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College Baseball: Raiders to make progress in coach's second year

The Central Lakes College Raiders baseball team and second-year head coach Brian Voigt head to Arizona this weekend to play 10 games in five days at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson to open their 2018 season.

Central Lakes College’s Parker Sorensen works on hitting Wednesday during practice in the CLC gymnasium. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery
Central Lakes College’s Parker Sorensen works on hitting Wednesday during practice in the CLC gymnasium. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery

The Central Lakes College Raiders baseball team and second-year head coach Brian Voigt head to Arizona this weekend to play 10 games in five days at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson to open their 2018 season.

Coming off a season where the Raiders finished 5-40 overall, the first 14 games of this season may go a long way to showing that Voigt and the Raiders are beginning to build a solid program.

Last year's team struggled on its Arizona trip against teams that had already played games and also dropped four games in Des Moines to start the season 0-14.

Upon returning to Minnesota, the Raiders showed marked improvement as they entered into division play where they won two games against Northland and one game apiece against Minnesota State Fergus Falls and Northland.

"I expect this year to be a year where we keep building on the success and build our program to where we want to be," Voigt said. "Last year we won just five games, four of which were division games. We had 14 games within two runs. It was good progress for building the program."

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Voigt said key position players returning include Devon Brown and Alonzo Knowles.

"Devon, who played 44 games, hit .286 with eight doubles, a home run and 24 RBIs," Voigt said. "Alonzo played in 44 games, hitting .263 with seven doubles."

Levi Jeska and Eric Kossan are two of the top returning pitchers.

"Levi pitched in 12 games, starting 10, with 51.1 innings pitched and a 7.54 ERA. Eric started all 45 games and hit .202 with 10 RBIs."

After playing 10 games in Tucson, the Raiders will play two games at Luther College and two at Minnesota Morris against those schools' JV teams. Results of those 14 games may show if the program has made progress in Year Two of Voigt's rebuild.

Joining the returning Raiders are 18 new players.

"The freshmen are going to be looked upon heavily this season," Voigt said. "There are 17 freshmen that came in this year along with one transfer. Each year there is a lot that is expected from freshman within the (junior college) teams but when we have only four sophomores they are thrown right in from Game One."

The Raiders are in the Central Division of the MCAC along with Northland, St. Cloud Technical College, Minnesota State Fergus Falls and Ridgewater. Ridgewater started this season 0-7 and Northland is 1-7, while the Cyclones from SCTC are 3-2. One of Voigt's goals is to increase their wins against division foes.

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"Four conference wins was good for last year, building off that is always the goal with building a program," Voigt said. "Our conference is tough and our division is tough with multiple teams that go far in the regional each year."

Voigt is encouraged about the prospects for this team.

"There is a lot of depth in each position and on the mound," he said. "We start with 10 games in Tucson and get to see the guys get out and play some ball after being in the gym for practices all winter long."

Roster

No., Name, Position, High school

1-Brady Berbierich, SS/2B, Fr., Osakis

2-Jacob Strong, C/RHP, Fr., Buffalo

3-Alan Pietila, OF/SS, Fr., Menahga

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4-Josh Fussy, OF, Fr., Buffalo

5-Eric Kossan, 2B/RHP, So., Staples-Motley

6-Levi Jeska, OF/LHP, So., Isle

8-Cody Spahr, LHP, Fr., Oakdale

9-Malich Barry, 1B/3B, So., Life Prep Academy, Bahamas

10-Alonzo Knowles, OF/RHP, So., SIR Jack Hayward, Bahamas

11-Devon Brown, SS/RHP, So., St. Georges Bahamas

12-Alex Guggisberg, 3B/RHP, Fr., New Ulm Cathedral

13-Max Onyx, OF, Fr., Sierra, Colo. Springs

14-Eric Hinnenkamp, RHP, Fr., Long Prairie-Grey Eagle

16-Jacob Neumann, C, Fr., New Ulm

17-Kevin Perez, 2B/RHP, Fr., Eagles Landing HS, GA

20-Parker Sorensen, SS/3B, Fr., Bagley

21-Hunter Moye, 1B/OF, Fr., Wesley Chapel HS, Fla.

23-Nicholas Saunders, 1B/3B, Fr., Ralph Poteet HS, TX

24-Kristian Garcia, OF/RHP, Fr., Palo Verde HS, Las Vegas

26-Chad Savard, 1B, Fr., Roseville

28-Casey Welsh, 3B/RHP, Fr., Pequot Lakes

29-Tyler Cromwell, 2B, Fr., Mankato Loyola

33-Trenton Rushmeyer, 3B/OF, Fr., Brainerd

Schedule

March 11: Mayville State JV at Tucson, AZ 11 a.m.; California Miramar University at Tucson 1:30 p.m.

March 12: Lake Region State College N.D. at Tucson 11 a.m. (2)

March 14: Cochise College at Tucson 11 a.m.; University of Dubuque JV at Tucson 2:30 p.m.

March 15: Bismarck State College at Tucson 4 p.m. (2)

March 16: Williston State College at Tucson 11 a.m.; Anoka-Ramsey at Tucson 1:30 p.m.

March 25, at Luther College JV 1 p.m. (2)

March 30, at MN Morris JV 4 p.m. (2)

April 4, Mesabi Range 2 p.m. (2)

April 7, MN State Fergus Falls 10 a.m.; Vermilion noon

April 8, Riverland noon; Vermilion 4 p.m.

April 12, Itasca 2 p.m. (2)

April 14, St. Cloud Technical College 1 p.m. (2)

April 15, at St. Cloud Technical College 1 p.m. (2)

April 18, at Itasca 2 p.m. (2)

April 21, at Ridgewater 1 p.m. (2)

April 22, Ridgewater 1 p.m. (2)

April 25, Rainy River 3 p.m. (2)

April 28, Northland 2 p.m. (2)

April 29, at Northland 2 p.m. (2)

May 2, at Hibbing 3 p.m. (2)

May 5, MN State Fergus Falls 1 p.m. (2)

May 6, at MN State Fergus Falls 1 p.m. (2)

May 10, at Riverland 2 p.m. (2)

May 12, at Rainy River 10 a.m. (2)

May 13, vs. Minnesota West at Rainy River 1 p.m.; at Rainy River 4 p.m.

May 17-20, Region 13 at St. Cloud

Related Topics: COLLEGE BASEBALL
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