Senior strength: Seven seniors key to success of Jamestown baseball teamStuck in the play-in game of the West Region tournament the past three years, seven seniors were determined to lead the Jamestown High School baseball team out of oblivion in 2012.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Stuck in the play-in game of the West Region tournament the past three years, seven seniors were determined to lead the Jamestown High School baseball team out of oblivion in 2012.
With a variety of upperclassmen spread throughout the offensive and defensive lineups, the Blue Jays have experienced the kind of success four-year starter Danny Fischer said he had come to expect each year.
“I think you have to expect it,” said Fischer, a senior who bats leadoff and plays shortstop. “I’ve expected it every year, but especially this year.”
But the wins didn’t start piling up until this season, and the fourth-seeded Jays will put their 20-12 record on the line when they meet fifth-seeded Minot in the opening round of the West Region tournament today at Aafedt Stadium in Williston.
“In past years, we definitely weren’t where we wanted to be,” said senior Riley Schafer, who’s second on the team in innings pitched with 39.2. “This year, this group came out and proved (themselves).”
They’re peppered everywhere.
Tyler Krenz leads the team in innings pitched with 45 and sports a 3-2 record. Brady Anderson bats third and has team highs in home runs (2), RBIs (33) and has struck out just twice. Cody Benson hits sixth and can play catcher or first base. Pat Lane is batting .300 off the bench, and first-year player Pat Fowler helped the JV team take second in the West Region tournament.
They all have roles to play, and they play them well, said coach Cory Anderson.
“Each brings a diverse skill set to what they do,” he said. “Yet, they’re baseball players in the fact that we can put them almost all over the diamond and they’re successful.”
And even with limited opportunities, Anderson said Lane and Fowler are just as important as the next senior.
“Pat Lane’s done a great job at the plate. He’s had a lot of success when he’s DH’ed,” Anderson said. “We’re very happy for Pat (Fowler). It’s been awhile since Pat had laced them up, and he goes out there every day with great effort and enjoyed what he did.”
Fischer and Brady Anderson provide punch at the top of the order and both are headed to the college ranks in the fall. Anderson has signed to play at Valley City State while Fischer has committed to Northern State (S.D.). Fischer’s team-bests include batting average (.437), walks (27), runs scored (37) and on-base percentage (.578). Fischer has
“He’s scored a lot of runs, and that’s what we ask him to do,” Cory Anderson said. “Brady’s had a lot of at-bats with runners in scoring position. I think he’s got to be one of the top in the state in RBIs. That’s because of those guys getting on base in front of him, and that’s pretty crucial.
Brady said he’s taken the time to realize what’s at stake this weekend. When his season ends, it will mark the end of four years with his father as coach.
“Last time I’ll play for my dad, which is weird,” Brady said. “It goes by fast.”
Krenz, Schafer and Benson round out a group that was able to knock down plenty of pillars this season, including sweeps of Bismarck High and Minot.
“Tyler has taken the ball in every league game most of the year and had good success,” Cory Anderson said. “Cody’s kind of solidified the DH role for us. … Riley’s a jack of all trades on the mound. He’s squeezing all the juice out of that pitching turnip in terms of ability.”
But another pillar stands in the Blue Jays’ way, as this group has never won a first-round game at regionals. A victory would be yet another feather in the seniors’ cap.
“All of us have worked hard and we’ve played baseball all of our lives,” Krenz said. “We’ve worked hard to get where we’re at.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com