MUENSTER — The East Central Red Sox are hoping a mix of experienced veterans and newcomers with recent success will serve them well on the diamond this summer.
The Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League U18 AAA team returns seven players who helped the Red Sox make it to the SPBL semifinals in 2021. To that crew it adds six new players, including five who played for the East Central Dodgers U15 AAA provincial championship team last summer.
“We have a good group of kids this season,” Red Sox head coach Garret Korte said. “This group is very motivated and ready to get the season going. Our team is dedicated and ready to compete every game. Because of the turnover each season with all teams, it is hard to know how you ‘stack up’ against other teams, as every team is different each year.”
East Central opens its SPBL season on the road May 14 in Estevan against the Southeast Twins. The Red Sox home opener will be May 26 at Muenster’s James Korte Field versus the Saskatoon Giants. A highlight of the team’s home schedule will be a Canada Day doubleheader against the Parkland Expos on July 1.
Korte expects pitching will be a strength early on this season. The Rex Sox roster boasts 10 hurlers.
“So, we have the depth that is needed to play the condensed schedule we have. This team is also more versatile than we have had in the past. We have a little more depth in each position, which will help us manage through injuries, etc.,” Korte said.
Helping lead the Red Sox will be five third-year veterans: Dylan Smith, Jack Biemans, Zach Holaday, Cooper Isherwood and Riley Sylvestre. Second-year players Adam Korte and Joel Bauml also return to the team.
Moving up from last season’s East Central U15 AAA squad are Cam Marshak, Merek Yeager, Dallen Rude, Kacen Hyra and Carter Dosch. The Red Sox also add Bronson Paetsch. He suited up for the U18 AA Prince Albert Royals last season.
“With six new players, there will be a steep learning curve for them, as many of them will have key roles on our team this season,” Korte said.
The players will be mentored by a coaching staff that includes Korte and returning assistant coaches Chad Hofmann and Murray Bauml. Marty Yeager, who led the U15 AAA to the provincial title last summer, will also be on the staff.
Some members of the Red Sox got a jump on the baseball season with a trip to Jackie Robinson Baseball Complex in Vero Beach, Fla. earlier this spring. They were selected to go on the trip as some of the province’s top first and second year 18U players based on last season as well as fall event with Team Saskatchewan in Alberta. Hofmann, who was on the Florida trip, explained, it is another step in choosing Team Saskatchewan for the Canada Summer Games. The local players on the trip were Adam Korte, Cam Marshak, Dallen Rude, Joel Bauml and Merek Yeager.
“At Vero Beach, we practiced every morning/afternoon, and played a few intersquad games as well as a few games versus a team from Montreal and a local high school team … It helped the players get outside, compete and practice against quality competition, as well it will help them improve in certain areas of the game,” Hofmann said.