Lumberjacks look forward to new season
Despite the snow on Tuesday, the Cloquet baseball team, as well as all the other baseball teams in the area, continues to work hard toward opening day. The Jacks will be under first-year coach Steve Jezierski who has coached in the program in the...
Despite the snow on Tuesday, the Cloquet baseball team, as well as all the other baseball teams in the area, continues to work hard toward opening day. The Jacks will be under first-year coach Steve Jezierski who has coached in the program in the past.
"We expect that we are going to be a hard working and fundamentally sound team," said Jezierski. "I value work ethic and smart play. We don't intend to give runs away."
Despite the return of a number of players, Jezierski has stated that this year's squad is not set in stone, and in fact, nearly every position is up for grabs.
"Outside of our catcher and top pitcher, the remainder of the lineup is up in the air," mentioned Jezierski. "Reid Ellingson should give us as good a pitcher as there is in the area. Reid is left-handed, with a good fastball and a solid changeup. After Reid we have a lot of kids who could develop into good high school pitchers. I think Reid, as well as the rest of our pitchers, will benefit greatly from coach Rick Stowell's guidance."
At catcher, the Jacks will be led by the athletic Austin Hatch who is quick behind the plate and has a strong arm.
"Hatch is a very good athlete who has the ability to develop into a top notch receiver," explained Jezierski. "I think he could play just about anywhere, but I am of the belief that you need a top athlete behind the plate. Coach Jeff Ojanen is working hard with all of our catchers."
At this point Jezierski is still trying to fit players into positions on the field, but he believes he can start nine quality players at this point.
"Right now we don't know who all of these players are going to be," stated Jezierski. "One big loss is Tyler Johnson who re-broke his collar bone. I know Tyler is a hockey player, but he had all the tools to be a standout baseball player. You can not teach soft hands and quick feet."
Cloquet fans can look for a team that will score runs by hitting and running, bunting and moving players over to scoring position.
"I think we're going to have to manufacture some runs and that's OK because I love to play that kind of baseball. I am a National Leaguer at heart when it comes to offensive style of play," commented Jezierski. "Our practices have been very much about instruction. Baseball is a lot easier, and more fun to play, if you know how to play the game. Our goal is to throw strikes, make plays, and put the ball in play when we have runners in scoring position."
Cloquet is scheduled to open the season against Carlton, but at this point that game could potentially be postponed due to the recent rains and snow.
Pine Journal sports reporter Kerry Rodd can be contacted at: email@example.com .