Patriots try to make it back-to-back conference titles

The defending Prairie Conference champion Upsala-Swanville Area Patriots look to repeat with much of the same talent that took them to the Section 5A final game in 2003.

Their toughest conference foe looks to be Royalton as they also return many key players.

But the difference for USA will be the experience of another year of varsity baseball.

Returning to the mound will be Junior Ace Dylan Pittman who started many games for the team last spring and is looking forward to doing it again. Head Coach Ken Solarz explained finding a solid number two and three pitcher has been a key along with finding solid bats that can produce runs. As of right now the coach is looking at sophomore John Fuchs to fill in the number three pitching spot. The final position looks to be a race between Darren Solarz, Adam Gerads and Justin Lampert.

“Our number one goal this year is to win the conference again. Number two is to get to state which would be be big,” Solarz said. “I feel we’ll be strong for a couple more years. On paper we’re looking good, but the game’s won on the field.”

Solarz noted that last season’s struggles at the plate were a result of a few things from the conference pitchers exploiting USA’s weakness. “Last year we were looking for guys to have huge years, but they had average years,” he explained as Solarz hit .450 as a sophomore and .300 as a junior in ‘03.

Defense isn’t a concern for Coach Solarz as he’s confident in his players abilities from last season as they went 13-6.

Pioneers bitter about end
After being bounced from the first round of the sub-section playoffs last season, the Central Minnesota Conference champion Pierz team is looking to capitalize on their experience from last season.

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