DSU baseball excited to showcase signees and transfers in non-conference competition
The Blue Hawks have 13 new arrivals to their program as they head into the fall season.
DICKINSON — Finishing the 21-22 season with an 11-9 conference record and on the doorsteps of competing in the championship game of the North Star Athletic Association postseason tourney, Dickinson State University’s baseball program is ready to have a break-out season.
The Blue Hawks say they are fired up to start the season strong and to figure out where they are without last season’s seniors. With the departure of some key seniors, the coaching staff say that new recruits will get a chance to shine early and often during the fall season.
DSU baseball’s twitter page has been active throughout the summer with several signings of transfer students and high school graduates. None of the players signed have been local talents, but each brings a high school and transfer resume that is garnering attention.
Five of the 13 players joining the Blue Hawks this season are high school graduates who will be competing at the next level. Luke Clinton, younger brother of junior outfielder Jacob Clinton, and Wyatt Wilharm bring a skillset already tailored to the DSU baseball style.
The highest priority for the Hawks has been to fill the vacant shortstop position left by departing Angel Faras. The position remains open as of reporting, but will be up for grabs by all returning infielders and a select few signees.
“Obviously, we have a couple of returners that we feel can move over there as well, but we want to try and put the strongest infield we can, so we went out and found a couple transfers that can play middle infield and a couple freshmen that can as well,” Mike Dahl, DSU head coach, said. “We should have some good competition out there and hopefully somebody rises to the top and proves they are the best shortstop, and we can fill the needs of the other infield position from there.”
Among the difference makers being considered is Balas Buckmaster, who arrives at Dickinson from Pierce College on transfer from Washington.
Also on the to do list for the Blue Hawks is addressing the pitching rotation. Dahl says that in order to maintain a healthy rotation of pitchers on the mound as the season progresses, they sought players who had pitching experience in addition to playing other positions. Of the 13 recruits, six have prep and collegiate pitching experience.
Among the strongest additions to the pitching staff is Gabe Lundbeck, who is transferring out of Utah State University Eastern’s system and appears poised to garner a spot in the rotation.
Dahl said that on offense the team appears solid, returning eight of their nine starters from last season. That didn’t stop Dahl and his coaching staff from picking up seasoned hitters in the off-season whom they believe will make an impact if called upon.
“Recruiting is a big part of our coaching job,” Dahl said. “Our job is essentially to recruit an athlete that is better than what we currently have. That's not a negative or saying anything about our current guys, but myself and my coaching staff would not be doing our jobs unless we go out to find better athletes. That is how you grow as a program.”
The team are having their first team meeting this week and have weekend plans for the team to socialize and cement camaraderie with the newest additions to the team. Dahl said that an important part of the acclimation process is to also make sure they are prepared for the school semester.
“Really trying to give everybody the information they need, especially the new guys. What they need will make them successful as a student and an athlete,” Dahl said. “We got a team get together set up for this weekend where we are going to go out and play some yard games, a little frisbee golf course and grill up some hotdogs and burgers and enjoy each other's company and get to know one another. Trying to get them to feel comfortable really, that's all it is. To show that family atmosphere that we already have laid in as a foundation with our returners.”
Dickinson State University baseball will play their first fall game in a nine-inning game against Valley City State University on Sept. 13 in Dickinson at the Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark.The fall schedule features strictly non-conference competition, but pressure is on the newcomers to show their talents as early as possible.