Pine Island baseball looks to lean on senior-heavy lineup

(ABC 6 News) — With baseball drawing closer for the 2022 season, Pine Island hopes for better results this year after last season.

2021’s Section 1AAA tournament saw the Panthers fall to Caledonia, 12-6, in the elimination bracket. The Panthers also lost five seniors in the process, two of which were captains. Now, it’s up to seven juniors-turned-seniors to fill in the gaps.

"Definitely a few names that you can keep an eye on are Johnny Bauer, his brother, Nick," Head Coach Dan Drazan said Tuesday. "Johnny’s a senior, he’s going to play some college ball down in Kansas, NAIA-level down there, so he definitely can step in there and fill in for us. We’ll need him on the mound, we’ll need nick on the mound as well, those two will lead us from a pitching standpoint."

Coach Drazan also mentioned his fielders as players who will need to make the most of the spotlight.

"…Carl Schutz, look for him to step up, he was another all-conference player from a year ago. Isaac Dale, Sam Olson, Riley Kuehl is another one, he’s another one of our captains as well. We’ll need him to step up, he’s our catcher and our leader behind the plate. So, definitely, guys that can fill some shoes, I think there."

The Panthers’ original season opener was this Thursday, a home game versus Tri-City United before weather postponed the contest. Instead, the Panthers will be at Stewartville next Monday.