With only one senior on last year's team that finished with a 10-12 overall record, head coach Bill Dent is expecting a winning record from the Nevis baseball team this spring.
The Tigers are looking to improve on last year's 8-6 record for fourth place in the Northland Conference standings and get past the first round of the Section 5A playoffs after being eliminated with an 8-0 loss to Menahga in last spring's tournament opener.
Returning to lead the Tigers this spring are seniors Andrew Dudley and Dylan Hepokoski; juniors Jack DeWulf, Adam Thompson, Dillon McGee, Jack Landquist, Tucker Roehl and Sam Hitchcock; sophomore Ben Soldwisch; and freshmen Luke DeWulf, Shep Davis, Logan Funk, Wyatt Rech and Dan Mistic.
That group hit .323 as a team last season while scoring 158 runs. The pitching staff had a 4.18 team ERA, allowing 158 runs with 72 fielding errors leading to 79 unearned runs.
Offensively, the Tigers will be led by Jack Landquist (.462 average, 20 runs, 21 RBI in 22 games), Jack DeWulf (.434 average, 22 runs, 16 RBI, 16 stolen bases in 22 games), Luke DeWulf (.385 average, 14 runs, 15 RBI in 21 games), Thompson (.347 average, 21 runs, 13 stolen bases in 22 games), Dudley (.333 average, 17 runs, 12 RBI in 22 games), Mistic (.327 average, 12 runs in 22 games), Hitchcock (.264 average, 10 runs, 17 RBI in 22 games), McGee (.255 average, 13 runs, 11 RBI in 18 games) and Roehl (.213 average, 14 runs, nine RBI, 12 stolen bases in 22 games).
Returning on the mound are Dudley (4-4 record, 1.96 ERA in 35.2 innings and 11 appearances), Jack DeWulf (1-1 record, 4.20 ERA in 23.1 innings and eight appearances), Thompson (3-2 record, 4.33 ERA in 21 innings and eight appearances), Roehl (0-1 record, 6.18 ERA in 11.1 innings and six appearances) and McGee (0-0 record, 6.68 ERA in 7.1 innings and five appearances).
Rounding out this year's varsity roster are sophomore Michael Landquist; freshmen Kolby Hamblin and Ethan Tauber; and eighth grader Derek Lindow.
The infield will feature Jack Landquist at first base; Dudley and Davis at second base; Thompson, Jack DeWulf and Luke DeWulf at shortstop; Hitchcock and Dudley at third base; and Thompson, Luke DeWulf and Soldwisch at catcher. Playing the outfield will be Mistic and Roehl in left field, Jack DeWulf and Michael Landquist in center field, and McGee in right field. Soldwisch will also see time in the outfield.
Lindow will provide depth on the mound while Hamblin and Tauber will be reserve catchers and outfielders. Hepokoski and Funk will provide depth in the infield and outfield and Rech will be a reserve infielder.
Dent looks for defending champion Walker-Hackensack-Akeley to be the favorite in the conference with W-H-A joining defending champion Hinckley-Finlayson as the teams to beat in the section.
"We've got every starter returning, so I expect us to be a pretty good team," said Dent, who will be assisted by Alex White. "We're a veteran team with a a lot of depth. We've got good arms and we'll hit the ball and score runs. We've got to get better defensively, but I expect us to be a solid team by the end of the year."