With Major League Baseball in its season’s “dog days” of summer, it couldnt be more the opposite for National Trail Conference teams, getting ready to start its season to crown a champion in October.
The Movin’ Maroons are in just as good of position as any team in the conference after losing just one senior [Evan Bohnhoff] from last year’s regional championship winning team.
Head coach Josh Krumwiede is excited about the depth and versatility this fall’s team presents.
“Our numbers are better,” Krumwiede said. “We had 12 players last year and 16 this year. There’s a lot of reason for excitement for the year, even before it starts. Everyone is excited to see what kind of improvements we can make this year and what kind of strides we can make in the fall to hopefully compete at the end of the year for the championship. You might see someone like a Hunzinger go from pitching to catching to shortstop to left field. I like that I have kids who are versatile like that.”
“I’m really excited and anxious to see what our lineup is from top to bottom. I’m not trying to de-emphasize defense and pitching because those will be just as important, but we can do a lot of different things with our lineup and I think we’ll have some more speed to try some new things out.”
While baseball is just starting up for the school, some of the Movin’ Maroons come off a summer of travel ball, including two incoming freshman Pete Britton and Noah Dill as well as returning starters Matt Hunzinger and Cole Niebrugge.
“They kept the baseball frame of mind going,” Krumwiede said. “What’s so great about every team in this conference is that everyone is going from spring ball to summer ball to fall ball. Everyone should be locked in and ready to go for the season.”
Hunzinger and Niebrugge return as two of the Movin’ Maroons’ top pitchers from a season ago.
“I think we have depth on the mound,” Krumwiede said. “I felt like our depth last year was up there with the best of them. Matt and Cole are the leaders of our team. If they can put up the years that they’ve been putting up for the last couple, we’ll be in great shape. But we need some guys who haven’t done it before to step up if we’re going to take the next step.”
One player who could help do the team just that is Derek Kuhl.
“Kuhl has definitely improved,” Krumwiede said. “He’s a good defensive first baseman and is smart and knows how to play the game. If we can get some big hits out of him, that would be a bonus.
“We have kids that aren’t just good at baseball, but are willing mentally to do whatever I ask in terms of where I ask them to play. It’s huge to have the versatility and the mindset of ‘I’m not just a first baseman, I can do whatever you ask me to do coach’. As long as we have that all year, I think we’ll be successful.”