Trojans blank Hopkins, EP
Going into the 2017 high school baseball season, Wayzata’s main concern was pitching.
That’s understandable since the defending state champions graduated one of the best pitchers in school history, Thomas Skoro, as well as their starting catcher and clutch relief pitcher, Jake Marsh.
Luckily, the Wayzata baseball program is seldom short on pitching, and the first two games this season are an indication. After blanking Hopkins 4-0 in the season opener April 11, the Trojans added a 3-0 win over Eden Prairie two days later. In both games, head coach Bobby DeWitt split the pitching duties with similar results.
Against Hopkins, senior righthanders Will Oberg and Matthew Bohlke combined on a three-hitter, while striking out 11 and walking two.
“We look for those two to do a lot of pitching,” said DeWitt.
In the Eden Prairie game, senior righthander Matthew Urke started on the mound and went three innings before handing the ball to senior lefty Alec Lonson, who pitched the final four frames.
“It was Matthew’s first varsity start,” said DeWitt. “We talked about location mostly. As the game went on, he gave up some hits, but they were spread out. His curve has a nice break to it, and it is also a change of speed off his fastball. Alec gave up one hit and struck out three. He was able to throw his off-speed stuff when he was behind in the count.”
While Wayzata’s pitching and defense were superb in the two wins last week, the hitters also showed a spark.
“We have Charles Engdahl, Danny Deis and Will [Oberg] at the top of the lineup, and they set the tone,” said DeWitt. “Charles is really dangerous on the bases. He beat a tag in the Hopkins game.”
Engdahl also scored the winning run in the top of the first against Eden Prairie. He walked and moved from first to third on a pick-off attempt that eluded the first baseman. Then he scored on a single by Deis.
In the Hopkins game, Wayzata was hot in the first inning with Oberg and Tony Musser hitting doubles.
Even though the Trojans lost a lot of talent from last year’s state championship team, it looks as if they’re reloading more than rebuilding this spring.
The performance of the pitching staff has been encouraging thus far, and if the pitchers continue to throw strikes, the Trojans will win a lot of games.
There are plenty of coaches in the Wayzata system with a successful history of working with pitchers, including DeWitt, Mark Elias, Adam Goethke and Pat Berger. Terry Steinbach, the former Oakland A’s and Twins catcher, is valuable in his role as a mentor to the pitchers and catchers.
“Terry teaches our guys how to set up hitters,” said DeWitt.
Wayzata’s next outing will be a Lake Conference game against the Edina Hornets at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Wayzata’s Central Middle School Field. The Hornets are a veteran team, led by seniors Brock Boltmann and Jimmy Connell.
Contact John Sherman at [email protected]