Minnewaska returns solid nucleus to lean on

Darion Alexander, who posted a 0.24 ERA in 2019, leads a solid nucleus of players who are back for the Minnewaska baseball team.

Minnewaska's Darion Alexander throws across the diamond during a game in 2019. Alexander returns as the ace of the Lakers' pitching staff this spring after posting a 0.24 ERA in 29 innings pitched in 2019. (Echo Press file photo)

Minnewaska baseball coach Brian Gruber has the luxury of knowing what he has at the top of his pitching rotation this spring during a season where there are a lot of question marks for many programs after missing last year during the pandemic.

The Lakers have what Gruber called one of the best players in Minnesota to fall back on in Darion Alexander. Alexander set a school record in 2019 with an ERA of 0.24 in 29 innings pitched.

“He has some very good players around him in fellow seniors Aaron Ver Steeg, Mitchell Gruber, Sam Hested, Riley Johnson, Jace Lindemann, Adam Myslicki, Brandon Ortendahl, and Jackson Stadsvold,” Gruber said. “If some underclassmen can step up and play at a high level, we should have the chance to have a good season. It will just be fun to be playing baseball again and give these kids a season back.”

Gruber is confident that if the Lakers can stay healthy, they should be competitive near the top of the West Central Conference and Section 3AA fields.

“Top teams in the conference this year should be BOLD, Morris, and Melrose,” Gruber said. “Top section teams will be Paynesville, Morris, ACGC, and Montevideo from the area. The South half of our section has perennial contenders in Pipestone, Luverne, Jackson County Central and Redwood Valley. We are lucky to have many talented athletes who enjoy playing sports with each other and are highly successful on and off the field.”



SENIORS - Jace Lindemann, Brandon Ortendahl, Mitchell Gruber, Darion Alexander, Adam Myslicki, Aaron Ver Steeg, Riley Johnson, Sam Hested, Jackson Stadsvold; JUNIORS - Peyton Pederson, Logan Rood, Keygan Cruz, Alec Larson, Dalton Friedrichs, Derek Lohre, Hunter Johnson, Jacob Blair, Torii Johnson; SOPHOMORES - Blake Andreas, Conner Stein, Dalton Peterson, Cole Baker, Jack Larson, Jonathan Lanoue, PJ Johnson; FRESHMEN - Alex Panitzke, Austin Ballhagen, Austin Weber, Jack Majerus, Jayce Kovarik, Nathaniel Dell, Ryland Martin, Thomas Poegel, Dylan Alexander, Ross Thorfinnson, Gavin Cain, Mason Reichmann, Robert VanOver

COACHES - Head coach - Brian Gruber - 10th season, 124-95; Assistant coaches - Tim Riley, Chris Lence, Jesse Johnson


April 8 vs. Sauk Centre, 5 p.m.

April 9 at ACGC, 4:30 p.m.

April 13 vs. BOLD, 5 p.m.

April 15 at Montevideo (DH), 4 p.m.


April 17 vs. Redwood Valley, 2 p.m.

April 20 at Morris Area, 5 p.m.

April 27 vs. Benson (DH), 4 p.m.

April 30 vs. Osakis, 4:30 p.m.

May 3 at Pierz, 4:30 p.m.

May 6 at Sauk Centre, 5 p.m.

May 7 MaxBat Classic at Minnewaska, 4 p.m.

May 8 MaxBat Classic at Minnewaska, 11 a.m.


May 11 at Melrose (DH), 4 p.m.

May 13 at BOLD, 5 p.m.

May 18 vs. Morris Area, 5 p.m.

May 20 vs. Montevideo, 5 p.m.

May 21 at Paynesville, 4:30 p.m.

May 24 vs. New London-Spicer, 4:30 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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