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Hard work pays off

Kris Goodman watches the flight of the ball after fouling off a pitch against Eau Claire on Tuesday night. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Blue Anchors infielder Kris Goodman was familiar with Al Newman well before 2013, his first season in the Northwoods League with Alexandria.

As a high school player in Apple Valley, Goodman worked with Newman regularly to improve his game before heading off to play college baseball at the University of Iowa. After a strong 2013 season in which he hit .309 for the Blue Anchors and led the team in runs scored with 44, he was happy to make the commitment to return to Alexandria in 2014.

“It was an easy decision; I wanted to work with Al Newman again,” Goodman said. “I’ve worked with him since I was 15 and it’s always fun and I feel like I get a lot better.”

Goodman appears to be one of the Blue Anchors’ best hitters again in 2014. He is currently batting .280 with and leading the team in runs (26), RBIs (20), hits (37) and home runs (5) through Tuesday’s games. Newman said the strong start is no accident after his many years experiencing Goodman’s work ethic firsthand.

“I’ve been around Kris for a long time, since Legion ball when he was in high school and things of that nature,” Newman said. “He’s a hard worker, and I consider it a fruit of his hard labor.”

Goodman’s work ethic was noticeable after the Blue Anchors’ 5-1 loss to Eau Claire at Knute Nelson on Tuesday night. The loss was the second of a doubleheader with the first game being a 6-3 victory for Eau Claire. The Blue Anchors’ offense struggled to get off the ground, only scoring one run in the night’s second game on an RBI single by Jordan Lee.

Alexandria starting pitcher Blake Bass went 5 1/3 innings and only allowed one earned run, but was tagged with the loss.

After a 0-for-3 night at the plate in the night’s second game, Goodman could be found working on his swing in the batting cage with a teammate.

“He’s out here every day putting in a good effort,” Newman said. “When other guys are still kicking back, Kris is out here working. So he’s getting the results of hard work.”

Goodman had a strong season for the Blue Anchors in 2013, hitting .309 and leading the team with 44 runs scored. After wrapping up his junior season on the Iowa University baseball season, Goodman came to Alexandria ready to show some improvement on his 2013 numbers.

“I had major goals to do better than I did the year before,” Goodman said. “I think every guy comes in and they want to play at the All Star game.”

He produced a .284 batting average with the Hawkeyes this spring, scoring 29 runs and driving in 28 RBIs in 52 games.

“It’s nice to come from the Big 10 and face good arms, and you come to the Northwoods and you are still facing good arms,” Goodman said. “I think the Big 10 kind of prepares us to face these guys and be competitive.”

With a little less than half of the season left, Goodman is well on his way to another solid summer in Alexandria.

“Once you get playing you just let it play out and see what happens,” Goodman said. “I guess the major goals are just to try to get better and compete against all these good guys and see where it takes you.”

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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