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Park River/F-L looks to duplicate last season's baseball success

PARK RIVER, N.D.--Replacements are in line for the Park River/Fordville-Lankin baseball team. The Aggies graduated four starters from last season's 14-7 team that advanced to the Class B state high school tournament for the first time in the co-o...

Jackson Hankey
Jackson Hankey
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PARK RIVER, N.D.-Replacements are in line for the Park River/Fordville-Lankin baseball team.

The Aggies graduated four starters from last season's 14-7 team that advanced to the Class B state high school tournament for the first time in the co-op's history.

The Aggies finished fourth at the Class B state high school tournament. Last summer the Park River/F-L program won the Class B Babe Ruth state tournament.

"I anticipate that those Babe Ruth kids will step in and do well,'' said PR/F-L coach Brett Omdahl, whose team is off to a 6-0 start. "It's one of the better Babe Ruth groups we've had coming through here. It's an athletic group.''

That group made an impact on last season's high school team. Jacob Erovick (.311) hit second in the lineup, Adam Zavalney (.356, 1 HR, 23 RBI) batted fourth and was an all-region pick and Nate Zavalney was one of the Aggies' pitching regulars.

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Omdahl anticipates five or six players from that Babe Ruth team will play significant roles on the high school team.

"We're a different team this year,'' Omdahl said. "We had a lot of speed last year and were pretty aggressive on the bases. Without those seniors, we might be a little slower. But we'll be fine hitting-wise. I think we can hit as well as we did last year.''

Other returning starters are seniors Landon Wood (.333), Steven Thompson (.302) and one of the state's top power hitters in all-state outfielder Jackson Hankey (.433, 5 HR, 28 RBI).

The Aggies also figure to be strong on the mound. Four of last season's top five pitchers return in Nate Zavalney, Thompson, Trent Carlson and Tom Magnusson.

"I feel real good about this team,'' Omdahl said.

Park River/F-L's region title last season ended Grafton's run of nine straight region championships and Class B state tournament berths. Omdahl said Grafton, with returning all-staters Tyler Kliniske and Marcus Niemann, again figures to be strong this season.

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