MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team will rely on five seniors and young talent to provide depth for DWU in the 2018 season.
The five seniors include Brody Kunzmann (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Branden Oropeza (San Francisco, Calif.), Nathen Smith (Altona, Manitoba, Canada), Jonathan Shani (San Francisco, Calif.) and Steven Sagasty (Pacifica, Calif.).
Smith is the lone senior on the roster who has been with the Tigers since his freshman season, and will be relied upon to lead the team this season. The 6-foot-4 southpaw pitched 22 innings, notched 12 strikeouts and finished with a 1-1 record last year.
Other pitchers who will provide depth on the mound for the Tigers include Dillon Stadlman (Parkston, S.D.) and Gavin Reichmuth (Chandler, Ariz.). Stadlman pitched nine games and 35 innings last year, while notching 25 strikeouts. Last season, Reichmuth finished with 11 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Sophomore Dominique Boerger (Milbank, S.D.) will also add to the pitching staff as he led the team with a 3.52 ERA in his first season. He also recorded 32 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched.
"Nate Smith and Dillon Stadlman add leadership to a young pitching staff," head baseball coach John Greicar said. "Dominique had good success as a freshman and we are looking to build from a good fall. We also have a couple returners in Gavin (Reichmuth), Dillon (Stadlman) and Steve (Sagasty) who will work a lot of innings."
Colton Boudreau (St. Clement, Manitoba, Canada) will be looked at to lead DWU in the infield entering his third season. In 30 games played, Boudreau finished his sophomore season with a .957 fielding percentage for the Tigers. At the plate, he tallied 11 hits, a triple and two RBIs. Local talent, Landon Neugebauer (Mitchell, S.D.) enters his junior season with the Tigers. He played in 41 games for DWU last year with a batting average of .215 with 20 hits, two doubles and five RBIs.
Entering his sophomore season, Reed Harter (Colome, S.D.) will provide depth in the infield and at the plate. Harter finished with a fielding percentage of .963 and only five errors in 134 chances in his freshman season. He competed in 43 games and started in 35, as he hit .268 with 30 hits, four doubles, two home runs and 14 RBIs. Oropeza brings a powerful bat to the lineup and looks to continue his success he had a season ago. He finished with a batting average of .306, with 30 hits, nine doubles, three home runs and 22 RBIs.
"Something that our team possesses is that we have a lot of guys with speed," Greicar said. "That will help all elements of our game offensive and especially defensively."
Wes Anderson (Duluth, Minn.) transfers to DWU from Southwest Minnesota State University and will look to make an impact in the infield for the Tigers. Other newcomers who will be looked upon to make immediate contributions will be Hunter Christopherson (Vermillion, S.D.), Gunnar Johnson (Gresham, Ore.), Joseph Hanisch (Harford, S.D.), Drew DeMers (Winner, S.D.) and Dylan Vosberg (Phoenix, Ariz.).
"It's always exciting to get going," Greicar commented. "Our guys are ready to be back on the diamond. As a coaching staff, we are always excited to watch our guys compete."
The Tigers begin the season against NCAA Division-II Minnesota-Crookston at 3:30 p.m. February 24 in Wichita, Kan., and will square off against them again on February 25 at noon. DWU will begin the Tucson Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., on March 4, against Presentation College and will play 10 games in seven days. The Tigers host their season opener against Mayville State on March 19 and begin conference play against Briar Cliff on March 24 in Sioux City, Iowa.