'Iron 10' leads the way
Stephen-Argyle American Legion baseball coach Chris Mills said communication has been key this summer.
He wasn't talking about the communication on the field about outs and who's going to catch a pop fly.
Mills is talking about communication in terms of attendance.
His roster, which he calls the Iron 10, is only 10 names long.
The Storm (26-5) has made the most of the short roster. Stephen-Argyle, which has made the Minnesota Division II state tournament for the second year in a row, opens against Springfield at 10 a.m. today in Pelican Rapids.
"We had kids go to camp or that stuff," Mills said. "We've had to communicate well and make sure we have guys there. Lots of nights we've had nine, but we've been fortunate to stay healthy and have the kids committed all year."
The Storm are led by the leadership of three 2017 high school graduates—Isaac Mills, Hunter Roller and T.J. Bowman.
Mills is hitting .384 and owns a 10-0 mark on the mound. Roller is hitting .397 and holds a 7-1 pitching record. Bowman is batting .285.
"They've really been the core and provided great leadership," Mills said.
In addition to what Mills calls his super seniors, shortstop and leadoff hitter Hunter Yutrzenka, a 2019 graduate, is batting .407, while 2020 graduate Dawson Feuillerat is hitting .400.
The Storm went 1-1 at state last year. It's the first two times in Chris Mills' 18 seasons as coach that Stephen-Argyle has gone to state.
The Storm lost two key players off the 2017 team in Justin Yutrzenka, who now plays at Minnesota Crookston, and Eddie Lefrooth, who now plays at Northland Community & Technical College.
Despite the loss of college-bound players, the Storm are confident.
"This group expects to win," Mills said. "Those experiences from last year led to lots of success this year."
Stephen-Argyle at a glance
• Coach: Chris Mills.
• Record: 26-5.
• State tournament opener: Stephen-Argyle plays Springfield at 10 a.m. Friday in the opening round of the Minnesota Division II state tournament in Pelican Rapids.
• Leading Stephen-Argyle hitters: Hunter Yutrzenka (.407, 2 HR, 10 RBI), Dawson Feuillerat (.400, 2 HR, 16 RBI), Hunter Roller (.397, 16 RBI), Isaac Mills (.384, 24 RBI), Ashten Safranski (.314, 1 HR, 16 RBI), T.J. Bowman (.285, 17 RBI), Stoene Spilde (.278).
• Leading pitchers: Mills (10-0), Roller (7-1), Yutrzenka (4-2), Bowman (2-2), Mike Jacobson (2-0).