Baseball Opens 2017 Season Tomorrow At US Bank Stadium

Posted on March 7th, 2017 by


ST. PETER, Minn. – Brad Baker’s first year coaching baseball at Gustavus in over three decades (his first in 1981) proved to be fruitful last season as the Gusties posted their first winning record since 2008 and moved up three spots in the conference standings. But now it’s time to turn to page to the 2017 campaign and see what improvements can be made as Baker and his staff continue to rebuild the program into a contender in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. This season’s journey begins tomorrow with a non-conference doubleheader against Mayville State at US Bank Stadium.

“We want to prepare the guys and help them, and put them in best position to win games, but we’re not setting any goals,” Baker said. “We’ve added a couple kids that can help us this year. Last year, we were so late from a recruiting standpoint, but this year we’ve done really well with recruiting. We’ve got a bunch of really good kids coming next year. So as I look at this year, we are going to be really similar talent-wise, but the big difference will be our mental approach, which will be much better.”

The Gusties return a wealth of experience from last year’s squad that posted the first winning record in nearly a decade. Josh Chatfield (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.) and Isaiah Welckle (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.) paced the team at the plate last year and will once again look to lead the Black and Gold. Chatfield, a CoSIDA Academic All-District member in 2016, posted a team-high .389 batting average in 36 games played. The right fielder tallied a team-best 51 hits with 12 doubles, two triples, one home run, 17 runs, and 26 RBI. Welckle, who earned All-Conference honors at second base, was close behind with a .365 average as he played in all 38 games. Welckle connected for 50 hits with eight doubles, 24 runs, and 16 RBI. The Minneapolis Washburn product also led the team with eight stolen bases and posted a .943 fielding percentage.

Danny Carlson (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) returns as the starting shortstop after recording 117 assists last season, the third most in program history. Carlson registered a .911 fielding percentage and started all 38 games. He led the team with 137 at-bats and had a .314 average. Carlson led the team with 33 runs and added 43 hits and 20 RBI. 2016 MIAC All-Defensive third baseman Brock Peterson (Jr., Cannon Falls, Minn.) returns to man the left corner of the infield. Peterson collected 80 assists compared to six errors for a .950 fielding percentage. The Cannon Falls product was also productive at the plate, hitting .287 with 35 hits, 18 runs, and 11 RBI. The opposite corner of the infield at first base will be filled by John Lundquist (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) and Logan Thomas (Sr., Lake City, Minn.). Lundquist last season posted a .294 average in 36 games with 35 hits and 26 RBI, while Thomas hit .342 in 16 games with 13 hits and nine runs.

The pitching staff loses All-Conference ace Jacob Volness, but he is the lone departure as the Gusties return the remaining roster from last season. Connor Kern (Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.) will be looked upon the lead the staff after posting a 3-2 record and a 4.39 ERA in 10 appearances and 53.1 innings last year. Fresh off significant playing time as the football team’s quarterback last fall, Sam Archer (So., Zimmerman, Minn.) will also be relied on to provide productive innings on this mound this spring. Archer posted a 4-0 record and 4.50 ERA in eight appearances and 28 innings in his freshman campaign. The rest of the staff includes the arms of Sam Carlson (Sr., St. James, Minn.), Adam Stockwell (So., Apple Valley, Minn.), Kyle Pinke (Sr., St. James, Minn.), Casey Lewandoski (Jr., Fairbanks, Alaska), Jacob Braun (Sr., Wayzata, Minn.), and Mitchell Nordin (Fy., Mahtomedi, Minn.). Behind the plate will include Lukas Hanson (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.), transfer Nolan Lepel (Jr., Plato, Minn.), and John DeMarais (Sr., Winona, Minn.).

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the depth that we have this year,” Baker said. “We have at least a half dozen kids that can play the outfield and it will be really competitive out there. We have some good athletes. With the pitching staff, we’ve got six to eight guys that we feel comfortable putting out on the mound.

“The guys started to get a taste of winning last year and learning how to win. We’re just going to put the guys in the best position that we can, and we’re blessed to have coaches like Jeff, Dean, Bob, Matt, and Mike. They do an unbelievable job of building confidence and really helping the guys from a fundamental coaching perspective. As we look forward, I feel we’re at the beginning of something really special.”



2016 STATS


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