Medford Baseball to Play at US Bank Stadium Tuesday
After opening their season at home Monday against United South Central, Medford baseball plays Kenyon-Wanamingo in US Bank Stadium on Tuesday, April 4, at 7:15PM.
Tigers coach Jon Chappuis says the players are excited and that a fan bus will be going. He says a couple of his players went to the facility to watch a Gophers baseball game a couple of weeks ago. "It's got a short left field with a high wall. We're going up a couple of hours early to try to get accustomed to the size so we're not intimidated by the size. It's probably the biggest venue the kids will play in, in their lives." But he added, "When it comes down to it, bases are still the same as our field and the pitching rubber is still set the same." Tuesday's game will be carried on KDHL AM 920.
Chappuis says the Tigers graduated a couple of their top pitchers off last season's team, but he is confident in filling those spots. He looks at Nate Meixner, Alex Gengler, Ben Borash, Ian Gillis and Javis VonRuden as players that can provide innings on the mound.
With additional time outside during the opening weeks of practice, Chappuis says, "Defense looks more ahead than any of the past years we've had. Got more time outside, which allowed us to work on some of the game-speed type things." The season opener against USC starts at 5PM Monday, according to the Gopher Conference website.
Medford softball started six eighth-graders last season and coach Alyssa Strunk says, "We're still a pretty young team with all those freshmen, and we also pulled up a couple eighth-graders. We're you but we're pretty tough."
Kiley Nihart handled most of the pitching last season. Strunk says MacKenzie Paulson and Isabel Reuvers could both throw this spring as well. All are freshmen.
The team has used a good share of their indoor practice time working on hitting. Strunk says that was a strength in 2016, "Our offense was what really kept us in a lot of games. So I hope to see that happen again this year with strong offense for us."
The conference website shows the Tiger softball team playing at United South Central on Monday, at JWP on Tuesday and at Bethlehem Academy on Thursday. Their home opener is set for April 10.