By Tyler Ohmann
Conference first-team senior Nathan Psyck leads a group of seven seniors that are expected to lead the Royalton baseball team.
“My number one goal is to always contend for the Prairie Conference, and last year we were in the running up until the last week or two of the season,” said Royals head coach Aaron Meier. “Another thing I’m always looking for is to be playing our best baseball around mid-May.”
A 7-12 team a year ago, the Royals hope that All-Section shortstop Michael Petron and starters Caleb Smieja, Austin Zapzalka, Ryan Fussy, Randale Fernelius and Thomas Fountain, will improve that.
“Three of our seniors started as freshmen when we made the state tournament, and another three of the seniors are three-year starters,” Meier said. “These guys have played a lot of varsity baseball. However, experience doesn’t always equal wins. We’ll have to be ready to play.”
Meier expects players like juniors Adam Olson and Brock Snyder to make the jump from JV and see varsity time this year. Others that should compete for varsity time include sophomores Gavin Suska, Zach Gottwalt, Noah Ellerbusch and Nathan Popp.
Meier expects defense to be coupled with experience to be strengths for the Royals. He believes that base running could need improvement, along with minimizing other mistakes.
“I think you could say all of the six teams have a shot at winning the conference,” Meier said. “Each and every team has some quality returners.”
Royalton opens the season, April 4 at home against Holdingford.