The numbers are a little higher for Stephen-Argyle. The experience level is a little lower compared to a year ago.
The expectations haven’t changed for the Storm, who have played in the Minnesota Division II American Legion baseball state tournament each of the past two seasons.
“We have to develop some pitching,’’ S-A coach Jon Labine said. “But I think we’ll be alright, that we’ll be a contender to move on again at the end of the season.’’
The Storm improved to 3-1 by splitting a pair of games in pool play Friday in the Robert Montgomery Memorial tournament. Stephen-Argyle beat Thompson 6-3 in its first game, then lost 7-4 in eight innings to Fargo Post 400.
Stephen-Argyle has only 11 players on its roster. But that’s one more than the team had last season. What it doesn’t have from a year ago is the one-two pitching combination of Isaac Mills and Hunter Roller. Those two, along with T.J. Bowman, completed their eligibility last summer.
“We’re a significantly different team,’’ Labine said. “We only have one senior (Stoene Spilde) this year. We graduated some good seniors. They were leaders; it’s hard to replace that right away. And that took away a lot of pitching.
“We’re trying to develop arms. Stoene threw against Thompson; he was an assistant high school coach this spring. That’s the first time he’s pitched in about 12 months. Easton Olson pitched his third game ever today; he threw three good (scoreless) innings).’’
The Storm do have experience. Spilde, Jason Lindgren, Hunter Yutrzenka, Dawson Feuillerat, Ashten Safranski, Collin Neuschwander and Mike Jacobson all saw regular playing time last season.
Yutrzenka, a hard-throwing right-hander, is considered the pitching ace. Lindgren and Jacobson also have pitching experience.
The Storm had 13 hits against Thompson, the defending North Dakota Class B Legion state champion, and 12 hits against Fargo Post 400.
“We will score runs,’’ Labine said. “The kids spend a lot of time in the batting cage. You put in the time like they have, and with the good athletes we have, and I think the hitting will take care of itself.’’
Most of the Legion players were on the Stephen-Argyle football team that won the Section 8 9-man football championship last fall.
“We’re fortunate,’’ Labine said. “We have a great group of kids. They all play a lot of sports. They work hard at all their sports.
“The kids got a feel of going to the state Legion tournament the last two years. They want to be a part of it again, to be a part of that winning tradition.’’