Blooming baseball banking on better

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Springtime in Blossom country signals the return of high school hardball for the Blooming Prairie community. High hopes electrify the air as nine of last years starters return to field to build on last seasons success.

"We have a very tough conference this year, but we feel we can compete with any of the teams," said Blooming Prairie baseball coach Chris Staloch. "New Richland has a tough club and we can always count on seven very exciting innings when we play them. It can be a lot of fun."

Blooming Prairie finished last season with a 15-6 overall record, going all the way to the 1A sub-section finals as the top-seeded team before losing to No. 2-seeded Glenville-Emmons.

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"We have high expectations this year," Staloch said. "All three of our pitchers are back and we have some outstanding young hitters that should do well this season."

Hurlers Steve Seykora and Kraig Olson both finished last season with a 7-2 record. Seykora, who is a senior this year will rotate between the mound and shortstop. Olson will spend his junior year switching between first base and the mound. Senior David Kramer will serve as the utility player, alternating between first base, pitcher and shortstop with Seykora and Olson.

Senior Brayton Johnson will return to his spot protecting the line at third base, while sophomore Tom Farr will spend his time behind the plate.

Outfielders Derek Ingvalson and Lynn Chheang are returning as seniors this year and will act as mentors for Ryan Goette. Goette, who is a junior this year, is playing his first season of high school ball.

Also new to the team is junior John Hofius, who will play infield at second base. Senior Andy Helken, who didn't play much last year, will serve as the designated hitter.

Chheang, Olson, Kramer and Farr were the Blossom's top four hitters last year and will be called upon to show their stuff again this year.

Lynn, David and Kraig should do well this year," Staloch said. "Tom had a fantastic year last season as a freshman and I expect good things from him this year."

Blooming Prairie will host a replay of last season's sub-section final game against Glenville-Emmons for its season opener on April 1.