Chapman returns to lead always-dangerous Wolverines

Aaron Chapman showed off his hitting skills with a .389 batting average as a junior. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Chris Bennett

Sports Correspondent

The Wolverines scored four runs on eight hits and won their season opener 4-2 March 27 at home against Racine Case in a high school baseball game.

The Wolverines were scheduled to play a non-conference game Wednesday at Oconomowoc and open Southern Lakes Conference play Thursday at home against Wilmot.

Waterford is scheduled to play a non-conference game today at home against Racine Horlick.

Against Case (0-1), Waterford (1-0) scored three runs in the fourth inning and added another in the fifth. Aaron Chapman finished 3-for-4 and Brendon Snyder went 2-for-3 for Waterford.

Waterford pitchers Zach Guenther, Zach Stiewe and Devin Baumgartner combined for 10 strikeouts over seven innings.

Wolverines coach Lance Bestland is entering his 26th season in charge of the program. Bestland teaches math at Waterford.

Waterford graduates nine starters from a team that finished 18-8 overall last season and 9-5 in the SLC, good for third place.

The Wolverines’ 2017 season ended a game short of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. Waterford lost 11-0 to Burlington June 6 in a sectional final.

Hope springs eternal at the start of every season for every team, but there are a lot of legitimate reasons for optimism among the Wolverines.

Waterford is strong up the middle and features a number of players who can toe the rubber – even after losing 95 percent of innings pitched from last season to graduation.

“The center of the diamond will be very strong with Aaron and Andrew Chapman as the middle infielders,” Bestland said. “Ben Bergeron is a strong defensive catcher that throws well.”

Aaron Chapman will line up shortstop and Andrew Chapman will play second base. Stiewe, John Ermer, Guenther and Boyd Biggs can pitch, as can Andrew Chapman.

Patrick Goldammer, Michael Schimelfenyg and Brendon Synder are key returnees in the outfield.

Bestland said he expects the Wolverines will be competitive throughout the season but might start the season a little slow.

“We will improve throughout the year as I get to know the players and as they come together,” Bestland said. “We have great depth in pitching, which will help keep our pitchers fresh.

“Hitting is always a question early in the year. The top of our lineup has had success in the past and will hopefully continue throughout the season.”

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