The Redwood Valley baseball team will enter the 2019 season led by a veteran bunch of athletes that includes 11 seniors and seven juniors.
One season ago the Cardinals finished 5-10 overall, losing 10-0 to Minnewaska Area in the opening round of the Section 3AA playoffs.
They will be without the services of All-Big South first teamer Mitch Irlbeck (.477 batting average with 21 hits and 12 RBI) as well as guys like Spencer Quast, Travis Rebstock and Joe Salvati but return a nice core group.
Senior infielder Jaden Van Hee is back after a breakthrough junior campaign that saw him earn honorable mention All-Big South Conference honors. He led the team with an impressive .543 batting average that included a team-high 25 hits and 20 RBI. He also a grand-slam, 12 runs scored, a .675 slugging percentage and a .580 on-base percentage.
Fellow senior Cole Woodford was also an honorable mention All-Big South selection after batting .340 with 17 hits, seven RBI and 12 runs scored.
Senior Kyle Lechner was the third Cardinal to earn All-Big South honors, as he proved to be the Cards ace, racking up 26 Ks and just nine walks with a 4.33 ERA in 32 1/3 innings of work. Offensively, he batted .275 with 11 hits (four doubles) and eight RBI.
Junior Adam Bommersbach played in just nine games as a sophomore but had an impressive .522 batting average with 12 hits and six RBI.
Senior Alex Louwagie played well behind the plate and also batted .263 with 10 hits and three RBI but is currently battling injuries.
Fellow seniors include: Corbin Wabasha (IF), Carson Farmer (OF), Colin Wells (IF), Bronson Smith (OF), Raymond Gerke (IF), Austin Vogland (OF) and Brennan Sander (OF).
Juniors include: Keegan Holzapfel (OF), Riley Chambs (C), Isaiah Hultquist (IF), Amos Krause (IF), Bryant Haas (OF), Chad Maddock (IF) and Carter Guetter (OF).
The Cardinals are set to host St. James Area April 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Field in Redwood Falls.