Nate Skare of the Gophers slides into third base ahead of the ball in a game against GMLOK. SAM CLEMENS/CHATFIELD NEWS
Nate Skare of the Gophers slides into third base ahead of the ball in a game against GMLOK. SAM CLEMENS/CHATFIELD NEWS
Boasting an experienced roster that is returning eight letter winners from last year's team, the Chatfield High School baseball team is expecting to be a contender in the Three Rivers Conference.

"We look to be in the middle of things both conference wise and section.... If we get any consistent hitting we could be a very good team," said coach Brian Baum. The Gophers emphatically took a step in the right direction in its first game of the spring last week, defeating the visiting GMLOK Bulldogs via the 10-run rule in five innings.

Junior pitcher Tommy Jech got the opening game start for the Gophers and did not disappoint. Jech pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out two Bulldog batters. He was relieved in the fourth inning by Ethan Woltz, who pitched a clean inning in relief, allowing no base runners and recording a strikeout. Aaron Paulson took over the pitching duties in the fifth inning and completed the team shutout. Paulson walked one batter and struck out one during his time on the mound.

Offensively, the Gophers wasted no time putting up runs as the first three batters in the bottom of the first, Zack Eggers, Jake Neis, and Nate Skare, all scored. Those three runs would be all the Gophers would get in the first frame, but they continued to add to their lead throughout the game, scoring two runs in the next three innings and one in the fifth for a total of 10. Skare led the way for Chatfield offense, going three for four with two doubles, two runs, and two runs batted in. Neis also had a productive game offensively. The senior shortstop went two for four, scored three runs and drove in another.

The Gophers moved to 2-0 on Thursday with a 6-2 win over Caledonia/Spring Grove. Statistics for that game were unavailable.

Next up for the Gophers was a home game against the Southland Rebels on Monday, although the snow likely postponed that game, which was to be played after this edition went to press. The Gophers have another home game on Thursday against the Wabasha-Kellogg Falcons.