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PAGE 4: SPRING SPORTS 2018 PRESS & DAKOTAN ? PLAIN TALK Baseball: Bucks Ready For The ‘Challenge’ Of Spring Season BY BEN HEGGE BASEBALL Sports@yankton.net The spring baseball season is upon us and the focus for Yankton in the high school season is based on improvement and success. “We want to focus on getting better every day and then the wins will come,” said first-year head coach Drew Lawrence. “This team has a lot of talent and a good work ethic. It should be a fun season.” Lawrence takes over the program as head coach for both the high school and legion seasons. He has coached Yankton baseball for 11 seasons with 2018 being his first as head coach. Often times, teams treat the high school season as a spring training for the summer legion season. While success in the legion program is the ultimate goal for Yankton, the high school season in the spring is important said Lawrence. “The spring is our time to get back into things and gear up for the summer, but we still want to be successful,” said Lawrence. “Anytime you go out on the field you play to win, so we are going to have that same mentality when we are on the field this spring.” The players share the same mindset as Lawrence. Apr. 5 Apr. 9 Apr. 12 Apr. 17 Apr. 20 Apr. 24 Apr. 26 Apr. 28 Apr. 29 May 5 May 6 May 11 May 12 May 14 May 15 May 19 May 26 vs. Vermillion 5:30 p.m. vs. Huron 5 p.m. vs. Bon Homme 5 p.m. vs. Brandon Valley * 6 p.m. at S.F. Roosevelt * 6:30 p.m. at S.F. O’Gorman 6:30 p.m. vs. S.F. Washington 6 p.m. at Mitchell * 1 p.m. vs. Brookings * 1 p.m. vs. S.F. O’Gorman * 1 p.m. vs. Watertown * 1 p.m. vs. Mitchell * 6 p.m. vs. S.F. Roosevelt * 1 p.m. vs. Harrisburg 5 p.m. vs. S.F. Lincoln 5 p.m. Regions TB D State Tourn. (Sioux Falls) * - Doubleheader “We are going to play to win,” said Yankton junior Ethan Wishon. “We have a great group of guys, who have been working together and putting in the work. We are all just looking forward to getting on the field.” But, that has been the problem for Yankton: just getting on the field. Mother Nature has allowed for few outdoor practices, and resulted in the postponement of the first game. “It can be tough when you aren’t on the field much,” said Wishon. “But we have still been able to hit inside, and when we do get on the field, we have put a lot of work in.” “We have been outside five times in the first three weeks of practice,” said Lawrence. “Fortunate we have been blessed with being able to use the indoor facilities at Mount Marty when we can’t get outside.” The roster for the high school season returns a lot of talent, but still some unanswered questions said Lawrence. Building depth will be a big key for Yankton, especially in the spring season. “We have some ball players on this team, and these kids have proven that,” said Lawrence. “With that being said, we still have some positions to fill. We need to build depth, especially in the pitching staff.” Although the opener got postponed, it will be a busy two month of baseball for Yankton as they play their 23game regular season schedule in just under 40 days. “This is the best time of the year. The baseball season can be a grind, but we are excited for the challenge,” said Lawrence. “Our goal is for this spring season to be a step in the right direction toward gearing up for the legion season.” The high school Region Tournament takes place on May 19 with the State Tournament beginning on May 26. Yankton opened the season at home against Vermillion on Thursday, April 5. Follow @bigheadbenny13 on Twitter. Tennis FROM PAGE 3 together for a long time. They took their lumps early on and now it’s their time to shine. There is no excuse anymore, it’s their time,” Hage said. The roster sees four returning seniors: Giang Nguyen, Guthrie Scoblic, Gerrit Dykstra and Hunter Rockne. Hage has great confidence in his senior class and depends on them to be leaders both on and off the court. “I depend on my seniors to be leaders and convey any message I’m trying to give the team. They take a chunk of my responsibility so I can focus on developing the younger players, Hunter Rockne has done an excellent job in that regard, I’m very lucky to have him not only as one of our top players, but basically a second coach,” Hage said. One of those developing young players is eighth grader Gage Becker, who placed eighth in the state tournament a season ago. Hage knows the future success of Yankton tennis depends on the interest younger kids take in the sport. “We just have to keep the young players playing and gaining experience, we have a real healthy group of seventh and eighth graders aside from Gage [Becker] on the roster right now and I see us being competitive in the future as they grow older and take more responsibility on the team,” Hage said. While the development of younger players is vital to the team’s future, Yankton is ready to compete now. The senior class will be depended