Many of the faces that helped the Elk Mound baseball team advance a game away from the Division 3 state tournament a season ago have graduated.
Some experienced players return this spring for the Mounders but new faces will be blending into the lineup for 20th-year Elk Mound coach Paul Andrea and his squad.
Elk Mound returns All-Dunn-St. Croix Conference honorable mention Chase Rhude, who hit .353 with a .522 on-base percentage a season ago, as well as Blaze Todd after he hit .278 at the plate and notched a 3.61 earned run average in 21 innings on the mound in 2018.
Catcher Brett Lew and outfielder Nate Lew are back to provide experience for a Mounder team that graduated eight seniors from the squad that fell 2-1 to eventual state champion in the sectional finals last June in Chippewa Falls.
Those departures include all-conference first teamers Ethan Kjellberg and Dylan Black, second teamer Kole Ploeckelman and players that overall made up the majority of the team’s varsity innings on the mound.
Andrea and his team are hoping for a cooperative Mother Nature this spring as the more games Elk Mound can get in the better as those new faces to the varsity lineup can get some much-needed seasoning.
“Hopefully we will be able to get on the field sooner than later this spring to get young players used to the varsity level,” Andrea said. “We look to be in the mix for the conference title.”
Elk Mound opened the season with a 4-3 defeat to Fall Creek. Todd had two hits while Ryan Bohl drove in a run for the Mounders. Todd, James Javanovich and Bohl combined to allow three earned runs in 6.1 innings of the walk-off defeat while striking out six batters.
April—2, at Fall Creek; 9, at Durand; 12, at Boyceville; 15, at Elmwood/Plum City; 16, Glenwood City; 18, at Mondovi; 22, Spring Valley; 23, Pepin/Alma; 26, at Spring Valley; 29, Colfax.
May—2, Durand; 3, Boyceville; 6, Elmwood/Plum City; 9, at Glenwood City; 10, Mondovi; 13, at Pepin/Alma; 16, at Colfax; 20, Menomonie.