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Working on fundamentals: WHS baseball team looks to improve this season

Apr. 2—WORTHINGTON — The baseball season at Worthington High School is just about to begin and the Trojans are a team under new leadership this year.

In the offseason, Steve Robinson was named head coach of the Trojans baseball team. Robinson, a 1978 WHS graduate, was a star multisport athlete there. He now serves his hometown as a City Administrator along with his new role of taking over head coaching duties for the Trojans.

The transition for Robinson has been one involving getting to know his players, figuring out their strengths on the baseball field and working on the fundamentals early on in practice.

"I think the biggest transition is getting to know the kids and not having been familiar with most of them," Robinson said. "And so that has been the biggest challenge for me is getting to know you know them and knowing who plays what positions, where their strengths are, where they need to work on that we can focus. So that's been the biggest transition is just getting to know the players and where we need to work with them to get to improve."

He takes over a Worthington ball club that started the season 0-12 and finished with a 2-18 overall record last season. This season's squad features a mix of solid returning players along with some varsity newcomers looking to make an impact.

Veteran players Robinson mentioned that could make the biggest impact for the Trojans this season are seniors Tucker Bandner, Mathias Noble, Gade Grimmius and Brandon Bosma.

Brandner is a hard-throwing pitcher who features a strong fastball and a nice curveball. He also plays infield and is solid at the plate. The senior who was a captain on the football and basketball teams will also be a key veteran leader for the WHS baseball team.

"Being a captain in multiple sports really helps, you know," Brandner said. "(I'm) just trying to be a good role model for the younger kids."

This season, Noble will be taking the role of catcher for the Trojans due to some injuries on the team. Catcher is a new position for Noble, who is typically used to fielding as a second baseman. So far, the transition to catching has gone well for Noble as he continues to get used to the new role.

"It was definitely a change, that's for sure," Noble said. "It's a lot different than fielding, but I think I've had some good coaching and some people helping me out, so the transition hasn't been too hard and I'm definitely getting better at it."

Along with Brandner and Noble looking to continue making an impact both as players and leaders, Grimmius is also an experienced player at first base and Bosma is a veteran presence as well and is a polished outfielder.

A couple of impactful, experienced juniors are Ben Mahlberg and Max Ostrem. A setback for the roster however is junior Chase Byrne, a star football player and wrestler at WHS, being out for the season due to injury.

The team began practicing and preparing for the upcoming season last month and Robinson said it has been focusing a lot on mechanics and fundamentals in areas like fielding and throwing the ball accurately. He also wants to see strong communication within the team.

The team's first game is scheduled for Tuesday at home against Big South Conference rival Luverne. After that, the Trojans are slated for a game at Jackson County Central Friday before returning home for five-straight games. Their first doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday, April 20 at New Ulm.

The goals for this season for the Trojans are playing solid, sound baseball along with seeing an improvement in team record.

"We want to play good baseball, really. That's what we're really hoping for," Brandner said. "You know, we always want to have a good record, but it might not happen, so we just want to play good."

"If we're .500 Reaching the playoffs, I think that's a good improvement," Robinson said. "This wasn't a strong team the last year or two, but with the talent I see, there's potential and I'd like to see us .500 By the time we get to the playoffs and peaking at that time in play."