Returning to play in 2021, the Blooming Prairie baseball team doesn’t have new or heightened expectations. What will be elevated, however, is their excitement to play.
“We won’t expect anything different from them because we missed last season,” said head coach Matt Kittelson. “If anything, missing out on last year should make them more eager to play and thankful that they have a season.”
Kittelson expects the team to approach this season like any other season. He wants to see purposeful practices and intentions by the players to improve each day.
Looking to improve and even earn bigger roles are a group of senior pitchers. Kittelson said Alex Miller, Chris Naatz, Luke Larkoski, Lane Lembke, Dylan Johnson and Jacob Naatz all will get their opportunities to pitch. It’s still undetermined yet which senior will take on a more frequent role later in the season.
“Most of those guys haven’t thrown in a varsity game yet in their careers so they each have something to prove,” Kittelson said.
In the first month, as the pitching staff shapes up and the roles become more defined, the Blossoms will face some of the top teams from 2019. The Blossoms take on reigning Section 1A champion Hayfield on April 22. Before that, the Blossoms battle Waterville-Elysian-Morristown and United South Central, both were two of the top teams in the Gopher Conference.
Also on the early portion of the schedule is Mankato Loyola and Lewiston-Altura as well as rivals NRHEG and Bethlehem Academy.
Starting out strong will be key with a packed schedule this month. Kittelson says just about every game on the schedule stands out as the Blossoms begin the 2021 season on the road against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton on Friday.
Fri, April 9 – at JWP, 4:30 p.m.
Mon, April 12 – vs United South Central, 5 p.m.
Thurs, April 15 – at WEM, 4:30 p.m.
Sat, April 17 – vs Mankato Loyola, 11 a.m.
Mon, April 19 – at Bethlehem Academy, 5 p.m.
Tues, April 20 – at Kenyon-Wanamingo, 4:30 p.m.
Thurs, April 22 – vs Hayfield, 5 p.m.
Mon, April 26 – vs Maple River, 5 p.m.
Tues, April 27 – vs Lewiston-Altura, 5 p.m.
Thurs, April 29 – vs NRHEG, 5 p.m.
Mon, May 3 – at United South Central, 5 p.m.
Tues, May 4 – vs Schaeffer Academy, 4:30 p.m.
Thurs, May 6 – vs WEM, 5 p.m.
Mon, May 10 – vs Bethlehem Academy, 5 p.m.
Fri, May 14 – at Hayfield, 5 p.m.
Mon, May 17 – at Maple River, 5 p.m.
Thurs, May 20 – vs Medford, 5 p.m.
Mon, May 24 – at NRHEG, 5 p.m.
Thurs, May 27 – at Medford, 5 p.m.