For most baseball teams in northern Wisconsin, 2013 was a half-season.
Fields remained covered with snow a month after practices were to begin, and 24-game schedules were condensed down to six doubleheaders over the course of a few weeks.
The bizarre season left many shaking their heads, but despite the weather, local players still managed to put together a solid season.
Joining senior Tyler Long on this year’s team are one sophomore, two juniors and seven seniors. Also nominated was Northwood sophomore Kacey Block.
For senior captain Joe Androsky, a full season would surely have been preferable to the 12 games the Eagles managed this year. But even with the season cut in half, Androsky made an impression this year.
“It will be hard to replace his leadership on our team,” said Nathan Ahlberg, Solon Springs head coach.
Androsky led the team in hits, batting average and RBIs and tied for the lead in on-base percentage. He had 11 hits in 26 at bats for a .423 batting average and a .615 on-base percentage. The senior also had nine RBIs and a .538 slugging percentage.
At catcher, Androsky finished the season with no errors and five assists.
He was a first team selection for the 2013 Indianhead All-Conference Team.
The Northwood Evergreens are accustomed to a clear baseball field in early spring. Snow kept the team indoors this year and limited the season to just 10 games, but sophomore Mason Barth helped keep the team in good spirits
“Mason was very upbeat,” Evergreens coach Chad Barth said. “He always had a good attitude, and he kept the other players upbeat.”
Mason Barth had a solid year at third base and served as the leadoff batter for the Evergreens. He batted about .400 for the season and had an on-base percentage of almost .678.
Barth named to the East Lakeland All-Conference Team
On a very young Evergreens team, junior Josh Downs was the oldest player on the field. He was expected to provide an example for the younger players, and he embraced that role, said coach Chad Barth.
“He put leadership on the field, and he was always encouraging,” Barth said. “And what a hitter.”
Downs led the Evergreens at the plate with a .600 batting average.
At center field, he was perfect with no errors, and he also assumed pitching duties for Northwood as needed.
“He was a good leader for our team,” Barth said.
Downs was named to the East Lakeland All-Conference Team.
The Northwestern Tigers entered the 2013 baseball season with many questions marks.
Senior Tanner Follis provided stability for the team at second base and pitcher.
“As one of only two players returning with any varsity experience Tanner was looked upon to provide leadership for a young team,” said David Crail, Northwestern head coach. “Even during a rough season, Tanner embraced this role and provided a great example of what it means to compete on a daily basis.”
Follis was named to the Heart O’ North All-Conference second team.
Senior Andy Glonek was fast on his feet and nimble with his glove for the Superior Spartans this year.
“He makes all the routine plays, plus many of the difficult plays as well,” said Don Dembroski, head coach of the Spartans. “He came up with more diving stops than anyone on our team. He played so well at second base that we almost moved him to the left side of the infield at one point, but in the end we figured that if it ain’t broke where he is, don’t fix it.”
Glonek finished with 31 assists and 13 putouts at second base. He had a hand in turning four double plays and ended the year with a .978 fielding percentage.
“He made just one error all season, and it was probably a half-error, as a little better throw and a little better stretch might have made the difference; plus it was on a play where he had to get dirty, just to make the stop.”
The Spartans named Glonek the team’s defensive MVP this year.
Nik Mattson spent time on the mound and behind the plate for the Spartans this season.
As a catcher he had 68 putouts and a .988 fielding percentage. As a pitcher he went 2-1 and handed Lake Superior Conference champion Cloquet its only loss of the season.
“Nik was a solid catcher for us and really made it hard for me to even consider pitching him at times because of how good he was behind the plate,” Dembroski said. “Nik receives and blocks very well and has a very strong arm. Nik was also one of our best hitters all season.”
Mattson hit over .400 in conference play and .326 overall. He tied for the team lead in RBIs with nine and had 14 hits for Superior.
Mattson was named to the LSC All-Conference first team and received the Spartan Award this year, which is awarded based on character and overall value to the team.
Whether pitching, fielding for batting, Taavi Mattson had a strong season for the Spartans.
“Taavi had a great year offensively for us and ended up batting cleanup for much of the season,” Dembroski said.
The junior held the third highest batting average on the team (.312) and led the team in on-base percentage (.542).
“Taavi also has a great eye, leading the team in walks with 15 and had the third most RBIs,” Dembroski said.
Mattson pitched and played infield for the Spartans. He pitched in five games, earning one save and holding opponents to a .267 batting average.
“His ability to throw strikes made him a valuable relief pitcher,” Dembroski said.
An already short season was shortened further for senior Brett Missinne due to injury. The senior infielder played in 10 of the Eagles’ 12 games this season.
“Brett was limited due to an ankle injury during the regular season but played very well during the postseason,” Ahlberg said.
During postseason play Missinne hit .500, with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs, all of which led the team.
For the season, he was the team leader in triples and tied for the lead in RBIs. Missinne had two doubles and two triples among his seven hits in 24 at bats. He finished the season with a .292 batting average, a .419 on-base percentage and a .542 slugging percentage.
“Another of our seniors who will be difficult to replace,” Ahlberg said.
As a junior, Grant Rindal was unhittable on the mound. In his senior year, he was the offensive MVP for the Spartans.
“Grant will always be remembered as an excellent pitcher in our program. Not many people get to pitch varsity as a freshmen,” Dembroski said. “However, Grant had a great year offensively and improved significantly in that area from last year.”
Rindal led Superior in batting average (.385) and hits (15) for the season. He had three doubles and 10 walks to give him an on-base percentage of .520, which Dembroski said made him “a great guy to have near the top of the lineup this season.”
On defense Rindal split his time between the infield and pitching. He held a 1-1 pitching record with 19 strikeouts and just one walk in 13 innings pitched. He finished the season with a 1.62 ERA.
Rindal will be attending the College of St. Scholastica next year and will play baseball for the Saints. He was named to the LSC All-Conference first team this season.
Colton Yepma was Superior’s workhorse on the mound this season. He led the team in wins, innings pitched and tied for strikeouts.
“Colton was eager to pitch every time he was given an opportunity and really helped log some innings for us this season,” Dembroski said. “Colton made some great strides in pitching during his career at SHS.”
The senior held a 3-0 pitching record this season with one no decision. He had 19 strikeouts in 21 innings with a 2.33 ERA.
On offense, Yepma had seven hits for Superior to go along with a .414 on-base percentage and a .872 slugging percentage.
Yepma was named to the LSC All-Conference second team.