By PATRICK SLACK
Pierz brings back a deep senior class with a wealth of experience on the mound and in the lineup this spring.
And the Pioneers will need it, as they go up against a rigorous slate of opponents in the Central Minnesota Conference (CMC) while also competing in one of the toughest sections in the state.
Leading Pierz will be seniors Cody Weiss and Ben Boser, as well as returning senior starters Brady Dorn (pitcher/infield), Brad Meyer (pitcher/catcher/infield), Nick Lochner (catcher/infield), Cody Nordmann (pitcher/outfield) and Jon Fuhrman (pitcher/infield).
Weiss hit .481 last year and posted a 5-1 record with a 2.00 ERA on the mound, while Boser hit .385 with a 1-1 record and 3.33 ERA.
Looking to step in and challenge for playing time are juniors Nathan Athman (pitcher/outfield), Mackenzie Gruber (pitcher/infield), Chris Ortman (infield) and Dylan Luschen (infield).
“We have high expectations for our team this year,” Pierz head coach Dan Saehr said. “The coaching staff feels very fortunate to have a lot of experience returning. Four of our seniors have started for three years now and three other seniors have started for two years.”
“We have some pitching and hitting leaders coming back from last year’s team,” he said. “We played really good ball at times last year, but didn’t end the season the way we were hoping with a loss to eventual section runner-up Albany in the first round of sections.”
Graduating from last year’s team were Logan Meyer, Brad Trapp and Trent Davis.
Seniors on this year’s team include Boser, Meyer, Weiss, Dorn, Lochner, Nordmann, Fuhrman and Troy Stich.
Saehr expects defending champion Maple Lake to enter as the favorite in the CMC, with several others in the mix, preparing the Pioneers for their challenging section.
“The section will once again be very tough from top to bottom,” Saehr said. “I believe our section is as tough as any section in AA, as we continue to produce state-ranked teams from year to year.”
“Little Falls, St. Cloud Cathederal, Paynesville and Albany will probably be the favorites in our section, but there are a number of other teams that are very solid as well,” he said. “We are looking forward to a fun year of baseball at all levels. The kids are all very coachable and have great passion for the game.”