Like a whole bunch of high school athletes, Logan Schramel is just itching to play games outdoors.
The St. Cloud Cathedral senior shortstop thinks his baseball team could be really good this year.
The Crusaders took second in the state in Class 2A and have a whole lot of people back as well as a state championship VFW baseball team from which to extract talent.
But the weather has yet to cooperate.
“It is disappointing,” Schramel said. “We’ll still get our games in eventually. Our ace just won’t throw as much.”
More snow was expected today as activities directors scurried to reschedule events for the third straight week.
Eventually, the Crusaders will get outside, though the season will be very different. Whatever happens, Cathedral approaches the 2013 season with high expectations.
It was a far contrast to 2012, when the Crusaders expected to be rebuilding after winning the state title in 2011 with a bevy of new faces, including a bundle of question marks on the mound.
But it all came together. Cathedral would up 24-6, barely escaping with a section final victory over Albany, then outlasting Proctor 9-8 in nine innings in the state semifinals on its way to Target Field.
“We were really surprised,” senior third baseman Brian Minks said. “We thought pitching would be a big issue.
“But we found the right people to work out in the open positions.”
Emerging as the staff ace was Jeff Fasching. The junior left-hander went 8-0 with a 1.24 earned-run average. A Times all-area team member, he barely pitched in the state tournament because of a rib injury. He’s healthy and looking forward to the season.
“I think we’re just as talented, if not more talented,” Fasching said. “We’re almost better prepared for a short season than a long season.
“A lot of our guys would be one or two (starting pitchers) at a lot of other schools.”
Cathedral head coach Bob Karn, 71, is excited about his team’s possibilities and especially about Fasching.
“He looks good, very good,” Karn said. “He’s got lots of talent and he’s probably as good a hitter as he is a pitcher.”
The Crusaders lost some key pieces to that state runnerup finish last June. Waylon Bemboom and Matt Dodge are at St. Thomas. Eric Pelant is at St. John’s. Others also have moved on. But Karn likes what he sees this season, at least indoors.
“We will be good in all phases,” Karn said. “Our pitching will be good. Our middle defense should be good. We have good outfielders. We have decent team speed. We are pretty solid in every area.
“I think we’ll have a good year, which translates well into what we should be doing.”
Also on the mound is Minks, who will be a starter at third base for the third straight season. Schramel, another senior right-hander and the Crusaders’ returning starting shortstop, also plans to pitch after having some arm issues last season.
There are also sophomore right-handers Jake Gross and Josh Thyen, junior right-hander Brady Yoerg and senior left-hander Andy Lenzmeier.
“We have 12 pitchers,” Karn said. “Right now, everyone’s a pitcher. We need to have as many pitchers as possible.”
Senior Bo Schmitz and junior Thomas Imholte will handle the catching. Schmitz is coming back from a knee injury in football and recently had nasal surgery.
Lenzmeier and Drew Peschel will play first base.
Steven Neutzling will play second and Logan Schramel returns at short. Dominick Austing, a sophomore, also is a fine middle infielder, as is senior Josh Wiltfong.
Minks, another all-area team member headed to St. Scholastica, starts for his third straight season at third base. Gross also plays third.
Jalen Braegelmann returns in left fielder. Brindley Theisen, a sophomore, and Yoerg are likely outfield starters. Fasching also is in the mix, as are others.
Karn expects Albany and Little Falls to be outstanding in the Crusaders’ Granite Ridge Conference.
“Albany was able to beat (No. 1-ranked) Little Falls last season and they’re going to be very good again. Little Falls will be very good again. Albany and Little Falls are very good teams.”
Albany returns all-area team member Scott Litchy. Little Falls’ Collin Eckman, another all-area team member, also returns. Karn counts the Crusaders’ win over Albany as one of their most fortunate.
“We had several games go down to the very last pitch and we were more than fortunate,” he said. “We were lucky. We were fortunate to win those games. We had a lot of good fortune.”
He’s hoping the good fortunes continue.
Players to watch
Here’s a list of area baseball players coming off good 2012 seasons:
Pitchers — Jeff Fasching (Jr., St. Cloud Cathedral); Alex Kendall (Sr., St. John’s Prep); Reed Pfannenstein (Sr., Rocori); Derek Schlangen (Sr., Rocori).
Catchers — Austin Athmann (Sr., Rocori); Brad Meyer (Sr., Pierz); Tyler Midas (Jr., Foley); Joe Setrum (Sr., St. Cloud Tech).
Infielders — Nick Adams (Sr., Sauk Centre); Ben Boser (Sr., Pierz); Mac Mueller (Sr., Rocori); Scott Litchy (Sr., Albany); Nathan Meyer (Sr., Paynesville); Caz Novak (Sr., St. John’s Prep); Michael Schlangen (Sr., Albany); Jeron Terres (Sr., Rocori).
Outfielders — Zack Dehler (Sr., St. John’s Prep).
Here is The Associated Press poll for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let’s Play Baseball:
2. Eden Prairie
6. Maple Grove
7. Grand Rapids
8. Red Wing
11. Lakeville North
13. Coon Rapids
16. Mounds View
18. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Others receiving votes: Cretin-Derham Hall, Centennial, Champlin Park, Brainerd, St. Cloud Apollo, Tartan, Forest Lake, Bloomington Jefferson, Shakopee, Prior Lake, Roseville Area, Owatonna, East Ridge, North St. Paul, Osseo, Mahtomedi, Hutchinson.
1. Holy Family Catholic
2. St. Cloud Cathedral
5. Little Falls
6. Cannon Falls
9. New Ulm
10. Minnehaha Academy
11. Minneapolis Washburn
13. St. Anthony Village
20. Morris Area.
Others receiving votes: Belle Plaine, Pine Islander, Lake City, Pierz, Mora, La Crescent, Mound-Westonka, Stewartville, Byron, Worthington, Foley, New London-Spicer, Fergus Falls, Hibbing, St. Paul Academy, Paynesville, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Minnewaska, Providence Academy, LeSueur-Henderson, Maple Lake, Litchfield, St. James, Rochester Lourdes, Thief River Falls, Melrose, Benson, St. Peter, Sauk Centre, DeLaSalle, Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids.
1. St. Agnes
2. New York Mills
3. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s
4. Deer River
6. West Lutheran
10. New Ulm Cathedral
11. Lac qui Parle Valley
12. Mankato Loyola
18. Eden Valley-Watkins
19. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial
20. Sacred Heart
Others receiving votes: Springfield, Martin County West, Wabasso, United South Central, Chatfield, Win-E-Mac,Canby, Goodhue, St. John’s Prep, Blooming Prairie, Southland, Red Lake County, Hayfield, Adrian, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, South Ridge, Norman County, Murray County Central, Floodwood, Ortonville, Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Chisholm.