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Todd Sommerfeldt: Parity is a big winner in MVC baseball

Todd Sommerfeldt: Parity is a big winner in MVC baseball

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The Holmen High School baseball team has a win over Aquinas and a loss to Onalaska under its belt.

Onalaska has that win over the Vikings, but it lost to Sparta.

Sparta was walloped by Logan twice, and Logan was torn apart by Aquinas.

Tomah lost a 12-run game to Holmen, but it went to the seventh inning tied with Central before losing by a run.

No one has beaten Central.

That, in a nutshell, is your MVC baseball report for this spring.

Good luck labeling any of the seven teams as a favorite after what we’ve seen during the playable days in a rainy and snowy spring.

“I kind of thought before the season started that there could be three or four teams right up there,” Central coach Nick Kalina said after his team beat La Crescent 9-1 during MVC Baseball Day at Copeland Park on Saturday. “I think there’s a lot of parity and a lot of good teams in this conference.”

Here is a quick look at just why each of the seven teams has a chance to become a contender for the MVC title:

Central (6-0, 3-0): The Red Raiders have tradition on their side (10 titles since the conference began in 1990), and their pitchers have held three of those opponents scoreless or to one run.

Central is young, and not too many players get more than two years with the varsity, but there always seems to be one or two underclassmen who make their presence known to the rest of the league.

The Red Raiders’ biggest battle right now is shoring up a defense that made three errors and allowed four unearned runs in 5-4 win over Tomah. They are probably the favorites right now.

Holmen (4-1, 3-1): The Vikings lost a bunch of talent from last year’s championship team, but have plenty to make a run at another title.

Holmen might need a little more offensive consistency, but it has a number of good hitters, led by leadoff man Jeren Kendall.

Expect it to remain in contention.

Aquinas (9-3, 3-1): The Blugolds have a dynamic hitter in Rudy Rott, who jumped from the No. 3 spot to leadoff for Thursday’s game against Logan.

Aquinas has a lot of seniors and a dugout filled with decades of local coaching experience. Coach Scott Bagniefski wonders if his pitching staff will hold up, but he has the same curiosity about other staffs in the MVC.

Logan (7-2, 3-2): The Rangers have a hitting machine in shortstop Jonah Waite (6-for-10, 10 RBI in three games on Tuesday and Thursday).

Coach Greg Meinertz was disappointed in Logan’s execution in a 15-6 loss to Aquinas on Thursday, but he expects that to turn around.

Onalaska (7-3, 1-2): The Hilltoppers have one of the better players in the area in Dustin Gordon and a good young player in sophomore Asher Freybler.

Onalaska needs to find some offensive consistency after scoring a total of seven runs in its first three games this week.

Sparta (2-4, 1-3): The Spartans have been all over the place with some really bad games — 20 walked batters in a 23-5 loss to Logan — mixed in with a surprising 1-0 win over Onalaska and 10-run win over G-E-T.

Tomah (2-5, 0-4): The Timberwolves scored a total of 23 runs in their first two games, and Alex Thompson is a good pitcher who can make life tough on hitters.

But Tomah needs more to make much of a jump this spring.

Holmen coach Duane Vike, like Kalina, Meinertz and Aquinas coach Scott Bagniefski, said he sees a deep conference. But he added that one particular thing needs to happen to shake up the top.

“Somebody has to beat Central,” said Vike, whose team plays the Red Raiders in a doubleheader Thursday. “No one has done that yet, so that has to happen for the rest of us to catch up.”


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