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.


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 •,

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


Chicago WSox 1 Top 2nd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Tampa Bay 0 Top 3rd Inning
Toronto 0
Detroit 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Minnesota 1
Seattle 0 Top 1st Inning
Boston 0
Baltimore - B. Norris 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Indiana 4:00 PM
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio





question of the day

Poll: How closely will you follow the Lynx in the WNBA playoffs?

Weekly Question


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