Marauders baseball has Dickinson flavorBrennan Quintus said having several North Dakotans on the University of Mary baseball team creates a comfort level not always noticeable in college ball.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Brennan Quintus said having several North Dakotans on the University of Mary baseball team creates a comfort level not always noticeable in college ball.
“It creates a pretty cool atmosphere in the dugout or on the bus,” said Quintus, the Marauders’ senior catcher. “You get along with everybody. It’s pretty fun.”
The Marauders have 21 players from North Dakota on their roster, many of whom played with or against each other regularly in high school.
For Quintus, he’s got a few of the former to keep things comfortable.
When Mary begins its season against Concordia-St. Paul at 6 tonight at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, one-third of its lineup will be players from Dickinson.
While Quintus returns behind the plate, Mary coach Brad Walsh plans to start true freshmen Ben Herauf and Tyler Steffan at first base and center field, respectively.
“We’re going put them right into the fire right away,” Walsh said. “They’re big, physical athletes. The one thing I’m not scared of is playing freshman. Do I think they can compete? Yeah.”
Quintus is coming off a junior year where he went .283 with four home runs and 31 RBI. Herauf and Steffan were integral keys to the Dickinson Roughriders’ American Legion state championship last summer and won a Class A high school title as juniors.
Walsh said his biggest point of emphasis to Quintus this season will be game management.
“The one thing that catchers have to understand is he observes the whole game, but everybody’s watching,” Walsh said. “As a catcher, everybody’s watching your demeanor and how you’re reacting to the positives and negatives.”
While Walsh expects big things from Herauf and Steffan, the first-year Marauders say they’re anxious to get back on the field.
“I’m really excited,” Steffan said. “Words can’t even describe it right now.”
Said Herauf: “The 6 a.m. practices are kind of getting old. But besides that, everything is fine. … It’ll be good to finally get some games in.”
Mary plays Minnesota Duluth on Saturday at the Metrodome and has a three-day trip to Pueblo, Colo., set up this month. They then take a five-day trip to Arizona in the first week of March. Currently, the Marauders’ first home games aren’t until March 28 in a doubleheader against St. Cloud State.
By that time, another former Dickinson standout could be back on the field for the Marauders.
Sophomore pitcher Kyle Schroeder has been nursing a nagging inflamed left elbow since the Legion season ended in August but had a favorable doctor’s visit on Tuesday.
“He gave me some OK news,” Schroeder said. “I can either deal with the pain and throw or medical redshirt and just rest (my arm) and hope it heels itself.”
Schroeder had a stellar Legion season for the Roughriders last summer after a shaky freshman year at Mary. He finished the spring with a 1-6 record with a 7.04 ERA with 25 strikeouts but was the Legion team’s most reliable pitcher in the summer.
An MRI showed no damage to Schroeder’s arm, giving him reason to believe he can
“I’m leaning more toward playing through it,” Schroeder said. “I did it during the summer, so there’s no reason I can’t do it now. I’ve just got to hope and pray it’ll get better.”
DSU women heading into big weekend
The Dickinson State women’s basketball team has just six regular-season games remaining, and coach Guy Fridley knows with each game, the importance of winning grows.
The Blue Hawks are ranked 12th in NAIA Division II and hold a half-game lead over sixth-ranked Black Hills State in the Dakota Athletic Conference standings.
DSU (16-5, 7-1 DAC) is hoping to get past South Dakota Mines at 5:30 tonight so it can set up a showdown with the Yellow Jackets (18-5, 7-2 DAC) that could tip the scales in the battle for the DAC title at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“We put ourselves in position where every game is the biggest game of our season,” Fridley said.
The Blue Hawks are seeking their first conference championship since it shared the regular-season DAC-10 title with the University of Mary in 2003. DSU has never won a DAC title outright.
Fridley said sweeping the season series against BHSU is a huge step toward accomplishing that goal.
“It’s big either way. If we win, they lose. If we lose, they win,” Fridley said. “If we can handle their defensive pressure like we did the first time, I think we’re going to be in a great situation.”
Blue Hawks to use D-I meet as a nationals warmup
As soon as the DSU track and field began its indoor season, it began preparing for the NAIA national championships.
With such a short time before both the DAC and national finals, coach Pete Stanton said his crew will be using today’s North Dakota State Invitational as a warmup for both meets.
“It’s going to be a highly competitive meet,” Stanton said. “It’s good for us to see where we’re at and treat it like a pre-conference, pre-national type of meet.”
Because of regulations saying athletes can run in just three events at the conference meet, DSU’s highly rated 1,600-meter relay team anchored by senior Ramon Miller is likely to run competitively at the NDSU meet for the time before nationals.
That group, along with several other individuals, have already qualified for the indoor national finals and Stanton said giving them a breather could help the Blue Hawks sneak in a few more national qualifiers at the DAC meet, which will be held Feb. 21-22 in Spearfish, S.D.
“It gives our fifth and sixth guys a chance to run an event they normally wouldn’t be able to run,” Stanton said.
News and notes
-- University of Mary senior wrestler Dusty Vliem was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference wrestler of the week. The Hettinger High School graduate had two pins last week. This is the second time this year Vliem has earned the honor.
-- Austin Dufault is on pace to finish in the top 10 of the Colorado men’s basketball team’s list of most prolific freshman scorers and rebounders by season’s end. Dufault is a 2008 graduate of Killdeer High School.
-- The University of Mary named Eric Synder as its new head volleyball coach on Tuesday. Snyder comes to the Marauders from Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.
Monke is the Sports Editor of The Dickinson Press and covers college athletics. Read his blog at www.areavoices.com/monke.