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Wednesday December 13th 2017

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Baseball: Underclassmen suggest a promising future

By Jared Ogren–
After graduating a strong class of 11 seniors last year, the Mustang baseball team is a young and inexperienced bunch. Despite the lack of veteran leadership, head coach Jim Scholten is confident in the young team’s talents and expects just as much success as last year’s squad had.

“The main thing I’m telling them is we’re a work in progress,” said coach Jim Scholten. “We’re using a lot of young players and our freshmen and sophomore classes are really strong. It’s not the usual thing for us to be playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but because they’re so talented, we are.”

Starting the season last year, the Mustangs were 2-8 through the first 10 games. As the season progressed the team turned it on and finished at .500 with a 28-28 record.

Through the first 15 games of this season, the Mustangs are sitting at 5-10 after returning from the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational Tournament. Despite the rocky start, Coach Scholten has stressed to his players the importance of gaining experience.

“They’re inexperienced and inexperience costs you early, so the most important thing for us is to get game experience. Our goal is to have them ready and at their peak when the conference starts,” Scholten added.

Despite losing key players to graduation last year, Scholten disagreed with the idea that the team was in a “rebuilding stage.”

“Rebuilding makes it sound like we’re not counting on much for this year, and that’s not true. We have high goals for this year. We finished fourth in the 12-team conference last year and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish at least that high again this season.”

Scholten also commented on the difficulty of replacing his senior leaders from last season.

“We graduated a really good class of 11 seniors last year; all graduated I’m proud to say, too. You just don’t plug in someone else and say ‘Ok, you’re as good as Jared Noteboom was, ‘or ‘You’re as good as Bret Hoch was.’”

Jared Noteboom and Bret Hoch, both from South Sioux City, were named to the 2010 All-Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Baseball First-Team

While the team may not yet be stacked with all-Americans, Coach Scholten believes the potential is there.

“I think we have some guys that have that type of ability, but those guys didn’t get there their first year either. I see so much potential in this team and I’m really excited about it.”