Baseball: Replacing starting pitchers will be key to success for Nevis

The Tigers look to repeat as the Northland Conference champions and contend for the Section 5A title.

Senior shortstop Dawson McGee returns to lead the Nevis baseball team for the 2023 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

How much success the Nevis baseball team has this spring will depend on the ability to rebuild the pitching staff.

The Tigers graduated their best pitchers from last year’s team that repeated as Northland Conference champions with a 12-1 record while going 16-3 overall.

Tyler Lindow, Ward Davis and Cain Mitchell handled the vast majority of the pitching duties last season, combining to go 15-3 on the mound. Lindow went 7-1 with a 1.96 ERA as the conference’s Cy Young winner, Davis went 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA and Mitchell posted a 3-0 record with a 2.73 ERA.

Those three also led the offense. Mitchell batted .426 (23 for 54) with 21 runs scored, 19 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 19 games as the starter in center field to earn the Northland’s MVP award. Lindow hit .333 (15 for 45) with a team-leading 25 steals and 22 runs along with 10 RBI in 18 games as the starter at second base. Davis batted .302 (13 for 43) with 21 runs, 15 steals and 13 RBI in 19 games as the starter at first base. All three earned all-conference honors while Mitchell and Lindow were Section 5A selections. Mitchell was also an all-state player.

The other starter who graduated was Ian Ahrendt, who hit .271 (13 for 48) with 17 runs, 15 steals and 11 RBI in 19 games at third base. Ahrendt earned all-conference honorable mention honors.


Returning to lead the Tigers this spring are the other five starters: seniors Ethan Klimek and Dawson McGee, junior Austin Ahrendt, and sophomores Eli Klimek and Devan Lindow. All five received all-conference honorable mention honors last season.

Eli Klimek returns as the starting catcher after batting .421 (24 for 57) with a team-leading 22 RBI while adding 13 runs and 10 stolen bases in 19 games last season. Austin Ahrendt started in left field and batted .306 (11 for 36) with 13 runs, 11 RBI and seven steals in 18 games. Devan Lindow will play second base full time after hitting .303 (10 for 33) with 13 runs, 11 RBI and eight steals in 16 games. McGee is back as the Tigers’ starting shortstop after posting a .283 average (17 for 60) with 22 runs, 20 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 19 games. Ethan Klimek is back in right field and center field after batting .233 (10 for 43) with 20 runs, 14 steals and seven RBI in 19 games. McGee and Ethan Klimek will serve as captains.

That group helped the Tigers average 9.4 runs a game while allowing 3.1 runs a game. Nevis had a .313 team batting average and a team ERA of 2.70 while posting five shutouts.

Looking to fill the other starting spots will be juniors Christian Moe (an outfielder who lettered at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley last season), Ramsey Fisher (second base), Sam Ganley (outfield) and Nolan Simkins (outfield); sophomores Marshall Kalm (third base), Eli LIndow (first base), Bennett Mitchell (third base, first base), Will Gagnon (infield), Caleb Norton (first base) and Dawson Cowfer (outfield, third base); and freshmen Elliot Harris (outfield) and Payton Durgin (outfield).

McGee returns with the most pitching experience after going 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 5 ⅔ innings last spring. Kalm, Eli Lindow, Devan Lindow and Eli Klimek combined to throw 9 ⅓ innings last spring. Mitchell, Moe and Gagnon will also be counted on to throw innings this season.

After winning the conference title, the Tigers received the No. 1 seed in the West for the Section 5A tournament. Nevis defeated Sebeka 6-5 before being eliminated with a 9-5 loss to Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale (which won the section title) and a 6-3 loss to Braham.

Head coach Larry Franck, who was named the Northland Conference Coach of the Year, is hoping his team can repeat as conference champs and advance further in the playoffs this season.

“We will do our best to stay in the upper third of the conference. Pine River-Backus, Lake of the Woods and Blackduck will be a lot better this year. PR-B, Sebeka and Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale should all be tough on our side of the section. Hinckley-Finlayson and Braham are always good on the other half of the section,” said Franck. “We are going to be a very athletic team and we will be aggressive on the bases. I really like our outfield with good speed and tracking ability. The infield will be younger. The key to this year will be our pitching. We need to throw strikes and let our defense do the work.”


1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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