The Golden Eagles are entering their sixth season under head coach Chris Vito.
The Minnesota, Crookston baseball team will open the 2013 season Feb. 15 as the Golden Eagles travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for a doubleheader against Upper Iowa at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome at 6 and 8 a.m. UMC has been practicing since Jan. 14.
The Golden Eagles are entering their sixth season under head coach Chris Vito. UMC is coming off of a 10-36 (4-28 NSIC) mark last season including memorable victories against Minnesota Duluth and Augustana.
UMC returns four players that started 30 or more games last season in the field led by UMC Players to Watch Josh Brehmer (Jr., IF, Roseville, Minn.) and Matt Korte (Jr., P/IF/OF, St. Cloud, Minn.). Brehmer led the Golden Eagles with a .346 batting average, 17 runs scored and 18 RBI’s. Korte hit .317 on the year and was also one of UMC’s top starting pitchers appearing nine times with 40.2 innings pitched with a 2-6 record and a 7.30 ERA. Korte leads a group of returning pitchers that is highlighted by five players, including Korte, who pitched in 25 or more innings last season. The Golden Eagles also return Joe Miller (So., P, Winona, Minn.), who led the team in ERA last season, Ryan Paasch (Jr., P, Sauk Rapids, Minn.), Brooks Miller (So., P/IF/OF, Moorhead, Minn.) and Kyle Kleven (So., P, Larimore, N.D.).
In addition to Brehmer and Korte in the field, the Golden Eagles also return a pair of seniors who started last season in Jordan Prill (Sr., 1B/OF/P, Melrose, Minn.) and J.C. Crane (Sr., C/OF, Tucson, Ariz.). Prill hit .299 last season in 44 starts and was tied with Brehmer on the team with 17 runs scored and a .388 slugging percentage. Prill had 12 RBI’s. Crane hit. 229 last season with 40 games played, 13 runs scored and seven RBI’s.
The Golden Eagles also return a pair of players who played limited roles last season but will be looked for an added impact this season in Jesse Jennings (So., IF/OF, Robbinsdale, Minn.) and Jeremiah Friday (So., C/1B/3B, Rush City, Minn.).
In addition to the returnees, the Golden Eagles also expect contributions from their 13 newcomers to the team. At catcher Colton Haight (C/1B/OF, Rogers, Minn.), Mario Del Greco (Fr., C/UT, Eveleth, Minn.) and Ryan Haggstrom (Fr., C/1B, Apple Valley, Minn.) have been added to the fray. In the infield, Nathan Linstad (Fr., P/UT, Inkster, N.D.), Tony Madsen (Jr., IF, Mounds View, Minn.), Kameron Crandall (R-Fr., P/IF/OF, Zimmerman, Minn.), Cesar Espinoza (Sr., 1B, Eveleth, Minn.), Del Greco, Haight and Haggstrom will add to the team. In the outfield, newcomers Linstad, Crandall, Haight and Del Greco will compete.
As for pitching, newcomers Thane Larson (Jr., P, Grantsburg, Wis.), Richie Navratil (So., P, Blansko, Czech Republic), Jon Mittag (Jr., P, Glenville, Minn.), Trevor Buttermore (Fr., P, North St. Paul, Minn.), Marcus Campbell (Fr., P, St. Croix Falls, Wis.), Adrian Romo (Sr., P, Douglas, Ariz.), Linstad and Crandall will add to the pitching rotation this season.
The Golden Eagles begin the season with eight games at the Metrodome beginning with the doubleheader Feb. 15 against Upper Iowa and then remain in the dome Feb. 16 with a doubleheader versus University of Mary. UMC will return to the Metrodome Feb. 19 to face Valley City State University in a doubleheader and will come back for a fourth series versus Mayville State University Feb. 27.
UMC will then board a plane for the sunshine of Florida beginning with the Winning Inning Invitational in Clearwater, Fla., March 15-16 at the former spring training home of Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies. The Golden Eagles will have games against Upper Iowa University and Mansfield University during the tournament. UMC will then wrap up their Florida trip with a game against Florida Christian College March 19 at Tinker Field, the former spring training home of the Minnesota Twins.
The Golden Eagles will open the NSIC season March 24 and 25 with a pair of doubleheaders against Minnesota State University, Mankato at the Metrodome.
UMC’s assistant coaching staff for 2013 includes Dave Williams, Aaron Motl and Mitch Allore. Williams will serve as the team’s pitching coach and comes to the Golden Eagles from Minnesota State University, Mankato where he was a volunteer assistant for two seasons. Williams played at North Dakota State University. Motl, a former player who graduated in 2006, returns for his sixth season as catcher’s coach. Allore, who finished up his playing career last season after starting 43 games, stays on staff as a volunteer assistant and infield coach.