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Prep baseball preview: Eskomos hope to overcome inexperience at the varsity level

Kade Gonsorowski is the only senior on the roster this season on a team filled with promising young talent.

Player throws the ball
Esko sophomore Joey Antonutti throws during a fielding drill at practice on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at Esko High School.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal
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ESKO — With an abundance of youth on this year’s varsity roster, the Esko Eskomos expect to take their fair share of lumps in hopes of playing their best baseball when postseason arrives in late May.

Two-year varsity member Kade Gonsorowski is the lone senior for Esko this season following the graduation of a large senior class from last year’s team that finished with an overall record of 16-9.

Gonsorowski admitted being the oldest player on the team is a bit of a strange feeling, but the connections built playing football with a handful of teammates have made it a whole lot easier.

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The senior went 15-for-15 from the free-throw line and scored 27 points.

“It’s kind of weird being the only senior, but I’m really close with these guys,” Gonsorowski said. “I got close with them during the football season. We all played football together and we’re a pretty tight-knit group. We built those relationships coming into this year.”

Sophomore Finn Furcht and junior Cale Haugen are among the most experienced players for the Eskomos this season along with Gonsorowski. Coach Ben Haugen anticipates both players will lead the way on a well-rounded pitching staff.

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“Cale Haugen and Finn Furcht are the two pitchers that have experience from last year, but I think Sam Haugen will have quite a few innings this year as a freshman,” Ben Haugen said. “Then we’re looking at Dylan Marciulionis, Ty Christensen and Isaak Sertich to kind of round out our pitching staff. So we feel like we’re pretty deep there.”

Cale Haugen and Furcht have been preparing for the season for months down in the Twin Cities playing club baseball with the Minnesota Icemen and Minnesota Blizzard travel teams.

At a recent showcase event, Cale Haugen saw his hard work pay off by showcasing his fastball clocked in over 90 mph.

Players wait for drill
Esko baseball players wait for their turn to participate in a fielding drill during practice on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at Esko High School.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

“He was down at a showcase in the middle of March and he hit 91 on the radar gun there, so he’s put some time in,” Ben Haugen said. “(He) spent some time getting stronger in the offseason, and he plays lots of baseball. Baseball’s his thing, so hopefully he can put it (his fastball) to use in a game.”

Due to inclement weather, the Eskomos have only been able to get one game in thus far after defeating Mesabi East 6-3 on April 4.

Multiple postponements have meant more time indoors at practice, where the team has put the batting cages to good use.

“We feel really good about our facility. We have two batting cages, so we can get lots of hitting done,” Ben Haugen said. “We always feel like every season we kind of come out of the chute, and we’re really prepared offensively because we have great facilities to hit.”

Esko likely won’t hit the field again until Tuesday, April 19, when the team travels to Moose Lake to take on the Rebels at 4 p.m.

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Looking ahead, Ben Haugen is hopeful that his team can overcome some early growing pains that come with being a younger team.

Player fields ground ball
Esko junior Cale Haugen fields a ground ball during practice on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at Esko High School.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

“We know we’re gonna take our lumps and make some mistakes, but we do have a young group that’s played a lot of baseball,” he said. “So we hope that they can rebound fast and learn from some of those mistakes.”

Related Topics: ESKO ESKOMOSBASEBALL
Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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