For most spring sports this year, the upcoming season is a bit of an unknown after last year's season was canceled due to COVID. The Wadena-Deer Creek baseball team is no different, but the players are confident and have set high expectations for themselves.
According to head coach Kyle Dykhoff, one of the team's goals is to make it to the state tournament, and he says that is definitely possible with the talent the team has, their success in 2019, and the success they had over the summer when they could play a little.
"These kids have had some success in the summer so we're expecting big things," Dykhoff said. "We set our goals high - for a lot of these kids that's the state tournament, and they're not just saying that. They have a shot, and they want to work towards that."
While the team has big goals, because there was no season last year, there are a lot of puzzle pieces to fit together on the field. There are some sophomores who will be stepping into a varsity role for the first time.
"I think they're ready," Dykhoff said, "but there's the question mark of just not seeing them in that role yet. But every team has that this year."
Dykhoff talked specifically about the seniors who will contribute to the team this year. Tony Kreklau will have his first full varsity season this year. As a sophomore, he missed a lot of time because of a back injury and wasn't able to play offensively because of it. Then he lost his junior season to COVID.
"Now when he's a senior, coming in healthy and ready to go, I'm excited for him," Dykhoff said. "He can play anywhere - pitch, catch outfield, infield."
Senior Brayden Kleinke is a left-handed pitcher who will throw quite a few innings for the team, and senior Corbett Wensmann will primarily play in the outfield. Senior Zach Shaw will also be a big contributor to the team this season, playing infield, outfield, and pitching.
"I think they're looking forward to getting back to what they missed out on," Dykhoff said.
The Wolverines host Menahga Friday, April 9, at 4 p.m. to kick off the season.