on, but the roster will also see sophomores Brennan Pipes and Nick Gregoire, each of whom improved their games over the winter. Senior leader Rockne remains optimistic that the team will perform well this season despite an injury to a key player. “I think we definitely have the potential to place at one of the top spots at the ESD conference this year. We’re down our flight three, Michael Frick, due to a back injury. He is a key part of our team. Gerrit Dykstra will be filling in for him and will Lawrence Set To Take Yankton Baseball Helm BY BEN HEGGE sports@yankton.net There will be a new coach at the helm of the Yankton Baseball program for the upcoming season spring and summer baseball seasons, and it is a face familiar to many. Drew Lawrence will not only coach Yankton this spring, but take over the Legion program as well. Lawrence has coached Yankton baseball for 11 years, coaching in every age division along the way. “I am excited for the opportunity to lead this great program that already has a strong tradition,” said Lawrence. “I look forward to all of the challenges along the way.” Lawrence is a 2008 graduate of Mount Marty College where he played baseball. He got his start in coaching Yankton baseball while in college, acting as an assistant coach for the Yankton Reds. When the Yankton Baseball Association (YBA) planned their coaching staffs for the 2018 seasons, they has specifics in mind. “The YBA wanted a coach who was going to be the face of our program. We wanted someone who was going to be involved all year and could oversee our coaches and run the program from 13 and under all the way to legion,” said Yankton Baseball Association president Jason Nelson. “Drew was the perfect fit. He’s got a plan for this program to be successful.” Often times with a new coach it takes time for players and coaches to get acquainted with each other and for chemistry to develop. However, that is not the case here. Lawrence has coached all of the kids in the high school program at some point in their baseball careers. “We have a new coach this year, but we really don’t have Drew Lawrence (pointing), shown here in a 2016 photo, takes over the Yankton club high school and American Legion baseball programs this year. a new coach if that makes sense,” said Yankton junior Ethan Wishon. “We are all familiar with Coach Lawrence and have a good understanding of what he expects out of us. It is a great fit.” While the Bucks are yet to take the field in the spring season as of April 1st, Lawrence has already had to deal with interesting complications as the head coach. “This has been a tough spring as far as weather goes,” he said. “We have not been able to get outside much for practice, so that results in a lot if indoor time at the cages. It can make things difficult, but we are very thankful for the help Andy Bernatow and Mount Marty have provided us.” Another interesting situation Lawrence has dealt with in his first season, is being without five key players for pre-season practice. But, this is a good problem to have said Lawrence. “With the unforgettable state basketball run that took place, I didn’t want any of our kids on the basketball team practicing any baseball for obvious reasons,” he said. “Those players are a little bit behind, but it’s well worth it. They are champions, and you want players like that on your team to have those experiences.” Nick Gusso will be the assistant coach for the high school season, while Nik Davis will head the junior varsity program. “We will have a number of new coaches for the summer teams, too,” said Jason Nelson. “Drew will be able to set goals and plan with those coaches on how the entire YBA can succeed.” Follow @bigheadbenny13 on Twitter. Golf: New-Look Tanagers Set For Season BY ELYSE BRIGHTMAN Elyse.brightman@plaintalk.net Hunter Rockne is one of four seniors for the Bucks, who are 2-0 on the season. do very well for how much he has improved. I think we have the potential to place in the top of the state for sure. It will just come down to who plays better each day,” Rockne said. That optimism is shared throughout the team, and Hage credits his team’s tight knit relationship with each other as the key factor. “Our strength is our kids, they are a tight knit group of young men who have basically been playing together their entire lives, they are really a second family to each other,” Hage said. “When things get down they are there for each other as well as being there for each other when things are going well, they really are good at riding the highs and weathering the lows, but they are close enough that they really don’t have many lows.” Possible lows could include facing off against Sioux Falls and Rapid City schools. Sioux Falls Lincoln dominated the state tournament last season and looks to repeat their impressive performance. Hage knows what his team’s shortcomings and strengths are, and what needs to be done to compete with the big city