The Pequot Lakes Patriots baseball team opens the season with a veteran lineup, especially on the pitching mound where they return three senior pitchers who had a combined earned-run average of 3.32 with 11 wins.
Those starting pitchers included seniors Marcus Klein and Austin Meister, who both had four wins, and Cameron Anderson, who won three games. Meister compiled a team-high 29 strikeouts and a 4.79 ERA, Anderson had 23 strikeouts and a team-leading 1.95 ERA and Klein had 16 strikeouts and an admirable 2.33 ERA.
"We should also have a good team speed allowing us to be aggressive on the bases," said Jon Kotaska, who has compiled a 62-40-1 record the past five seasons as Pequot Lakes coach. "We also play very good defensive baseball."
Other senior letterwinners include: Dylan Mesenrink, infielder; and Dylin Ackerman, Sam Pfeifer and Josh Lelwica, outfielders; and junior infielders Daltin Ackerman and Grant Kotaska.
Last spring, Klein and Meister both drove in 22 runs for the Patriots. Klein also batted a team-high .426 with 18 walks while Meister belted a team-leading four home runs and batted .344. Anderson drove in 14 runs, Mesenbrink batted .310 with 15 RBI and Pfeifer batted .246 with 15 RBI and 19 runs scored. Meister and Anderson tied for the team lead with 20 runs scored.
Others who could contribute included: Dylan Collins, Luke Schelander, Logun Schelander, Nic Kotaska and Erik Larson.
Pequot Lakes ended last season 8-2 in the Mid-State Conference and 16-5 overall. In the Section 8-2A playoffs, South No. 2-seeded Perham blanked the South No. 1 Patriots 6-0. Earlier in the tournament, Pequot Lakes edged Barnesville 3-2 before suffering a 7-1 loss to Frazee.
Jon Larson, Jason Roepke, Brett Dale and Steven Anderson are the Patriots' assistant coaches.