No stars, no problem for Burnsville baseball

  • Article by: BRYCE EVANS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2014 - 5:00 PM

Depth, speed and defense are the keys to Burnsville’s baseball team, devoid of top stars but still highly ranked.

hide

Zach Smith is the ace lefthander for the Burnsville baseball team. He doesn’t have dominant stuff, but he’s a “crafty, carve-’em-up type,” according to Blaze teammate Will Reger.

Photo: Photos by JOEL KOYAMA • jkoyama@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

By the time Zach Smith got back to the dugout, his teammates were already laughing.

Smith — the lefthanded ace of the Burnsville pitching staff — had just smacked a deep RBI double off the right-field wall. He scored moments later on a teammate’s single, part of a 7-2, season-opening victory over Lakeville South on April 11.

“And we’re laughing as he gets to the dugout, because he’s a little guy — really skinny — and never [hits] it out of the infield,” Blaze outfielder Will Reger said. “We teased him that it had to be the farthest he’s ever hit the ball. And he just smiled and said, ‘Yeah, guarantee it was.’ ”

“I’d say that’s about max power for me,” Smith said with a laugh.

Smith’s bat might’ve been the highlight of that day but, more than anything, his hit sums up the 2014 Blaze, a team devoid of the star college recruits it has grown accustomed to over the years.

Burnsville, which still earned a No. 5 Class 3A preseason ranking, is hoping it has plenty of surprises for opponents this season, Blaze coach Mick Scholl said. Despite Smith’s first-game pop with the bat, Scholl said, the team has little power. Nor does it have a true dominant pitcher; Smith is more of a “crafty, carve-’em-up type,” Reger said.

“What we have is a lot of depth and a lot of speed and good defense,” Scholl said. “We look around and it’s not like the cupboards were empty by any means. We have some very good baseball players here.”

Senior captains Smith, Reger and infielder Logan VerMeer were all-South Suburban Conference selections last year. The Blaze will lean heavily on their experience as they break in new starters at several positions.

Still, defense will be the strong point, said Reger, who plays center field. Although a number of positions are still “up for grabs,” he said, it’s a matter of picking between two good players rather than scrambling for an answer.

Catcher Camden Traetow and shortstop Erik Watters, both juniors, have had strong starts, Smith said. And Scholl said a number of pitchers — Brennan Pruszinske, Pete Nordgren and Jake Ruffing, to name a few — should help solidify what the coach had expected to be a “patchwork” rotation to start the spring. Reger, who pitched only four innings last year, also will take the mound more this season.

The South Suburban is one of the state’s toughest conferences. Advancing out of Section 3 this spring, something the Blaze hasn’t done since winning the state title in 2011, won’t be easy, especially with No. 2 Lakeville North in its way.

“We’re hoping to surprise some people,” Reger said. “It’s like Zach’s hit against [Lakeville] South, we just feel like everyone in the lineup is going to get a hit every time up. We might not have the lineups we’ve had before, but I think we can match up with anyone.”

  • related content

  • Burnsville infielder Logan VerMeer was an all-South Suburban Conference selection last year, but the Blaze has several new starters.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 2 FINAL
Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
NJIT 61 FINAL
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA Final Four?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close