When Coltan Hampel graduated he took 73 innings of pitching with him and that is going to be hard to replace. "We are bringing back a group of players that has been together for two years now," said Fillmore Central coach Ryan Scheevel. "But, we don't have a 'Coltan-type' pitcher this year that can go out, each and every game and pitch deep into the game right now. We are going to have to replace him 'by committee' and find a way to fill that need on our team."

Returning letter winners for the Falcons are Tyler Eickhoff (senior, ss/pitcher, .346, 18 sb, 11 rbi), Ryan Bigalk (senior, catcher, .175), Zach Olstad (senior, OF/1st, .323, 15 rbi), Adam Severson (senior, OF), Dan Gatzke (junior, OF, .309, 12 rbi, 17 sb), Jacob Ristau (3rd, junior, .214, 5 rbi), Nick Ebner (junior, P/OF, .231) and Garrett Boggs (soph., INF, .156). Eickhoff, Bigalk, Olstad, Gatzke, Ristau and Boggs are also returning starters.

"We also need to stay healthy and keep our arms strong," added Scheevel. "We have to come each day to practice with a positive, upbeat attitude, to get better at our weaknesses and find ways to improve."

"Wabasha-Kellogg has the target on their back," said Scheevel. "Until someone knocks them off, they're still the conference favorite."

Scheevel is entering his fourth year as head coach for the baseball team.

The Falcons will be playing in Class A this year, moving down from Class AA. Fillmore Central/Lanesboro has 20 games, and 20 "dates," playing each team in the Three Rivers Conference twice, with no double-headers. Imagine the last 10 days of the season will be filled with about eight games, like past years!

The Falcons open their season Monday night at Southland. The home opener is Tuesday, April 9, against Rushford-Peterson.