Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

March 11, 2013

Deep pitching staff to lead Wooden Shoes

TEUTOPOLIS — After two seasons atop the state of Illinois 2A baseball, Teutopolis advanced to the final eight teams in the state last season before falling to Trenton Wesclin.

The Wooden Shoes will look to remedy that this year, as they come off a very successful 30-9 campaign and take a run at another state championship.

Head coach Justin Fleener said he has no idea what the season will hold in terms of wins and losses, but knows the road will be predictably difficult.

"It starts all over again," Fleener said. "It's going to take, as it does with every team that gets there, good pitching, timely hitting, good defense.

"Regionals are going to be tough, sectionals are tough, it's all gonna be tough. We're shooting to get back to that point, but it's a long road to get there."

The Shoes are without Mark and Dylan Niebrugge, Brandon Hemmen and Nick Kreke from last year.

It's a lot of talent to replace. Niebrugge led the team in average (.443), hits (54), doubles (15), RBI (40) and tied Kyle Pruemer and Bobby Wenthe for the team lead in home runs (four).

He may have been more impressive on the mound, going 11-1 in 73 innings of work, compiling a 0.77 ERA while striking out 87 batters.

The cupboard is never bare at Teutopolis. Jared Waldhoff and Pruemer both hit .372 last year, while Wenthe hit .333 on the year.

Waldhoff will play shortstop and lead off for the Shoes.

"He sets the table for everyone, he gets on base, he's got a good stick and good wheels," Fleener said.

Pruemer, Wenthe and Wendling will see time in the middle of the order. The Shoes are counting on Derek Smith to rebound from his junior year, where he was sidelined for the majority of the year. He returned late, but didn't get his feet under him and went 1-for-16 in limited action.

Fleener is also hoping Alex Goldstein can capitalize on a good fall ball season, and carve out some playing time after receiving 10 at-bats last season.

Replacing Niebrugge's production on the team may not be possible, but it won't be a sinking point for the Shoes.

"If we don't have that, we're still hoping to get some run production," Fleener said. "Someone can get close to that."

Pruemer will also be most likely to carry the load on the pitching staff. Outside of Niebrugge, Pruemer led the team in innings pitched with 57.3. He went 6-2 with a 1.83 ERA and struck out 76 batters. In terms of percentage of batters faced, no Shoe was better at striking out opposing hitters than Pruemer.

From there, Wenthe, Waldhoff, Rourke Schultz and Michael Gillespie all pitched at least 15 innings.

The staff will be deeper than that, with a number of live junior arms as well.

"I think I have 11, 12 pitchers on staff," Fleener said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how these pitchers do this spring, especially with the heavy schedule we have."

Pruemer should hold down first base, while Wendling and Wenthe will patrol the outfield. Derek Smith and Reed Hardiek will play in the middle infield, and Hardiek could see some time at catcher.

The Niebrugges and Hemmen were consummate leaders on the field, but Fleener knows from his time at Teutopolis that someone will step up to fill the leadership void.

"I feel pretty confident — I've felt that way for a while," he said.

While the pitching staff is deep and had a measure of success in the fall, it's the offense that could use a little work early in the season.

As it always is in baseball, Fleener feels the offense could use more consistency.

"We always need to improve offensively," he said. "We get streaky some time, and we get streaky in the bad way.

"You try to avoid that as a team. Everyone's going to make some outs. You pick each other up."

This will be Teutopolis' first season as an independent after its school-wide switch from the National Trail Conference.

They still will play a number of NTC teams, including Stew-Stras, St. Anthony, Dieterich, South Central, Neoga and Altamont.

The Wooden Shoes open play Saturday with a home doubleheader against the Salem Wildcats.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • JakeLinders.jpg Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational

    The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Willenborg.jpg Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More

    Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
    And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • callawaysmith.jpg Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today

    The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
    The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndrewBingham.jpg Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season

    Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
    It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
    Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-16 eff volleyball.jpg Flaming Hearts set with new coach

    The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
    As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ryan.jpg Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome

    This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
    The quarterback situation is worrisome.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • FelixScharnbacher.jpg Newton soccer kicks off, inaugural season starts Sept. 2

    For the first time in the history of Newton High School, a soccer team will be a part of the fall sports season.

    August 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • ATV2.jpg Pocrnich wins national ATV title

    As people get older, their chance at a national championship diminishes, but Effingham’s Kevin Pocrnich was able to win one at 49 years old.
    Pocrnich won the Class 16 Senior 40+ Mountain Dew ATV Motocross Championship and according to the league website, finished fourth in the Class 14 30+ Veteran division. He went out with a bang, winning the final race of the season in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee Saturday.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teutopolis alum Thompson part of no-hitter

    A pair of Effingham natives are making some noise up in the Northwest League.
    Teutopolis alumnus Derek Thompson and Effingham alumnus Nick Gardewine, both members of the Spokane Indians in the Texas Rangers organization, earned some recognition over the past week.

    August 14, 2014

  • KnopVolleyball.jpg Comets coming off stellar season

    The Stew-Stras Comets finished in second-place at the state championship last season, a high-water mark for the program in recent years.
    Coach Ronda Schlechte lost five players who played quality minutes from last year’s team, but she said she has a lot of freshmen that have the ability to help the team.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.