Alexandria features fresh faces up and down the lineup

The Cardinals' baseball team will be a new-look group to varsity this spring as players get a chance to prove they can compete near the top of the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-3A fields.

Alexandria baseball coach Jake Munsch shares a laugh with Nate Knoll when the Alexandria baseball team was able to get in a game under strict COVID-19 safety guidelines during the summer of 2020. Knoll is part of a big group of Alexandria players this spring who will get their first shot at making an impact at the varsity level. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Alexandria baseball team is running into an issue that many programs in spring sports might face this season -- a roster filled with athletes who have no varsity experience.

Bigger programs like the Cardinals are often filled with upperclassmen. That means this year is an opportunity for kids to get their feet wet, but it also leads to a lot of unknowns for coaches after every spring sports team in Minnesota missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic.

“We have no athletes returning this year with varsity experience,” Alexandria baseball coach Jake Munsch said. “Everyone is in the same boat, but having no varsity experience can be a challenge. We expect growing pains, and hope to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season when it matters.”

Munsch is entering his fifth season as Alexandria’s head coach with a 77-41 career record, and he said expectations remain high. The Cardinals will lean on playing fundamentally sound and understanding how to make smart plays on the field as much as they rely on skill.

“We have multiple strengths with this team,” Munsch said. “We feel our ability levels are pretty equal, allowing us a deep roster with players who can step in and produce. We feel confident about our pitching capabilities and feel we will contend in each game. Our players’ attitudes and work ethic are a highlight.”


Munsch views his team, along with Brainerd, Sauk Rapids-Rice and Rocori as some of the potential top teams in the Central Lakes Conference. The Cardinals join Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Little Falls, Rocori and Sartell as teams in Section 8-3A this spring, and Munsch said all should have good rosters that will make for a competitive tournament.


ROSTER - Will Suchy, Nate Knoll, Brock Lerfald, Connor Lerfald, Reid Reisdorf, Aidan Staples, Caleb Runge, Nate Hammerback, Dayton Downing, Lake Hagen, Devan Swerman, Elijah Holthaus, Devin Cimbura, Shay Endres, Grady Anderson, Parker Jendro, Clayton Birdsall; Registered for baseball but awaiting evaluation period due to still finishing prior sports seasons as of April 7 -- JD Hennen, Connor Cavers, Peyton Doty, Brady McCoy

COACHES - Head coach - Jake Munsch - fifth season, 77-41; Assistant coaches - Chris Koep, Greg Toivonen, Lee Backhaus, Erik Waage


April 15at Sartell, 5 p.m.

April 16 vs. St. Cloud Tech, 5 p.m.

April 20 vs. St. Cloud Apollo (DH), 4 p.m.


April 22 at Fergus Falls, 5 p.m.

April 27 at Brainerd (DH), 4 p.m.

April 29 vs. Sartell, 5 p.m.

April 30 vs. Moorhead, 7 p.m.

May 4 at Bemidji (DH), 4 p.m.

May 6 at St. Cloud Tech, 7 p.m.

May 11 vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice, 4:30 p.m.

May 13 vs. Rocori, 5 p.m.


May 14 vs. Becker, 5 p.m.

May 18 at Willmar, 5 p.m.

May 20 vs. Fergus Falls, 5 p.m.

May 21 at Moorhead, 7 p.m.

May 25 vs. Little Falls, 5 p.m.

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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