early part of the schedule will be very challenging, Gwost said, but if the team continues competing hard through it, the Royals should be capable of pushing some of the top teams in the playoffs.
To do so, the Royals will need to be patient as they “go through the rollercoaster ride of emotions that go with early season baseball,” Gwost said.
Graduating from last year’s team were Nick Block, Zach Lanners, Zach Silbernick and Brian Schlichting.
Competing to fill those holes will be senior Brandon Lattimer, juniors Lucas Snyder, Corey Popp and Matt Silbernick, sophomores Eric Skajewski and Brad Woidylla and freshmen Jordan Smieja and Brady Moulzolf.
Royalton opens the season at Hancock, Tuesday, and hosts Foley, Thursday.