MITCHELL, S.D. – After only losing five seniors from last year's roster, the Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team will look too their experienced players to help guide them through the 2019 season.
DWU finished the season last year with a record 11-28 and 7-19 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Tigers were picked 10th in this year's GPAC 2019 preseason polls.
After leading the team in batting average a season ago, Reed Harter (Colome, S.D.) returns for his junior season. Harter notched a .328 batting average and started 38 games in the team's 39 games last season. Harter also led the team in hits with 43 and collected 15 stolen bases. Harter was the lone member named to the All-GPAC Second Team.
The Tigers will lean on the dynamic duo of Gavin Reichmuth (Chandler, Ariz.) and Dominique Boerger (Milbank, S.D.) to be solid fixtures for the Tiger pitching staff. Reichmuth pitched in 10 games for DWU posting a 4.61 ERA and a record of 5-4 on the season. He was also awarded the Gold Glove Award and named to the All-GPAC Honorable Mention Team. Boerger pitched in 11 games for the Tigers and led the team in strikeouts with 41. The two combined for 108 innings pitched of the team's 282 innings pitched last season. Boerger was also a member of the All-GPAC Honorable Mention Team a season ago.
"We have some good seniors that take a lot of pride in what we do" head baseball coach John Greicar said. "We have different guys that need to step up but we have leadership throughout the roster and it will take everyone to get to where we want to be."
Wes Anderson (Duluth, Minn.) returns for his second year with the program. Anderson will make the move back to shortstop after a year stint starting at third base last season. Anderson led the team a season ago in slugging percentage at .456 while also leading the team in walks with 25. Anderson finished the season with a .296 batting average, nine doubles, a triple and three homeruns.
"We are excited to see that leadership take over," Greicar commented. "We have a lot of guys that are extremely competitive whether that's in practice, in the weight room, or in games. I think that is going to carry over into the season and that is a good thing to be on a team that loves to compete and want to win."
Players new to the program that will be looking to make an impact right away for DWU is Tyler Torres (Novato, Calif.) and Gilberto Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas). Both players will be looking to fill the holes in the infield positions after transferring in from junior colleges.
More players looking to contribute this season include Gunnar Johnson (Gresham, Ore.) who appeared in nine games and picked up a win last season on the mound. Drew Demers (Winner, S.D.) appeared in 24 games last season and batted .273 and collected nine hits. Chandler Bakley (Martin, S.D.) returns after hitting a .286 batting average and recorded 30 total hits. Infielder Joseph Hanisch (Hartford, S.D.) returns after hitting for .258 and two triples a season ago.
"Our goal is to get better every day and obviously compete for a conference championship," Greicar mentioned. "We are looking to build off of last year and try to tighten up those close one-run, two-run ballgames and come out on the winning end of those games. Our expectations is to play at the highest level and become the best team possible and if we do that, wins and losses will take care of themselves."
The Tigers opened the season winning one out of three games on Feb. 23 and 24 against NCAA Division II opponent University of Minnesota Crookston in Joplin, Mo. DWU will travel to Tucson, Ariz., to participate in the Tucson Invitational starting on March 1 against Presentation College. The first home game is scheduled for March 12 against Dakota State University at 4:30 p.m. The GPAC opener is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D., while senior day will take place on Saturday, April 20 versus Doane University.