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St. Wendelin Baseball

March 28, 2014
The Advertiser-Tribune

Coach: Nathan Viets, first season.

2013: 0-12, 0-10 MAL.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors Brady Rutter (C/OF); Brad Buhrow (P/MIF); Cole Williams (Utl.); Dalton Murray (Utl/P); Trent Whetsel (Utl/P). Junior Donovan Scudder (P/OF).

Others: Sophomore Zac Dixon (RF/2B/P). Freshmen Luke Volkmer (UTIL.); Brody Whetsel (OF); Cyle Smith (P/CF/IF); Justin Myers (1B/P); Devin Frankart (Utl/C/P).

Outlook: The Mohawks start the new year with a new coach, their second between last season and this season, in an effort to turn around the program.

"[Athletic Director] Scott [Brickner] made it clear to us that he wants this thing turned around the right way. You've got to start somewhere," said Viets, a fifth-year Tiffin University senior who was tapped for the top job after the original new head coach accepted a non-educational job elsewhere.

"Well, if we're going to do this the right way, we're going to teach the kids from square one the right way. So when they're going after a ball, they're catching a ball, they're hitting a ball, they're doing everything the right way," he said. "Literally fundamentals from the ground up."

The Mohawks have a lot to work on. Last year's small roster and even smaller number of pitchers forced the Mohawks to play just one non-conference game and 10 in the MAL before falling in the first round of the tournament.

Scudder (.357) and Buhrow (.300) were the only players last year to hit above .207.

The pitching corps also finished at the bottom of the league with a 10.23 ERA, registering only 46 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

Along with graduating four players, the Mohawks also must fill a hole left by a season-ending knee injury suffered by senior Nash Baker in the preseason.

Despite the challenges, Viets said he and the team are optimistic.

"I'm excited to work with the kids. Being a first-year coach, especially the first time coaching anything, I didn't know what to expect coming into this," he said. "It's interesting how you can go from playing and only caring about winning the game, to coaching and caring more about player development. When you can physically see the lights go on, it's a beautiful thing.

"We're going to win games this year. ... We're going to have fun, we're going to learn a lot about each other and we're going to surprise some people. And that's exciting alone," he said.



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