The Hartley Sentinel-The Everly/Royal News - Serving O'Brien & Clay Counties

By Mike Petersen
Sports Editor & Staff Writer 

Looking to continue the momentum in 2022

H-M-S baseball team seeks improvement in WEC finish

 

May 26, 2022

MIKE PETERSEN/SENTINEL-NEWS

Members of the 2022 Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn baseball team are front row, from left to right: Damion Hansen, Jonah Moore, Lawton Schiphoff, Jack Mastbergen, Ben Waddell, Blake Meendering, Aiden Bush and Dominic Tripp. Second row: Assistant Coach Jacob Riedemann, Ethan Diehm, Tyson Tessum, Trenton Vollink, Jacob Cates, Tanner Tesch and Head Coach Jeremy Gloden. Third row: Bradley Van Beek, Keith DeBoer, Keaton Graves, Nick Bronstad, Jordan Ortega and Evan Eilers. Not pictured: Jonathan Ortiz.

Coming off the first double-digit win season in seven years, the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn baseball team is setting its sights on even better things in 2022.

Graduation losses leave some important positions to be filled, but Hawk coach Jeremy Gloden believes the return of six starters puts H-M-S in position to build on the strong finish to last year's 10-12 campaign.

"Our goal is to continue the momentum we built last year with our program," said the third-year head coach. "I think double-digit wins are attainable."

Pitching and defense are two areas that have impressed Gloden in preseason workouts and a scrimmage with Sheldon.

"Our defense has been very solid and our pitching has come a long way this spring," he noted. "This comes with experience and consistency."

Having two-thirds of the lineup back makes it easier to fill defensive positions. Senior Keith DeBoer and junior Trenton Vollink return to the outfield. They will flank junior Ethan Diehm who is stepping into the centerfielder role.

In the infield, seniors Nick Bronstad and Keaton Graves will play at the corners, and sophomore Jacob Cates returns at catcher. Cates, an honorable mention all-War Eagle Conference selection, was in the Top 5 in the state last year in runners thrown out stealing, and Gloden expects him to have another solid year.

Filling the openings at the middle infield positions are juniors Tanner Tesch and Tyson Tessum.

"They have great chemistry and work well together," Gloden said.

Senior Jordan Ortega is H-M-S's "utility guy." He can fill in at shortstop, second base or leftfield when he isn't pitching.

Having lost 77-1/3 varsity innings from 2021, pitching is "a work in progress." On the plus side, Ortega led H-M-S in innings last year (46) and Cates was 1-1 with 15 strikeouts in 11-1/3 innings in his first varsity season.

"I think Jacob and Jordan could become a solid 1-2 punch for us on the mound," Gloden said. "Both can mix speeds and keep guys off balance."

Others expected to be in the pitching mix are Bronstad, Tessum, Tesch, Vollink and sophomore Evan Eilers.

"I feel like we have more depth on the mound this year, but the key to our success will be throwing strikes consistently and allowing our defense to work behind us," Gloden said.

He is also hoping the Hawks continue to improve at the plate. Hitters made contact and put balls in play during the scrimmage, which Gloden hopes to see during the season.

"We saw a jump in our hitting stats last year but this year we are looking for more consistency at the plate, and looking to avoid the mid-season slump," he noted.

In addition to building on the momentum of 2021, the Hawks hope to improve on their eighth-place finish and 3-7 record in the War Eagle Conference. Accomplishing that goal will be a challenge.

"The War Eagle in my opinion is one of the toughest small school conferences in Iowa – a lot of great teams with great coaches," Gloden acknowledged. "Every night is going to be a battle and we need to make sure we are ready to go every night."

 
 

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