AA Baseball Looks Strong

Friday, June 12, 2020
Thirty-two Cherokee ball players showed up for initial practice sessions a week ago as Iowa high school baseball and softball teams were allowed to begin practicing. Teams throughout Iowa can begin playing games on Monday, June 15. On that day, the baseball Braves host LeMars Gehlen. Cherokee’s softball gals open Wednesday, June 17, in a home game against Spirit Lake.
Photo By Denny Holton

ALTA - A quick glance at the 2020 Alta-Aurelia’s baseball roster reveals vast experience at key positions back from a team that finished 17-10 and missed a return trip to the state tourney, losing in extra innings to Hinton in a district final.

In 2018 the Alta-Aurelia Warriors played in the state tourney for the fourth time in school history. In 2019 the Warriors missed the state mark by just two games.

So what’s in store in a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season?

All signs are positive and point to a promising campaign for the 2020 Warriors as they are poised to make a legitimate run at another state tourney berth.

Leading the charges will be six returning lettermen and starters, including Twin Lakes All-Conference first team picks Logan McCoy and Michael Ryherd. The AA pitcher/catcher tandem of McCoy and Ryherd also garnered all-district and coveted all-state honors.

McCoy, who will see action at shortstop and pitch, led his Warriors to a district final last year with a .471 batting average, while going 8-2 on the mound with a 3.77 ERA. He was the team’s toughest out, striking out just twice all season in 85 at bats.

Ryherd, a solid catcher as a soph last season and another tough out, was AA’s second leading hitter (412) and hit for power with three homers, three triples and a dozen doubles. Ryherd also led AA in runs scored with 48 and had 33 hits.

The good news doesn’t stop with McCoy and Ryherd. There’s more. A lot more.

Also returning is junior veteran second sacker Trey Engelmann, a second team all-district and all- conference selection and the team’s third leading hitter at .384.

Next is on the list is junior third baseman Cade Rohwer, who was the fifth best hitter on last year’s squad with a .341 average. He also finished with 24 RBIs. Then comes another Mccoy - Preston, the younger sophomore brother of Logan. As a frosh, Preston fanned 45 and pitched in 11 games for the Warriors and sported a 3.67 ERA, second best on the team to senior graduate Keaton Mork’s 3.11 ERA. Logan had a 3.77 ERA and fanned 68.

Preston pitched 42 innings a year ago compared to big brother Logan’s 52 innings of work.

Another talented player back for the Warriors is senior outfielder Levi Sleezer. A fierce competitor, Sleezer will be looked upon to pick up the slack left by graduation losses of Conrad Falk, Keaton Mork and Aric Stephan. Also not on the roster this summer is Anthony Krier, who did not report for practice this summer.

AA Coach Ryan Burkhart also cited Oliver Peterson, Ryan Jensen, Tate Brechwald and Teagan Meyer as top prospect to fill lost starters from a year ago.

“I look for our baselining to be improved this year,” said Burkhart. “We lost some power at the plate, but I think we can make up for some the power bats with speed and aggressiveness.”

Burkhart continued, “and I think our pitching staff will be a huge factor. We’ll have to throw strikes and be efficient with out pitches so we can go deeper into the games and manage workloads.”

A year ago, AA finished second to Pocahontas Area (9-1) in the 12-team Twin Lakes Conference race at 8-3.

AA will open the season Monday at home here against South Central Calhoun in a JV/V doubleheader beginning at 5:30p.m. and then on Tuesday at home again against Sioux Central.

AA BASEBALL SCHEDULE

June 15 - South Central Calhoun at AA, 5:30p.m.

June 16 - Sioux Central at AA, 5:30p.m.

June 18 - AA at Lawton-Bronson, 5:30p.m.

June 19 - AA at Manson NW, 5:30p.m.

June 22 - West Bend-Mallard at AA, 5:30p.m.

June 23 - Akron-Westfield at AA, 5:30p.m.

June 24 - AA at Emmetsburg, 5:30p.m.

June 25 - GTRA at AA, 5:30p.m.

June 29 - AA at Sioux Central (Peterson), 5:30p.m.

June 30 - Coon Rapids-Bayard at AA, 5:30p.m.

July 1 - Denison-Schleswig at AA, 5:30p.m.

July 2 - SL St. Mary’s at AA, 5:30p.m.

July 3 - Sioux City West at AA, 5:30p.m.

July 6 - AA at Cherokee, 5:30p.m.

July 7 - Emmetsburg at AA, 5:30p.m.

July 9 - AA at Spencer, 5:30p.m.

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