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Thunder baseball challenged by depth ... of roster and snow

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College freshman Colton Godbout of Carlton works on his pitching at a recent indoor practice. Photo contributed by Tom Urbanski, FDLTCC

Colton Godbout threw a perfect game for Carlton last year, but for the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College freshman pitcher this baseball season has been all but perfect.

While the home ballpark remains covered in snow during a glacially paced winter, Godbout and his Thunder teammates are winless in all nine of their road games as they battle a readjusted roster, which now includes seven collegiate football players.

"They didn't come here to play baseball, but they're a vital part of this team," said the thankful third-year Coach Cal Barr about the fall roster of 20 players that diminished to just nine when practice began in mid-January. "They're getting better, and they're allowing us enough guys to get to play."

Godbout played the best game of his life last spring, when the 6-foot, 196-pound right-hander hurled a perfect game against Polar League arch-rival Moose Lake-Willow River.

"It's four days to the year [anniversary]," Godbout said without hesitation Monday evening. "That was the best experience I've ever had in baseball. I still think about it. I'll never forget that day."

As of Monday, the Thunder haven't come close to getting on their home field at snow-buried Braun Park, but have already played three doubleheaders in the Metrodome, as well as a three-game series in Mitchell, S.D. Barr said they lost all nine.

"We're not very good," he added, "but we're focusing on getting better and developing the skills to play at this level."

The FDLTCC baseball team -- only in its second collegiate varsity season -- won three of the school's 21 games a season ago. Barr said the team boasts a handful of returnees in Travis Magdzas, Tony Klass, Carlos Holcey, Romont Thompson and Carlton's Joey Broneak. Freshmen like Godbout, Cory Dixon, Jesse Gilberg, Daniel Wilson and Barnum's Andrew Knight will also help a team that is struggling to keep up the pace.

"We just don't have a lot of depth and are playing catch up," said Barr, who played several seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system before becoming a coach for 30-plus years. "And although our spring programs are seasonally challenged, we're trying not to focus on the weather, but rather on our effort, our attitude and playing together."

Broneak, a sophomore law enforcement student, has only made one doubleheader because of his busy school schedule, but is grateful the football players joined the team.

"This is probably going to be my last year of baseball, and then I'll have to find a job," Broneak said. "I'm going to make every bit of it count. It's nice that they've stepped up for us."

Godbout agreed ... even though things aren't perfect.