Broncos squad loaded with pitching

Luke Hansel boasted a low ERA and showed off his rocket arm in two quality starts last year against Burlington. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

A deep pitching staff makes life easier for any baseball coach.

Especially for first-year Union Grove baseball coach Nathan Meyer.

Meyer was named the Bronco coach last fall after veteran coach Michael Arendt stepped down to take the Athletic Director position at Racine St. Catherine’s.

“It was exciting to get the job and be able to run the program,” Meyer said. “I was an assistant coach for five years and have been helping out for the past 10 years if you count summer ball. At the same time, it’s sad to see Mike go and no longer be able to work with him.”

Meyer inherits a young roster filled with plenty of pitching depth. Meyer plans to use as many as 10 pitchers this season.

“Our pitching has been really good through two games,” Meyer said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the pitching because we only had two guys returning to the pitching staff.”

One of the returning hurlers is junior Luke Hansel, who tossed five scoreless innings, allowing one run and striking out 10 in the Broncos to a 7-2 season-opening victory over Racine Lutheran/Prairie.

Senior Zach Lehner also had a strong showing in relief, allowing just one unearned run on two hits.

“Zach and Luke are our only two returning pitchers from last year and both started the season well,” Meyer said. “We have a lot of pitching depth, albeit young pitching.”

Matt Keller fired four scoreless innings to earn the win in the Broncos’ 1-0 victory over Racine St. Cats last week. Cameron Drier then threw three more scoreless frames to preserve the shutout.

Other pitchers that will see time on the mound this year include seniors Guy DeCheck and Alex “Bubba” Rewolinski, juniors Cameron Drier, Carson LaPointe, and Jake Zimmermann.

“With the new pitch count rules in place, we’ll need all the pitching we can get,” Meyer said. “Managing pitchers will be tougher this year, like it is in the major leagues.”

While the Bronco pitching figures to lead the way, scoring runs figures to be the biggest challenge.

“We have to figure out how to score runs,” Meyer said. “We’ll have to find ways to manufacture runs this season.”

Senior catcher Alec Spang figures to anchor the offense after hitting over .300 last season. Sophomore shortstop TJ Manteufel will add needed athleticism to the lineup.

“TJ is a really good athlete,” Meyer said. “We have a lot of good athletes on this year’s roster.”

Other players that will see plenty of time in the lineup include, junior Jack Clark, Hansel, senior Tyler Gamble, senior Devin Schbiliski, and junior Owen Erickson.

The Broncos will face a deep and talented group of Sothern Lakes Conference opponents, with Wilmot and Burlington figuring to be the top contenders to win the conference. Westosha Central, Waterford, and Elkhorn could also be in the mix.

Where do the Broncos fit in?

Good pitching and defense figure to be strengths. Success could ride on the offensive production.

“We want to compete for a conference championship like everybody else,” Meyer said. “Take care of conference and move on from there.”

 

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