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ISSUE 120 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/23/2007

Spring Preview, Baseball: Veterans to lead champs

By Ryan Maus
Staff Writer

Friday, March 23, 2007

Coming off one of the most successful season in Matt McDonald'’s 13-year run as head coach, the St. Olaf baseball team appears poised to post a solid follow-up campaign.

Around the diamond, the Oles boast a veteran cast with few question marks. Brian Astry '‘07 (21 steals in 2006) will roam center field and bat leadoff, and the powerful Josh Schultheis ‘'07 has an outfield spot locked down after a massive effort in the NCAA Tournament last spring (three homers in four games). Andrew Schmiesing ‘'08, an All-MIAC and All-Region pick last year, hit a scorching .392 in ‘'06 and will return as one of the best players in the conference.

St. Olaf looks strong on the infield as well. Chris Terrazas ‘'07 will man the hot corner and looks to approach .400 for the third straight year. The middle infield combination of Todd Mathison ‘'09, Josh Maus '‘08 and Luke Gagnon ‘'08 will play solid defense and provide spark near the end of the lineup. McDonald also hopes that first baseman Tyler Johnson '09 will take a step forward in his sophomore season. Behind the plate, the duo of Kyle McDermott ‘'07 and Patrick Wadzinski ‘'09 will handle catching duties.

The Oles’ biggest uncertainties come on the mound. Following the loss of 2006 MIAC Pitcher of the Year Eric Tobias, St. Olaf is hoping some combination of Andrew Dimick '08, John Sopiwnik ‘'08, Alex Sommer '‘09, Alex Beckman '‘09 and Paul Shrewsbury '‘10 can fill in the rotation behind Paul Johnson ‘'08 (6-2, 2.35 ERA in '06) and Mathison (9-0, 1.40 ERA).

It promises to be another entertaining year for one of the college's most successful athletic programs, as Mark Almi Field will play host to plenty of exciting MIAC baseball action this spring. The Oles travel to Florida for eight games over spring break before beginning the regular season March 31. The home opener will be April 4.

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