Witt-Birn baseball team turning to new faces on diamond

Bowler, Tigerton preparing for CWC-North play
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Photo by Tina Bacon Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School’s Kody Szews delivers a pitch during the team’s playoff game against Amherst last year. Szews will fill a leadership role this year as a senior and play shortstop when he’s not on the mound.

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School baseball team enters the season looking for players to step up after several starters graduated from last year’s 13-9 team.

“After losing several starters to graduation, the Chargers will be relying on inexperience and young talent to help earn victories,” Witt-Birn coach Dan Kapitz said. “We are looking forward to competing at a high level and showing how our combination of players, with and without much varsity experience, perform.”

Senior Kody Szews is the only all-conference performer returning for Witt-Birn, which went 8-6 in the tough Central Wisconsin Conference-East.

When not toeing the rubber, Szews will primarily play shortstop.

“I plan to help this young team slow the game down,” Szews said. “As young players on varsity, the game seems very fast paced. If the game is slowed down, it is a lot easier to play to your full potential. It’s easier to react to ground balls and pick up the pitches. Those are the keys to winning games.”

Senior outfielder Shane Herb and junior infielder Jacob Groshek also return with starting experience. They will also spend time on the mound.

Kapitz will look to the likes of senior outfielders Michael Gibson and Jack Stewart, junior Simon Stewart (pitcher, first baseman) and sophomores Bryce Zoromski (second base, outfield), Larken Betry (catcher), Ethin Hintz (catcher) and Austin Worzalla (pitcher, infield) to fill the remaining holes in the lineup.

Witt-Birn is scheduled to travel to Bonduel on Monday for its first game. The Chargers’ first home game is April 9 against Wausau East.

Tigerton

Tigerton, which is coached by Kent Wheeles, will need to replace a pair of Central Wisconsin Conference-North all-conference selections from last year, including co-player of the year Conner Harris.

Senior infielder Izaiah Hidde is the team’s lone returning all-conference selection. He and senior John Uttenreither give the team experienced leaders.

Wheeles also said juniors Austin Hoffmann, Allen Jobe and Landon Prey, sophomores Isaac Schoen, Mitch Zimdars and Kaeden Miller, and freshmen Zeke Griepentrog and Dawson Block will play valuable roles this season.

“I think the biggest challenge for us this year will be with how young we are,” Wheeles said. “Despite our youth, I would expect the kids to improve from week to week and game to game. I would hope they are going to challenge themselves to get better every game.”

Tigerton open the season at Almond-Bancroft on Monday.

Bowler

Of Bowler’s four CWC-North all-conference selections last year, three return to the diamond this spring for coach Brad Brei.

Senior Landan Kroening was a first-team selection last year and will play an infield position when not pitching.

Senior Ezra Spencer (center field, infield) and sophomore Lane Schultz (pitcher, infield) were on the second team.

Senior Anthony Creapeau (infield), juniors Zach Fehrman (pitcher, infield) and Dylan Bierman (pitcher, outfield) and sophomores Logan Thiex (pitcher, infield), Brock Strassburg (infield, outfield) and Adin Brei (pitcher, infield, outfield) also have starting experience for the Panthers.

“I will challenge them to give me all they got on the field and be a team that is in sync with each other to make this team achieve their goals,” coach Brei said. “With a lot of hard work, I think we could be one of the top teams in our conference.”

Bowler is set to open the year on the road against Crivitz on Monday.