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Wolverines have sights set on Faber Field again

Senior Jake Krause is expected to fill a leadership role on this year’s Wadena-Deer Creek baseball team. Photo by Brian Hansel, Pioneer Journal

By Brian Hansel

Kyle Dykhoff took his Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines to the Section 6A baseball tournament for the first time last year in St. Cloud.

The up-and-coming Wolverines have high goals again this spring, Dykhoff said.

“Many of the players have set their goals on making it back to Faber Field in St. Cloud,” he said. “I like our chances to be successful this year.”

Pitching will be the key to the kind of season Dykhoff wants for his Wolverines.

“Our goal is to win the Mid-State Conference. To achieve this goal, we will need our pitching to show up this season. Our offense and defense is good, but it will come down to pitching.”

Seniors on this year’s squad include pitcher-second baseman Cory McManigle, pitcher-infielder-outfielder Matt Laughlin, pitcher-first baseman-third baseman Jake Krause, pitcher-catcher-outfielder-infielder Christian Berg, pitcher-infielder-outfielder Mitchell Swanson, third baseman Joey Price and pitcher-infielder-outfielder Mackinley Wright.

McManigle is expected to see plenty of action at second.

“He’s proving he can hit the ball, but he’s going to be a big part of our defense this year,” Dykhoff said.

Laughlin threw the most innings of any of WDC’s returning pitchers last year, bringing him closest to what Dykhoff has for a staff ace.

“He’s got good stuff,” Dykhoff said. “He played through a foot injury last year, and we are looking forward to having him healthy this year.”

Krause is considered WDC’s team leader this year. Dykhoff is looking for a big contribution offensively and defensively from Krause this season.

Berg’s ability to play any position on the field makes him a solid asset. Dykhoff likes Berg’s bunting ability and may want to try him at the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

Swanson is coming off a year on the links, but Dykhoff knows all about his baseball skills.

“He’s fast,” Dykhoff said of Swanson. “He’s capable of playing anywhere.”

Price will play some third base for the Wolverines, but Dykhoff also wants to use him as a designated hitter.

Wright came up with a good season last year despite the veteran lineup Dykhoff was able to put on the field.

“He hit the ball real well for us last year,” Dykhoff said.

Wright will also be given the nod to pitch.

Wyatt Weber, Ricky Price and Isaac Laughlin are three of the most promising juniors on the team, Dykhoff said.

Weber will be handling most of the backstop duty this spring for WDC.

“Defensively, he is solid,” Dykhoff said. “We need him to step up offensively.”

Price is WDC’s only lefty, so Dykhoff considers him a good bet to pitch if he is not needed at first base or as designated hitter.

Laughlin will pitch, catch, play the infield and patrol the outfield.

“He’s one of those guys who will be in the lineup because he can play anywhere,” Dykhoff said.

Perham is considered the Mid-State Conference powerhouse this year. Staples-Motley also returns a good team, Dykhoff said. St. Cloud Cathedral and Albany are tabbed as top contenders in Section 6A.