By Melissa Marohl, Sports Writer
It was a short season for the Waconia baseball team, a season that ended in the first round of sections with a 1-0 loss to Mankato West on May 26.
The Wildcats finished the season 12-7 overall and 11-6 in conference play (fourth). Holy Family won the conference with a 16-2 conference record, followed by Delano and Hutchinson tied for second at 12-6.
Waconia’s biggest streak came April 27-May 14, winning seven straight games against Dassel-Cokato, Litchfield, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Hutchinson, Mound-Westonka, Orono, and Dassel-Cokato.
Throughout the season, Daniel Butz, Dalton Sawyer, and Tommy Gove led the Wildcats at the plate, all batting over .300. Butz and Sawyer finished the season tied for the team’s highest average at .348. Butz was 24-69 at the plate, with 19 singles and five doubles. Sawyer was also 24-69, but with 11 singles, eight doubles, three triples, and two home runs.
Gove completed his sophomore season with the Wildcats batting 15-44 with 13 singles and two doubles. Other strong contributors to the Wildcats’ offense included Cole Hanson (15-52) and Charlie Klos (17-61).
Sawyer led the RBI leaderboard with 20 runs batted in throughout the year. Klos and Alex Schmitt both had 14 RBIs.
Butz was the team’s top scorer, crossing the plate 20 times. Klos scored 16 times during the season, followed by Sawyer (14), Gove (12), Hanson (12), and Brian Porter (9).
With a strong bullpen, the Wildcats collected many wins this season from Sawyer (6), Dylan Lindner (2), Butz (2), Brandon Gonzalaz (1), and Josh Lenz (1). Butz and Lindner were each credited with one save as well.
Opponents struck out 125 times against the Wildcat pitching lineup, led by Sawyer with 77 strikouts. Lenz was also in double digits with 23 strikeouts, followed by Butz (9), Lindner (7), Gonzalaz (6), and Cody Tucker (3).
Sawyer had the team’s lowest earned run average at 1.04. Gonzalaz held an ERA of 2.83, followed by Lindner (3.13) and Butz (3.17).
The Wildcats will return much of the same team next season, with the exception of this year’s graduating seniors: Logan Baumann, Klos, Sawyer, and Schmitt.
Butz, Klos, and Sawyer all received All-Conference honors this season, while Gove and Schmitt were All-Conference Honorable Mention.