Amateur Baseball: Aces ready to find postseason successThe Red Wing Aces haven’t reached the state tournament since the 2006 season and after several near misses the Aces will seek a state tournament berth this season.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
The Red Wing Aces haven’t reached the state tournament since the 2006 season and after several near misses the Aces will seek a state tournament berth this season.
Red Wing finished 27-10 overall and 14-4 in the Classic Cannon Valley League, good for second place. That record wasn’t consolation for the Aces, who lost out on a bid for the state tournament with a loss to Hastings, one game shy of the state tournament.
“We’re looking forward to building on last year,” Red Wing co-manager Andy Gibart said.
The Aces have found plenty of regular season success, but that hasn’t translated into the postseason recently. Red Wing went 1-2 in the playoffs last year, losing to Miesville and Hastings and beating Dundas.
“The luck hasn’t gone our way and we haven’t played our best in the playoffs,” Gibart said.
Red Wing put together an impressive pitching staff and lineup last season. The pitching staff had a team ERA of 2.49, led by Gibart, who went 9-0 in 74 innings. Gibart had a 1.09 ERA and 36 strikeouts. Aaron Johnson went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and struck out 67 hitters. Johnson led the team in innings pitched with 77 1/3 and strikeouts. Also returning is Josh Thygesen, who went 3-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 63 2/3 innings.
The Aces lineup averaged 10.6 hits and 6.15 runs last season and the majority of the lineup remains intact. Red Wing co-manager Jimmy Bohmbach led the team in nearly every offensive category after hitting .326 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI. Steve Boldt led the team with 26 RBI and hit .319 while Adam Thygesen hit .323 and had 15 RBI. Zach Laffey finished with 25 RBI and a .279 average.
“The top of the order really carried us,” Gibart said. “Adam Thygesen really was a heck of a leadoff hitter for us. We expect kind of the same thing from him this year.”
Red Wing will welcome back Chris Guetzlaff, who took last year off. Guetzlaff will play his ninth season with the Aces and held down the leadoff spot and patrolled center field during that time. With Guetzlaff back and outfielders Boldt, Alex Quiding, Dave Jensen, Ryan Boldt and Laffey, Gibart said the outfield will be a strength.
“Our outfield will be the best in the state defensively,” Gibart said. “There’s no question.”
There will be infield spots open for competition, Gibart said. Last season, Red Wing rotated through several players at third base and second base.
The Aces did have some departures from last season. Brandon LaRue will not return this season and Augie Lindmark will be gone for most of the season. A return to Red Wing for Pat Kelly is not likely, Gibart said.
“Pat’s kind of a longshot,” Gibart said. “We’re hoping for a game or two.”
Red Wing will open the season against Hampton Sunday in Red Wing, weather permitting. The Aces have had their first three games rained out.
“We’re there as a team,” Gibart said. “We’ve all played together for quite a while. It’s not like we can’t win the big games, we just haven’t in the playoffs.”