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Lakota Baseball

March 28, 2014
The Advertiser-Tribune

Coach: Terry James (16-26), third season.

2013: 6-14, 3-7 MAL.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors Jack Raymond (3B); Jacob Aaron (C/OF); Kyle Below (OF). Juniors Austin Payne (IF); Casey Monroe (OF); Jordan Jaso (IF); Nick Watts (P). Sophomore Dakota Gilbert (C).

Others: Juniors Jacob Stewart (Util); Austin James (1B/OF); K.J. Berkley (1B); Ricky Taulker (OF); William Riddle (OF). Sophomores Josh Mason (P); Hunter Chalfin (P/IF); Dylan Schelble (OF); Armando Palos (C); Josh Short (3B). Freshmen Madison Jaso (IF); Brenden Biddle (IF); Dakota Bowling (OF).

Outlook: After graduating the league's player of the year, Lakota looks to rebuild around around its pitching corps, led by Watts.

"We should have some pretty good pitching, and I think we should be able to hit the ball like we did last year," James said.

"Nick Watts is a good anchor as a junior pitcher," he said.

Watts went just 2-7, but fanned 79 and posted a 2.84 ERA en route to second-team MAL and honorable mention district honors. His 64 innings were slightly more than half of the total innings pitched by the team (122 2/3).

Gilbert (.286) will return to add stability behind the plate after earning honorable mention MAL honors, and Jordan Jaso is back after hitting .360.

But they and the rest of the team will have a lot of work to do to replace Tiger Jaso. He graduated after leading the MAL in batting (.670), hits (39) and steals (29). He also scored 20 runs and belted nine doubles on the way to gaining the MAL's top honor.

To counter the loss of power, James said the Raiders will turn to speed and improving their fielding as they continue to improve the program.

"Last year wasn't quite as good, but we knew we were building something. I think the numbers will stay up as be keep progressing," he said.

"I think it's going to be very interesting [in the MAL race]," he said. "Including us, I think there's going to be four or five teams that can win. I think it's going to be an interesting last year."



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