It might be difficult to predict what we will see out of Kimball Union Academy this spring. A team that finished 10-3 two years ago, and came within a victory of taking home the Lakes Region League tournament championship, played helter-skelter last season. The Wildcats finished 6-7, losing in the semifinal round of the league postseason tournament.
"We had very high expectations for our team in 2019," said nine-year head coach Mike Van Dolah. "We were returning three senior pitchers and seven senior starters, including three captains. Then we had a two-year senior starting outfielder who decided not to play. One of our captains who was our two-hole hitter, our starting first baseman and our third starting pitcher, broke his hand and didn't return until our semifinal tournament game in early April. But I was really proud of the way our other players stepped up to fill those voids and take those opportunities with confidence."
The luxury in bringing back a veteran squad will not be evident this time around. The Wildcats return just seven players, only two of which were starters. Not a single member of the returning pitching staff started a game last year. Van Dolah understands the need to delve deep into the pool in an effort of developing an almost entirely new squad. The bulk of KUA's roster will be made up of juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
Among those coming back include seniors Andrew Hadlock (C/INF), Patrick Hyjek (OF), junior Tyler Wenning (OF) and sophomore Silas Nowlan (P/1B/OF). New to the squad will be junior Nick Bernardo (INF/OF), sophomore Bobby May (INF) and freshmen AJ Noel (P/3B), Mica McGinley-Smith (P/C) and Revy Mack (OF/P).