Waconia Lakers hot in early season

The Waconia Lakers amateur baseball team is off to a hot start for the 2013 season, already sitting at 9-1. The Lakers currently lead the North Division of the Crow River Valley League with a spotless 7-0 record.

This season, the Lakers have already picked up wins over Glencoe (twice), Norwood, Winsted, St. Boni, Chaska, Cologne, and Mayer.

Jeremy Salden said the first month has gone as the Lakers predicted.

“It was somewhat expected as we started out with a lot of home games and a soft league schedule,” he said. “The 10-0 win versus Winsted and the 3-1 win at Chaska were quality wins. Both of those games we won due to great pitching and solid defense.”

So far this season, the team holds a .314 batting average and is typically giving up less than two runs each game. Laker newcomer Evan Buhr has burst onto the pitching scene with three starts and three wins so far this season, having given up only two earned runs in 17 innings pitched, complimented by 14 strikeouts. He currently holds an ERA of 1.06. Buhr is a former pitcher for Winona State.

Laker veteran Ronnie Olson is the Lakers’ breakout batter so far this season, going 14-32 at the plate and collecting four doubles, 12 RBIs, and scoring eight runs. Olson has a team-high batting average of .438 and an on base percentage of .538 so far this season. Nick Litfin, Dan Butz, Peter Brown, and Tom Lyons are all batting over .350 this season.

While most of the Laker roster may look the same from seasons past, there are some new faces on the bench as well. Picked up from the Waconia High School varsity team, Josh Lenz and Nick Hukriede both will sport Laker jerseys this summer. In addition to Buhr, Kodey Simon also joins the Laker pitching staff from the Winona State roster. Simon, who has mostly played center field this season, is burning up the batter’s box going 9-26 with a handful of doubles.

Another new face for the Lakers’ bullpen is Ryan Naughton. Naughton pitched for the University of St. Thomas and won his only start of the season thus far, with one earned run on eight hits in 12 innings. Naughton is holding on to a 0.75 ERA.

Missing from this season’s roster are pitchers Dalton Sawyer (currently playing for the U of M) and Cole Hytjan.

In the CRVL, Salden said Winsted and Watertown are the teams to beat in Waconia’s North division, while Green Isle continues to have a target on its back in the South.

“Young America and Watertown have gotten off to good starts this year, so we will have to watch out for them,” Salden said.

Last Friday night, June 7, the Lakers took down the defending Class B state champion Victoria Vics in an 11-9 win for Waconia. The Lakers suffered their first loss of the season Saturday, June 8, falling in a close 4-3 contest at New Germany.

At Victoria, the Lakers held on to a 11-5 lead after seven innings of play, and although Victoria put up four runs in the final two innings, it wasn’t enough to overcome Waconia. The Lakers scored 11 runs on 10 hits with one error, over Victoria’s nine runs in 11 hits and four defensive errors.

Chris Bullis earned the win by throwing all nine innings for Waconia, giving up nine earned runs on 11 hits. He struck out two and walked four.

At the plate, Salden was 3-6 with two singles, a home run, and three RBIs. Bullis and Butz were both 2-5. Bullis knocked in four RBIs, while Butz had three.

Sunday’s New Germany loss went to Waconia pitcher Josh Lenz, who gave up four earned runs on four hits in his seven innings on the mound. He walked seven, but struck out six.

Kevin Bullis led the Laker offense by hitting 3-4. Smothers was 2-3, while Butz, Salden, Simon, and Olson all picked up a hit.

The Lakers will next host Green Isle this Friday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to Watertown for a Sunday afternoon game. Waconia will return to host the Carver on June 19 at 7:30.

For the Lakers full schedule, visit www.ballcharts.com/WaconiaLakers

Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]