schools. “We know that they [Sioux Falls & Rapid City] have more Commercial State Bank ~ Since 1902 ~ 204 South Main • Wagner, SD kids and the ability to train year-round, but we can’t use that as an excuse to not compete. We focus the time we do have on technical skills and depend on senior leadership to lead the way. We know we don’t have the same height, size or length of the bigger schools. You can’t coach height, but you can coach discipline,” Hage said, with a laugh. “We want to compete with everybody, that’s not to say we are going to beat everybody, but we will be competitive in every match all season. I just want everybody’s strengths to shine on the court, so they can win their matches.” Yankton’s season kicked off on March 27, when it swept Bishop Heelan Catholic High School and Vermillion. The state tournament and season conclude in Rapid City from May 17-19. Follow @BLadwigsports on Twitter Press & Dakotan Your Sports Source RETTEDAL’S DEPARTMENT STORE Clothing and Shoes for the Entire Family (605)384-3646 Fax: (605)384-3403 www.commercialstate.com Email – bank@commercialstate.com Golf is all about numbers, and the Vermillion High School girls’ golf team is playing a different kind of numbers game this season. The Tanagers find themselves without five of the top eight golfers from last year’s squad, but return two state qualifiers with senior Kara Mulheron and sophomore Alex Carr. “Those two probably have the more experience at the varsity level,” said head coach Kirk Hogan. “Then we have a bunch of new ones coming back out, some young ones and some older ones that are giving golf a try.” Beyond that, Hogan will have to figure out the new lineup with just one lost to graduation, one to an early graduation and the rest due to conflicts with other school activities. That means Mulheron and Carr will be looked at to mentor the younger and less experienced golfers through the season in order to make another appearance at the state tournament in June. “They will be two good leaders just by being themselves and showing up and practicing and doing the things they need to do or have to do, especially with them having younger sisters. They know what it’s all about with mentoring the younger ones and that is sort of nice,” Hogan said. At last year’s state meet Carr and Mulheron shot VHS GOLF | PAGE 5 Haase’s Heating FORT RANDALL & Cooling, Inc. TELEPHONE CO. Heating, AC & Plumbing for new or remodeled SERVICING ALL BRANDS Kronaizl Insurance, LLC 605-583-4272 CROSBY-JAEGER FUNERAL HOME INC. Avon, SD 119 N. Poplar St. Wagner, SD 124 E. Hwy 50 384-3781 605-563-2863 Wagner, SD 42532 298th Street Scotland Ph. 583-4490 621 Main Scotland, SD Scotland, SD • 583-4115 Senior Kara Mulheron is one of returning state meet competitors for Vermillion, which graduated five of its top eight golfers from a season ago. Springfield, SD 604 8th St. 369-2488 Jim & Julie Jaeger and Chad Peters Recreation Bar BOWLING • DARTS • POOL Now serving breakfast & lunch specials. Along with all your favorite cold beverages. 536 Main St. • Scotland • (605) 583-4789 WAGNER RED RAIDERS SCOTLAND HIGHLANDERS 3/20 3/26 4/3 4/10 4/13 4/17 Track & Field 4/20 4/24 5/1 Dan Lennon (Vermillion) Lounsbery Early Bird ccd. Scotland Inv. 2 p.m. Rotary Relays (Centerville) 1 p.m. Avon Inv. 4:30 p.m. South Dakota/Nebraska Challenge (Tyndall) 2 p.m. Flevares Relays (Tyndall) 4:30 p.m. Great Plains Conf. (Burke) 11 a.m. Little Missouri Valley Conf. 2 p.m. 5/5 5/8 5/11 AC-DC Inv. (Lake Andes) SESD (Wagner) Ethan-Parkston Inv. (at Avon) (at Mount Vernon) 9 a.m. 2 p.m. 2 p.m. 4/6 Boys’ & Girls’ Golf Class B Classic (at Lakeview GC, Mitchell) 10 a.m. 4/12 Southeast S.D. Small School 9 a.m. 4/20 BSC/Gregory Inv. 10 a.m. Avon/Scotland Inv. 10 a.m. PG/BSC Inv. 10 a.m. Avon/Bon Homme Inv. 10 a.m. 4/27 (at Fox Run GC, Yankton) (Boys at Burke, Girls at Gregory) (Boys at Bon Homme CC, Girls at Scotland) 5/4 5/11 (Boys at Platte, Girls at Burke) Dakota Plains Ag Center, LLC 30668 436th Ave, Yankton SD 605-665-NAPA www.dakotaplainsag.com Pre-Region (Lakeview GC) 10 a.m. Creating Solutions for Customer Success DWU Indoor Inv. Ethan-Parkston Early Bird 2 p.m. 4/5 (Boys at Bon Homme CC, Girls at Spring?eld) 5/18 Track & Field 3/27 4/3 Burnell Glanzer Inv. 2 p.m. 4/10 4/13 4/17 4/20 4/26 5/1 Wagner Relays 2 p.m. Avon Inv. 4:30 p.m. South Dakota/Nebraska Challenge (Tyndall) 2 p.m. Flevares Relays (Tyndall) 4:30 p.m. Erv Ptak Inv. (Menno) 3 p.m. Little Missouri Valley Conf. 2 p.m. 5/5 5/8 5/11 AC-DC Inv. (Lake Andes) SESD (Wagner) Ethan-Parkston Inv. (at Mount Vernon) (at Armour) (at Avon) (at Mount Vernon) 9 a.m. 2 p.m. 2 p.m. Girls’ Golf 4/12 Southeast S.D. Small School 9 a.m. 4/20 4/27 5/4 5/11 BSC/Gregory Inv. (Gregory) 10 a.m. Avon/Scotland Inv. (S) 10 a.m. PG/BSC Inv. (Burke) 10 a.m. Avon/Bon Homme Inv. (Spring?eld) or Winner Inv. 10 a.m. Pre-Region (Mitchell) 10 a.m. 5/21 (at Fox Run GC, Yankton)
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