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GGF Legion baseball preview

GF Royals

Coach: Nick Chine.

2017 record: 23-13.

Key departures: Rakeem Wright, Ben Carolin, Zack Murphy, Jackson Kriewald, Landon Kraft.

Top returning hitters: Brock Reller (.412, 8 HR, 39 RBI), Coby Tweten (.385, 11 RBI), Brenden Bethke (.254, 13 RBI), Issac Burger (.217), Noah Chine (.216).

Top returning pitchers: Conner Richardson (4-2, 2.49 earned run average), Bethke (3-0, 2.21), Tweten (2-0, 5.17).

Potential new impact players: Cade Barta, Peyton Lotysz, Parker Monette, Drew Montgomery, Parker Stroh, Zach Vodden.

Coach Chine says: "We're very optimistic. We have a good core group back. With Chine at catcher, Bethke at shortstop and Reller in center field, that's a good start defensively up the middle, and we have some really talented kids surrounding them. I think our strength will be our offense. Other than Brock, we don't have a true power hitter. But we have good contact hitters throughout the lineup and we have some speed at the top. Pitching will be the key. With Conner, Brenden, Zach and Coby, we have some good pitchers. We have to develop some depth.''

East Grand Forks

Coach: Garret Hjelle.

2017 record: 8-23.

Key departures: Will Rohrich, Evan Sczepanski.

Top returning hitters: Jake Hjelle (.489, 2 HR, 24 RBI), Carter Beck (.371, 16 RBI), Jake Osowski (.357, 10 RBI), Dylan Selk (.333), Alex Mushitz (.323, 10 RBI), Coby Stauss (.295, 12 RBI), Kade Spencer (.291, 12 RBI).

Top returning pitchers: Osowski (2-3, 4.59 ERA), Spencer (1-2, 4.62), Zach Johnson (3-3, 5.75), Ross Corbid (0-4, 8.43).

Coach Hjelle says: "We have almost everyone back from last year, so we're looking forward to a competitive season. I think we'll hit the ball well. We have some speed, so we can make things happen on the basepaths. I think we'll score runs. Our pitchers have shown pretty good control so far. They're all pitch-to-contact guys. As long as we make the routine plays behind them on defense, I think we'll be fine.''

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