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Searching for more: Dickinson enters baseball season with higher expectations

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson junior Luke Herauf pitches against Williston during a West Region game on April 30 at Southside Municipal Ballpark and Astoria.1 / 2
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson senior Cole Anderson hits against Bismarck Century during a West Region game on April 26 at Southside Municipal Ballpark and Astoria Field. 2 / 2

For the third time this spring, the Dickinson High baseball team practiced outside on Tuesday.

A snowstorm forced the Midgets to practice inside and to reschedule their season opener against Mandan.

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However, not even the snowstorm could shrink the team’s expectations. The Midgets’ ultimate goal is simple — win a state championship.

“We are going to be right there at the end of the year,” Dickinson junior third baseman Luke Herauf said as he watched his teammates during batting practice. “I want to win a state championship and that’s what everyone else is here to do.”

The Midgets begin their hopes of winning a state championship hosting Bismarck Century in the season opener and home opener at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Dickinson’s starting shortstop Dylan Skabo said Thursday can’t come fast enough.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said with a smile. “I haven’t played baseball in quite a while and I’m excited to get on the field again.”

Dickinson won’t be lacking in experience and firepower, especially since a majority of its roster has multiple years of playing at the varsity level.

The Midgets have seven seniors, eight juniors and one sophomore.

“The expectations are real high,” Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz said. “We are expecting to qualify for state and then we’re expecting to do something at state. It’s going to take a lot of teamwork and a lot of dedication for the boys to make it happen.”

The seven seniors are Dylan Wallner, Cole Anderson, Brett Schweitzer, Tanner Hopfauf, Spencer Murphy, Mitchell Mehrer and Skabo.

The eight juniors are Alex Bast, Trevor Nameniuk, Derek Hugelen, Andrew Heckaman, Joe Mayer, Tanner Ihmels, Mark Erickson and Herauf. The lone sophomore is Michael McChesney.

“We have our seniors who are good leaders,” said Skabo, who is signed to play baseball and football at Dickinson State. “We have some juniors filling in spots and the younger kids are looking good too this year and that’s nice to see.”

The Midgets, which were picked to finish third in the West Region and fourth in the state during the preseason coaches’ polls, placed fourth in last year’s state tournament.

Anderson is perfectly content with the team playing the role of underdog.

“I like being the underrated team, because we can show everybody what we actually got,” he said.

Though the Midgets only graduated six players from last year’s team, two were front-line starting pitchers — James Kary and Alex Huschka. The two were Dickinson’s Nos. 1 and 2 starting pitchers. Kary and Huschka are freshmen at Minot State and DSU, respectively.

“We lost our two big guns on the mound,” Dobitz said. “But last summer with the schedule that they played, a lot of guys got some quality innings on the mound too.”

Those players, which saw quality innings on the mound, for the American Legion baseball team were Erickson, Anderson, Bast, Schweitzer, Skabo and Herauf.

“We don’t really have that one dominate guy like we had Kary last year, who was the horse,” Anderson said. “We definitely have a lot of guys who can throw strikes and get outs. I feel that we have a pretty deep pitching rotation this year.”