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PREVIEWS: Solon Springs baseball, softball teams kick off seasons

Solon Springs pitcher Kylli Rajala tags out Hurley’s Paige Ago (16) at home plate in the first inning of Monday’s game in Solon Springs.(Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 1 / 2
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The Solon Springs Eagles baseball team has some pretty big spikes to fill for the 2017 season.

The biggest loss from last year’s team that finished 10-10 is Ryan Anderson, the Superior Telegram Player of the Year and a first-team All-Indianhead Conference selection.

Also lost through graduation were Parker Thomas, honorable mention all-conference; Ian Klinzing and Adam Vandenberghe.

Key players returning include seniors Zach Rajala (P/C) and Tommy Androsky (P/IF), and juniors Chase Latvala (P/OF/IF) and Dane Banks (P/OF). Rajala was second-team all-conference last season.

 “We need find players to take the positions of the four seniors we lost from last year,” SSHS coach Nathan Ahlberg said. “We also need to improve defensively from last year, as it will help our pitchers pitch deeper into games.”

Ahlberg’s pitching staff can go 8-10 deep, which will be needed with the new pitching restrictions that were introduced this year in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“We have many guys willing and able to pitch, which will be really helpful with the new pitch count rules in effect,” Ahlberg said.

New limits include a maximum of 100 pitches in an outing, which would then lead to three days of rest. One days rest will be required for 31-49 pitches and two days for 50-75 pitches.

Others listed as pitchers on the Eagles’ roster are junior Ethan Skaggs (P/C/IF) and freshmen Owen Dickenson (P/OF) and Julian Lawler (P/OF).

Rounding out the roster are junior outfielder Nick Zosel; sophomore outfielders Declan Ross, Josh Smith, Christian Sellwood and Nick Stano; and sophomore utility player Alex Hunter.

After finishing third in the Indianhead Conference last season with an 8-6 record, the Eagles defeated Flambeau 9-6 in a WIAA regional semifinal, but then lost to Shell Lake 7-2 in the regional finals.

Hurley (12-2, 18-9 overall) finished first in the IC, followed by Butternut/Mercer (8-6 overall, 10-7).

“Hurley and Butternut/Mercer should be at the top of the conference once again this season,” Ahlberg said. “Hurley returns pitching ace Dante Bender, while Butternut/Mercer returns a solid sophomore class that led the Midgets to a second-place finish last season.”

The Eagles got to see what both teams feature as they lost to Hurley 9-3 Monday and played at Butternut/Mercer on Thursday.

Hurley jumped all over Solon Springs Monday with a six-run first inning.

Solon Springs got one run back in the bottom of the first but could only muster two more runs in the seventh inning.

Rajala suffered the loss. In one inning he allowed five hits with one walk, two strikeouts and two hit batters.

“Zach was not as sharp Monday as he was on Friday,” Ahlberg said. “Tommy Androsky and Ethan Skaggs did a nice job through the next six innings to keep us in the game, but we didn’t get that big hit with runners in scoring position.”

Androsky and Skaggs allowed three runs and three hits over the final six innings.

Stano led the Eagles at the plate with a double, single and RBI. Zosel added a hit, RBI and run scored.

The Eagles play at Northwestern at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

EAGLES EXTRAS: The Eagles opened the season with a 13-3 five-inning win over Northwood on March 31. … Ahlberg has an overall record of 78-122 in 12 years at Solon Springs. … The Eagles’ last conference title came in 1997 and the school is still seeking its first state tournament appearance. … Ahlberg’s assistant coach is Marcus Besonen and the team manager is Jonte Wright.

Hurley...................... 601.... 000     2   —   9   8   1

Solon Springs.......... 100.... 000     2   —   3   7   2

Solon Springs High School

2017 Baseball Roster

Head coach: Nathan Ahlberg

2  Zach Rajala....................... P/C           Sr.

3  Chase Latvala................... P/OF/IF     Jr.

4  Declan Ross...................... OF             So.

5  Owen Dickenson............... P/OF         Fr.

6  Alex Hunter........................ UT             So.

8  Tommy Androsky.............. P/IF           Sr.

10 Julian Lawler.................... P/OF         Fr.

11 Ethan Skaggs................... P/C/IF       Jr.

15 Josh Smith....................... OF             So.

17 Christian Sellwood........... OF             So.

19 Noah Stano....................... Of              So.

20 Dane Banks...................... P/OF         Jr.

21 Nick Zosel........................ OF             Jr.

Solon Springs Eagles

2017 Baseball Schedule

Fri., March 31....... vs. Northwood (W 13-3)

Mon., April 3......... vs. Hurley (L 9-3)

Thur., April 6......... at Butternut, 4:30 p.m.

