The Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale baseball team opened training camp on Monday, March 16 to begin their fifth season as the Raiders. The two schools combined forces in baseball for the first time in 2011.
The entire coaching staff returns from 2014 with Steve Riewer at the helm, along with Greg Johnson and Chris Schwantz as varsity assistants. Chris Bounds and John Wieshalla will guide the junior high program again this season.
Thirty student/athletes in grades 9-12 will be gearing up for the season opener tentatively scheduled for April 7. Current schedules can always be found at www.parkregionconference.org
This years’ squad will be led by six seniors: Preston Riewer (p,ss,c), Dillon Card (p,ss), Michael Kramer (inf), Donnie Warren (of), Matt Lipinski (inf) and newcomer Travis Kramer.
Juniors on the team include: CJ Baumgartner, Zach Johnson, Jordan Frethem, Mitchell Blaha, Alex Copa, Ethan Korfe, Cory Bertram, Ethan Orlando and Keanu Comes.
Sophomores looking to earn playing time are Jackson Fore, Mac Schluttner, Dan Deppa, Zach Deppa and transfer Ty Klimek.
The 10 freshmen on the squad are: Charles Bakken, Adam Bauch, Blake Baumgartner, Owen Refshaw, Luke Weniger, Casey Holman, John McIntire, Josh Bounds, Owen Korfe and Mack Jones.
Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale finished the 2014 season with a 14-9 record and a 9-3 finish in the Park Region Conference. With the top two pitchers and six of their top seven hitters returning from last season, the Raiders hope to make some noise in 2015.
Dillon Card and Preston Riewer combined for 13 of the Raiders’ mound victories last season. Card proved to be the workhorse, with 65 innings of work on the bump.
“With another year of maturity, these two could be two of the top pitchers in the conference,” Coach Riewer stated.
Preston Riewer and Mac Schluttner both flirted with the .400 mark at the plate last season and look to hit at the top of the order again for BHV. Card, Ethan Korfe and Zach Johnson all hit above .300 last season and look to improve on their offensive production. Mitchell Blaha should be another top of the order hitter in 2015.
“All six of these players (are) very capable of stealing bases and causing problems for our opponent every time they are on base,” said Coach Riewer.
A talented group of youngsters, along with the other returning letterwinners (Matt Lipinski, Michael Kramer, Jordan Frethem), should give the Raiders a very deep squad heading into the 2015 season.
“We expect to compete in every game this season with our sights set on a conference championship along with a deep run in the post-season,” Riewer added. “New York Mills will be one of our biggest obstacles in our quest for a conference title and deserve to be considered the favorite until someone proves otherwise. I know that OTC has some quality pitching back for 2015 and should be a contender as well.”