Titan baseball team set to begin season March 29
Last year the Tea Area High School baseball team fell one game short of qualifying for the State Tournament, taking second place in their region. This year the team will look to replace 11 seniors who graduated last spring while trying to pick up where they left off.
The 11 seniors included Dawson Portner, Gabe Glanzer, Trevor Welch, Carter McGregor, Cam Jensen, Marcus Bolin, Ian Bennett, Gavin Bialas, Alex Hofer, Trey Pearson, and Sam Cahoy. They helped the team amass an overall record of 28-12-1 last year, which included a 14-5 varsity record. The Junior Varsity finished with an 11-2 record.
“The 14 wins for the varsity ranks right up there with the most successful seasons in Tea Titans baseball history,” said coach Tom Babb. “The team’s strength was absolutely on the pitching mound. Overall the team put up a team ERA of 1.68.”
Babb will once again be coaching the Titans along with BJ Boom, Bryan Stockwell, Rick Willemssen, Rob Schramm, Chris Vasecka and Jeff Portner.
Despite losing the 11 seniors, Babb is confident in the returning underclassmen who contributed much last season.
Logan Boom and Nathan Babb are both returning starters and Kellen Sattler, Klayton Sattler, Chase VanTol, and Ethan Vis also enjoyed some varsity experience for the team last year and look to step into the role of starter.
“We have two returning starters and two returning pitchers,” said Babb. “We are excited to see who will step up for pitchers and position players. We are also interested to see if all the hitting we worked on will pay off during the season.”
The Titans boast a large roster with 45 athletes. Suiting up for the Titans this season will include seniors Braeden Wilson, Klayton Sattler, Kellen Sattler, Eric Munson, Collin Hamiltion; juniors Chase VanTol, Maddix Slykhuis, Christian Severson, Tyson Klinghagen, Brayden Jensen, Matt Halbur, Logan Boom, Jacob Bender, Dawson Barthel, Nathan Babb; sophomores: Boston Willemssen, Ethan Vis, Carter Turek, Clayton Schwebach, Mason Schramm, Cooper Ritter, Hayden Otten, Andrew Opland, Dylan Larsen, Gavin Johnson, Timothy Halbur, Teagan Dedula, Nathan Christensen, Ian Benally; freshmen Sam Werdel, Ben Vasecka, Riley Svanda, Marshall Smythe, Jonathon Schlunsen, Brady Sabers, Cole McKinney, Jake Ljunggren, Charlie Leslie, Kaleb Kuhnert, Gavin Kolbeck, Jacob Jongejeugd, Jack Gearman, Kayl Broderson, and Blare Becker.
“With our returning players, we will have a lot of speed in the field and on the basepaths,” said Babb. “Our infield and outfield will get a lot of outs with very few errors.”
Babb looks for Dakota Valley, Vermillion, Dell Rapids, West Central and Lennox to all be contenders this season. But he also looks for the Titans to be competitive.
“Many of our games are home this year and we will put a competitive team out on the field,” said Babb. “We have the strongest region in the state. We plan to compete with all of the teams in our region in hopes to make our first State Tournament birth.”
The Titans open their season up with a non-region game against Dakota Valley on Tuesday, March 29 and follow it up with a region game against Baltic on Wednesday, March 30. Both games will be at Tea and begin at 5:30 p.m.