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Adam Boben, Mahtomedi High School Baseball. ] BRIAN PETERSON • brianp@startribune.com Mahtomedi, MN - 04/10/2013

 

Mahtomedi’s baseball team entered last season with a lot of question marks and uncertainty. The Zephyrs ended up surprising people by finishing in second place in the Classic Suburban Conference with an 11-5 record.

Now, with a little more familiarity and experience, the Zephyrs are hoping to continue that upswing this spring.

“We’re definitely coming back strong,” senior co-captain Adam Boben said.

Coach John Hardgrove said he was pleased with last year’s outcome. He believes it’s something for the boys to build on.

“We have the marker of last year to kind of strive for,” Hardgrove said. “We knew we were kind of on the verge of things, but we’re in a pretty good league where everybody else has solid veteran teams. We’re hopeful, but it could go down to the last week in our conference.”

The Zephyrs lost beloved teammate and natural-born leader Jake Kuschke to graduation after last season. But they return some talent and leadership at the plate, on the mound and in the field.

Mike Baumann will return to pitch after an impressive sophomore season. Mahtomedi will rely on him for quality starts while giving the team a chance to win every day. Baumann can bring control, mound presence and heat with an upper-80s fastball.

“He’s a hard-baller,” Boben said. “He’s really fun to watch when he takes over the game for us.”

Junior third baseman and designated hitter Colin Baumgard will be expected to contribute at the plate. Baumgard pitched well during the summer and could be a key on the mound as well, along with Boben. Hardgrove is discovering a couple of other players who could be pitching factors as well.

Brandon Goodwin will be moving from shortstop to second base this year. He had a big year at the plate last spring and is now a co-captain with Boben and Jake Albin. Senior Matt Bonine is one of the more consistent players in the lineup.

The Zephyrs have power potential in the middle of the lineup, complemented by high-average hitters at the top and bottom.

They also gain new speed with junior Jackson Hull, who is a star running back for the football team. Hull has played summer baseball for a long time but competed with the track and field team during the school season. He was recruited hard by the baseball players this year. He will be looked at to fill a hole in center field.

Mahtomedi will face the usual tough competition in the pitching-heavy Classic Suburban Conference, especially with its rivals from Hill-Murray putting together another solid squad.

“I believe we should be competing with Hill-Murray for the top spot,” Boben said.

While Hardgrove believes the conference could come down to the last week of the season, the beginning of the year features an opening-day matchup of note as well. Mahtomedi and Hill-Murray are scheduled to meet on Monday on the Zephyrs’ home field.

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