Bulldogs scheduled to open season on Friday
Otter Tail Central will return a team full of underclassmen with plenty of varsity experience under their belt this season. The only thing the Bulldogs are waiting on at this point is for Mother Nature to cooperate and stop snowing.
Last season the Bulldogs finished with a record of 5-16 overall and return a large nucleus of players back to the diamond.
“We return a lot of starting players from last year’s team,” said head coach Ryan Hendrickson. “We have gained a lot of valuable experience by playing a lot of our guys on both the junior varsity and varsity teams.”
The Bulldogs will be led by co-captains Jayden Harig, who will be returning as a catcher and center fielder Tyson Misegades.
OTC will also bring back starters Hunter Haugen, Lane Dilly and Gavin Pausch who all started in the infield last year, as well as Owen Buehler to the outfield.
“These guys all had outstanding summer seasons so I am excited to see them in action this spring once again,” said Hendrickson.
As they gear up for the start of their season, the Bulldogs will look to fill the gaps left by Kayne Cameron, Joey Kupfer, Cian Buehler and Wyatt Severson.
With no seniors on the team, the Bulldogs will lean heavily on underclassmen, including freshman Owen Harig, as well as sophomore Soren Floden. OTC could also look to eighth graders Drew Evavold and Kale Misegades to pick up some time on the varsity level this year.
“We do not have any seniors, but we do have a really good mix of 11th, 10th and possibly even a couple ninth graders that will be contending for starting jobs this spring,” said Hendrickson.
Hendrickson said the Park Region Conference will feature a number of powerhouse teams like New York Mills and Wadena-Deer Creek. He also said Perham will be a tough team in Section 8AA as well this season. Despite the tough section and conference, Hendrickson said the Bulldogs feel like they can compete against these upper echelon teams.
Some of the highlights Hendrickson noted from last year was watching the growth of the young Bulldog team on the field.
“Seeing the growth of a very young baseball team was very fulfilling. In order to get the most experience and success possible, our young team played a lot of innings for junior varsity and varsity,” he said. “They were able to be successful at the junior varsity level as they went 12-7-2, but at the same time they were able to battle against some very good varsity teams and went 5-18. All of our guys went out for summer ball and were able to play a ton of innings, their hard work will pay off.”