Titan baseball team anchored with 13 seniors
Last year saw a lot of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 high school baseball season was one of them. This year, however, high school sports have been able to go on as planned with COVID-19 protocols in place and Tea Area High School baseball is on the verge of starting their 2021 season.
“Going through Covid definitely gives you a greater sense of appreciation for ensuring the safety of our athletes and the continuation of a full season,” said Titan coach Jeff Portner. “With missing an entire season, we will rely heavily on our 13 seniors to lead the team in terms of preparing for the season and setting the tone for our growth. With the loss of last year, we have limited knowledge of other teams in our Region and overall numbers that they will have for their teams. This will allow us to focus on ourselves and the overall development of our program.”
Coaching the Titans this season will be Portner, Tom Babb, BJ Boom, Jason Ljunggren, Bryan Stockwell, Rob Schramm, and Rick Willemmsen.
First year head coach, Babb, is excited about the baseball program featuring a record number 39 players—13 seniors, three juniors, ten sophomores and 13 freshmen. The Titans will be able to field three teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity and a sophomore/freshman team.
Highlighting the varsity team will be the strong senior leadership. Seniors on the team include Gabe Glanzer, Alex Hofer, Gavin Bialas, Cameron Jensen, Eli Frank, Sam Cahoy, Ian Bennett, Dawson Portner, Trey Pearson, Carter McGregor, Montana Redday, Marcus Bolin, and Trevor Welch.
“While all the seniors have played together for years, mixing in the younger players that will help this team is critical,” said Portner. “We also need to get healthy and remain healthy this season—Covid and otherwise.”
The athletes have been practicing for months now and are ready to see what they have on the field and in competition against other quality programs in the area.
“Between our three teams, we have nearly 50 games on the schedule and we look to be competitive at the Varsity,” said Portner. “In addition we will get some great development and experience out of our younger classes that will need to step in this season, as well as replacing those 13 seniors next year.”
The Titans play in a tough Region that has some great competition, including the reigning state champions—Lennox, who the Titans will face off against on April 9 in Lennox. But before that match-up the Titans will open the 2021 season this Friday, March 26 at Dakota Valley. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.
The Titans will hold their home opener on Monday, March 29 when they host Vermillion. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.
A complete varsity schedule is as follows: April 9 @ Lennox, 5:30pm; April 10 @ McCook Central/Montrose, 2pm; April 16 vs. Try-Valley, Home, 5:30pm; April 19 @ Renner vs. SFC, 5:30pm; April 21 @ West Central, 5:30pm; April 29 vs. Garretson, Home, 6:30pm; April 30 vs. Beresford, Home, 5:30pm; May 10 vs. SFC, Home, 5:30pm; May 12 @ Baltic, 5:30pm; May 14 vs. Flandreau, Home, 5:30pm; May 17 vs. Roosevelt JV, Home, 5:30pm; May 18 @ Dell Rapids/St. Mary, 5:30pm. Regions are slated to be held May 24-26 with the State Tournament set for May 31 and June 1 at the Sioux Falls Canaries Stadium.