The snow is almost gone and the grass is peaking through thanks to the sunshine. This means it is time for the Lakeland baseball team to get back on the diamond.

The LUHS baseball team comes back one year after ending a season with a lot of momentum and confidence. Towards the end of last season, they were 5-10 overall and 1-7 in conference. 

With the combination of timely execution and good old baseball, they won five out of their last seven games overall. They also won four in a row in conference. That put them at 10-12 overall and 5-7 in conference.

“Only losing three of those seniors last year and they were great leaders,” coach Mike Wilhelm said. “I hope the six, seven seniors that we have will kind of build on that leadership to bring that winning mentality back to what we got.”

Helping them return to that form will be Michael Campbell and Parker Biertzer. Campbell hit .407 with a 0.467 on-base percentage. Biertzer is back after posting a 2.68 earned run average (ERA) in 14.67 innings pitched.

“We got about seven seniors coming back,” Wilhelm said. “Parker Biertzer I’m expecting to have a good year, Michael Campbell had a good year for us last year.”

They are losing a couple of real good baseball players. Gunnar Weitz and Jamie Slavinsky were second team all-Great Northern Conference (GNC) and Caleb Menzia was honorable mention. 

Together they combined for 38 hits, 27 runs batted in and hit all three of the home runs in conference play.

But there is still snow on the baseball field. That snow will have to be gone by the time they open up home games at LUHS. This will be tough, but the team is working around it in the fieldhouse in the meantime.

There is also a new change within the GNC.  Each team will play one another on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pitching depth will be key for teams as every team’s ace will get a chance to play against every team this year.

“What it does is it lets you avoid seeing a team’s number one pitcher twice in one year,” Wilhelm said.

No matter what, this hopes to be a year full of fun and smiles for the Thunderbird baseball team. Their first game is at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 against Medford.

Brett LaBore may be reached at brett@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.