One team hoping to take home this years legion baseball Class B title is the Renville County Muskrats, whose lineup includes less of a veteran presence than it has in recent years.
The Muskrats qualified for this year’s state tournament after winning game two of the district two tournament over the top seed Surrey Blue Sox … with a roster combining an experienced veteran group along with some younger pieces.
“This is the first time we’ve had to have as much young and we’ve been blessed with a lot of older teams in the past 3-4 years which we haven’t had to do this, and actually it makes this season a little more gratifying being able to pull this off with a young crew,” Renville County Head Coach Bart Savelkoul said.
“I’m really proud of all of the younger guys who have stepped up. We have about five Babe Ruth kids that just played in the state tournament that play pretty good time for us and the legion team,” Shortstop Kellan Henry said.
Solid production on the mound has been been a consistent element to help the team reach a 17-7 record this season.
“Our pitching, we have Braxton Fitzsimmons, Joe Savelkoul, and Brock Depute who are all really good, and then we have guys like Gannon Hall and Walker Braaten who can come in and shut it down whenever we need them to,” Henry said.
But now the Muskrats lineup is finding their rhythem at the plate in recent games.
“Hitting for us it probably our main suit. If we get down, we get back in the game with our momentum, we have some big plays. It may not be all at once, but we feel that we can get a run going all together,” Right Fielder Steele Olson said.
“Earlier in the year, our bats were not as hot, but now the bats are starting to get hot at the right time of the year,” Henry said.
One key for the team heading in to the games in Garrison are staying composed when facing early defiicits.
“Getting down is bound to happen, but if we keep our composure and keep getting the outs that our pitcher provides, we’ll be fine,” Henry added.
“Coaching and older guys always trying to help our younger guys, tell them that it’s totally okay to have a bad at bat here and there, but just next play, next play, because baseball is it’s not always going to succeed, you’re always going to have some failures here and there,” Olson said.
The Muskrats play Hazen Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the tournaments opening round.