Sat., April 8.......... at Northwestern, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., April 10....... at Washburn, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., April 13....... at Ironwood, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., April 17....... vs. Mellen, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., April 20....... vs. Bayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., April 24....... at Drummond, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., April 27....... at Hurley, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., May 1......... vs. Butternut, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., May 4......... vs. Washburn, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., May 8......... vs. Ironwood, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., May 11....... at Mellen, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., May 15....... at Bayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Fri., May 19.......... vs. Drummond, 4:30 p.m.

Tue., May 23........ vs. N-K (Wade), noon

Softball

The Eagles opened their season with an 11-0 loss to Hurley Monday at home.

Freshman Kylli Rajala pitched for Solon Springs, recording 12 strikeouts and three walks.

“It’s impressive to see a freshman step up and pitch the game that she did,” SSHS coach Brian Amys said.

Hurley scored five runs in the second inning and six in the seventh.

Both innings were aided by three Eagle errors.

The Eagles threatened to score in a trio of innings, including when Morgan Anderson led off the first inning with a single and stole second. But that’s where she stayed as the next three batters were retired.

Allison Androsky then hit a two-out triple in the second inning, but Hurley got out of another jam with a groundout.

Trailing 11-0 in the seventh inning, Allison Bailey led off with a single, but the next three batters popped out to the outfield.

This year’s Eagle team features three seniors: Bailey (1B/OF/P), Desirae Doan (3B/OF) and Taylor Blaylock (1B/OF).

“Overall our first game of the year, and playing a good team like Hurley, is tough,” Amys said. “We’re young and learning new positions and we only have one returning player that will be playing in the same spot as last year.

“We have a total of four returning starters, but again, most of them are learning new positions so we needed to see where we needed work and make the adjustments necessary to prepare for the rest of the season.”

Rounding out the Solon Springs roster are junior outfielders Ellie Burger and Holly Koivisto; sophomores Lilly Nordskog (OF), Morgan Anderson (SS/P), Androsky (2B) and Nikki Orozco (C/3B/P); and freshmen Lexi Vasseur (OF), Emily Pierce (OF) and Rajala (P/C/SS).

The Eagles host Northwood Tuesday. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m.

EAGLE EXTRAS: Amys’ assistant coaches are Vanessa Zeman and Pat Garay, and the team manager is Muree Ahlberg.

Solon Springs Eagles

2017 Softball Roster

Head Coach: Brian Amys

1  Lilly Nordskog............ OF                 10

3  Morgan Anderson....... SS/P             10

4  Ellie Burger................. OF                 11

5  Lexi Vasseur.............. OF                   9

6  Emily Pierce............... OF                   9

7  Desirae Doan.............. 3B/ OF          12

8  Allison Androsky........ 2B                 10

11 Holly Koivisto............ OF                 11

13 Nikki Orozco.............. C/3B/P          10

15 Kylli Rajala................ P/C/SS           9

19 Taylor Blaylock......... 1B/OF           12

20 Allison Bailey............ 1B/OF/P        12

Solon Springs Eagles

2017 Softball Schedule

Mon., April 3....... vs. Hurley (L, 11-0)

Thur., April 6....... at Butternut (W, 23-12)

Mon., April 10..... at Washburn, 4:30 p.m.

Tue., April 11...... vs. Northwood, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., April 13..... at Ironwood, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., April 17..... vs. Mellen, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., April 20..... vs. Bayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., April 24..... at Drummond, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., April 27..... at Hurley, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., May 1........ vs. Butternut, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., May 4........ vs. Washburn, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., May 8........ vs. Ironwood, 4:30 p.m.

Tue., May 9......... vs. Birchwood, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., May 11...... at Mellen, 4:30 p.m.

Mon., May 15...... at Bayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Fri., May 19......... vs. Drummond, 4:30 p.m.

Tue., May 23....... WIAA Regional

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