In front from left are Kyle Sorenson, Tanner Gran, Colton Lampert, Austin Werner, Brandon Robley, Austin Bauer and Dalton McHan, In second row are Josef Pettit, Drew Elvik, Kai Lidstrom, TJ Schultz, Levi Schulze, Nathan Hagerott, Derek Vonderohe and Ben Gray. In back are Seth Twite, Justin Burg, Harrison Speltz, Tanner Langen, Keenan Siminski, Elliott Cross, Brandon Tornstrom, Kyle Jennings and Lucas Dodson. PHOTO: EPPS/SPRING GROVE HERALD
In front from left are Kyle Sorenson, Tanner Gran, Colton Lampert, Austin Werner, Brandon Robley, Austin Bauer and Dalton McHan, In second row are Josef Pettit, Drew Elvik, Kai Lidstrom, TJ Schultz, Levi Schulze, Nathan Hagerott, Derek Vonderohe and Ben Gray. In back are Seth Twite, Justin Burg, Harrison Speltz, Tanner Langen, Keenan Siminski, Elliott Cross, Brandon Tornstrom, Kyle Jennings and Lucas Dodson. PHOTO: EPPS/SPRING GROVE HERALD
"We have nine returning letter winners from last year, which will give us experience at almost all positions on the field," Caledonia/Spring Grove baseball coach Dave Konz said last week. "Last year we had only two seniors, so we were able to give a lot of the younger players some varsity time. Konz brings a lot of experience to the table as well. He served as head coach for 13 years at Spring Grove, followed by one year as assistant varsity coach with Caledonia/Spring Grove prior to taking the head position four years ago.

Junior Kai Lidstrom will lead the team defensively. He earned All-Conference honors from the TRC (Three Rivers Conference) last season, joining baseball players from ten other schools.

Lidstrom came on in relief twice before drawing a starting assignment in game four, where he went the distance. Overall, he appeared in eight of the 13 games that C/SG played, starting four times and coming on as a reliever on four occasions.

Lidstrom pitched three complete games, and he achieved an outstanding 35-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio during 34.2 innings of work, challenging hitters with a left-handed sidearm/submarine motion. His earned-run-average was 2.42.

Other returning letter winners include senior Josef Pettit at catcher. The rest are all juniors. Tanner Langen checks in at shortstop/pitcher. Harrison Speltz will play first base and designated hitter. Justin Burg is listed at third base. Seth Twite has center field, with TJ Schultz in right and Austin Bauer in left. Bauer is also listed at pitcher. Kyle Sorenson will pitch and play first.

"We are hoping that being a year more experienced and returning almost our entire team will help us be more consistent this season," Konz noted. "We look to some newcomers for contributions like Colton Lampert (SS & 2B), Tanner Gran (OF, P, 2B), Drew Elvik (P, 1B), Elliott Cross (3B) and Keenan Siminski (2B).

"If we can be more consistent at the plate, we will have a very good opportunity to develop into a solid team....We don't have a lot of players but the ones we do have are very versatile.

"Our goal this season is to be around the top of our conference and to make a run back to sections like we did two and three years ago," Konz added.

Chatfield will be the team to beat in the conference while La Crescent will be the big boys on the block at section.

The Warriors went 2-10 in TRC games, 2-11 overall in a weather-shortened schedule last spring. That lack of games means that the young Warriors are still somewhat untested, Konz said.

Caledonia and Spring Grove combined in 2010, notching a record of 17-5 overall, 16-4 in the TRC that season. The following year, the Warriors were the sub-section runner-up (15-9, 13-7 TRC). In 2012, C/SG was the sub-section champion (16-8, 13-7 TRC).

With 12 teams this season, the TRC standings will be kept in two divisions instead of one large group. The 16-game league slate for C/SG includes home and away series with their five South Division rivals with one crossover game against each of the six North Division teams.

Joining the Warriors in the TRC South are Southland, Rushford-Peterson, Fillmore central/Lanesboro. Chatfield and Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland (GMLOK).

The TRC North consists of Dover-Eyota, Lewiston-Altura, St. Charles, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Wabasha-Kellogg and new member Winona Cotter.

Weather and field conditions permitting, the first pitch of the 2014 season will be Thursday, April 10, when Chatfield visits C/SG. Home games are at Caledonia High School.

The complete schedule may be found in this edition on the annual special spring sports page.