Post 18 sees growth in 2014
Mitchell Post 18's 2014 season may not have ended with a win, but that didn't stop the team from improving and building a core to lead next year's squad.
"The eagerness to learn and get better from the start of the season 'till the end," said coach Luke Norden about what he will miss the most about the 2014 team. "It's a long season and I really appreciated all the effort and time the guys put into this season. They understand what it takes."
Post 18's season ended with a 2-0 loss to Brandon Valley in the Region 2A Legion baseball tournament a week ago in Yankton, but the team had plenty of individual success.
Two Mitchell players, Jed Schmidt and Michael Sadler, finished with season batting averages just under .400. Both were batting over .400 until the very end of the year.
"Both were obviously important to our team this year," Norden said. "Jed really thrived hitting in that No. 2 spot in our lineup and Mike was a great RBI guy and experienced hitter for our team this year."
With the team only having a few returning seniors this year, it gave a lot of younger players a chance to experience more innings, according to Norden.
"It's always promising to have guys that know what's going on and know what the expectations are," Norden said. "They will have expectations of themselves now when they come back."
Post 18 loses Derek Miller, who led the team in innings pitched and wins this season. Norden said losing Miller's desire to pitch every day and his close to 60 innings pitched will be hard to replace.
"It's hard to find pitchers that want to throw every game and that was Derek," Norden said. "He's just the kind of kid that wants the ball all the time."
Miller, along with Sadler and Dylanger Pierson will be the three graduating seniors from Post 18 this season. Sadler graduated in 2013, but was able to play with the Legion team after one season at Mount Marty College. The rules for Legion baseball will change in 2015, preventing players to return after high school.
Norden said players like Carter Star, who hasn't been able to see much time behind the plate because he followed Sadler, learned a lot this season and will have a big role to play next year. Spencer Neugebauer, who played at second base this year, will also be a key player moving forward, according to Norden.
"All our juniors as a whole, going into next year being seniors, will take that challenge on as being the leaders of the team," Norden said. "They will look to have a great senior year and I am looking forward to all the juniors we will have coming back."
Mitchell went 25-17 throughout the season and outscored its opponents 247-192, with a 5-4 record at home.
Norden said the team doesn't have too many offseason plans and that it's important for his players to participate in other sports.
"It's important for our kids to keep that competitive edge," Norden said. "Other towns and teams have other facilities and more kids that we don't. We need to keep our advantage by staying competitive in other sports and getting in the weight room."