DL legion baseball team hopes experience makes up for small roster
By Sam Herder
Journal Sports Editor
While the roster size isn’t ideal for the Devils Lake legion baseball team, the Storm believe they have the right group of 10 players to compete well in the Class A East Region.
Head coach Randy Ostermiller and assistant coach Tanner Carpenter essentially bring back the same team as last year. The hope is the year of experience results in more wins after going 12-18 last summer.
“Our defense looks really good,” Ostermiller said. “With pitching, we should go eight or nine deep. We don’t have the big flamethrower, shutdown pitcher, but we have some pretty good depth. And I think our hitting, we’ll do well and will be able to put some runs on the board.”
Eight of the 10 players return from last season. With a strong nucleus of older players, the main concern is staying healthy.
“We have to pretty much be injury-free, which we haven’t been the last couple years,” Ostermiller said. “We adapted our schedule to make sure we don’t have a lot of games. Health is our main concern.”
The Storm play 11 doubleheaders, beginning today in Fargo. Due to limiting its schedule, DL plays its first five doubleheaders on the road and ends the regular season with six straight doubleheaders beginning June 27.
DL has a wide age gap on its roster, with two 15-year-olds, three 19-year-olds and everyone else in between.
“There’s going to be growing pains,” Ostermiller said. “When you’re a 15-year-old and you have a chance to see 18 and 19-year-olds, there’s a big maturity difference. So part of our job is to limit that exposure and put them in against guys that are closer to their ability to keep the confidence level up.”
A big boost should come from 19-year-olds Jordan Swanson, Landen Hall and Lance Anderson, who all played at Lake Region State College.
“The biggest thing is leadership,” Ostermiller said. “We really haven’t had leadership the last couple years. These guys have stepped forward. It’s great team chemistry.”
The Storm have kept it simple when it comes to goals: they just want to win.
“I asked the kids what they wanted to do and the only word out of their mouth was ‘wins,’” Ostermiller said. “And I like that. They’re coming ready to work hard and they’ve showed that. They just want to do well and are ready to win ball games.”