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Wolverines anxious to move up in Mid-State Conference pack

Photo by Brian Hansel Wadena-Deer Creek Baseball Coach Kyle Dykhoff gives his new players some bunting tips.

Kyle Dykhoff and his Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines are going after the Mid-State Conference crown this spring.

Coming off a third place finish in the Mid-State the Wolverines are in striking distance of defending conference champ Perham as the season begins. Both teams will have senior-dominated lineups. Another team in the mix will be Detroit Lakes. The Wolverines split with the Lakers last year.

"We're finally to the point now that they know they can play with everyone," Dykhoff said.

The Wolverines have six seniors on their 2012 squad. Jonathan Goeden gives the team a good leader and hitter. Goeden will split time between the mound and second base.

David Najjar played the outfield last year but Dykhoff wants to move him to third base this season. Najjar will also be the team's No. 2 pitcher. His good batting eye makes him a natural for the lead-off spot in the order.

Jake Rude shapes up as WDC's offensive leader. The veteran catcher took a run at Mike Jacobson's single-season batting mark last year hitting .533.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do this year," Dykhoff said.

Kenny Sakry has the speed that Dykhoff wants in center. Sakry's bat came around last year and he gives the Wolverines a player who can drive the ball.

Ryan Redfield has good leadership qualities and the pitching skills that should make him WDC's ace.

"He's our vocal leader for sure," Dykhoff said.

Redfield had a good summer playing Legion ball last year proving that the ACL he tore as a sophomore is not bothering him anymore.

Isaac Zeise rounds out the senior group and will DH for the Wolverines as well as play some first base.

The Wolverines have four juniors in the fold. Matt Laughlin will be seeing playing time in the outfield, the middle infield and the mound.

"I'm looking for a big year from Matt," Dykhoff said. "We need to have him step on this year and be the pitcher he can be."

The Wolverines will have junior Jake Krause at first. Krause was not consistent at the plate last year but he has the strength to drive the ball.

Christian Berg will be a day-to-day player because of a back injury. His ability to play any spot on the field makes him invaluable to the Wolverines.

McKinley Wright will be playing the outfield for WDC.

Sophomores hoping to find some playing time will be catcher/infielder Wyatt Weber, catcher/infielder/outfielder Isaac Laughlin and left-handed pitcher Ricky Price.

The Wolverines will be playing with the new Becor bats this season. The aluminum composite bats do not have the pop of true aluminum and Dykhoff sees "small ball" tactics deciding more games.

"There will be a lot of bunting and running," Dykhoff said.