Culver, MN – In 2018, the South Ridge baseball team made their first ever run to the MSHSL Class A state tournament.
That team was unusually young, featuring just four upperclassmen. The only senior the Panthers lost was Nick Carlson, a large contributor and successful three sport athlete. Despite losing Carlson, head coach Tyler Olin is confident that this year’s group can pick up right where last year’s left off.
“Hopefully not a lot changes. I think the biggest thing for us is going to be to focus on the task that’s ahead of us and not look to far ahead,” said Olin. “Nick pitched a lot of big inning for us, but we’ve got a lot of guys that are capable, so it’ll be fun to see who steps up.”
Shortstop Logan Young is one of the Panthers’ core of eight juniors, now one year older, and hungry to get back to the state tournament.
“We are all very competitive, we want to be competitive against each other, “said Young.
“Most of our juniors are super huge leaders, and we have a couple huge sophomores that are huge leaders. Like Mason Lane’s a big leader, Riley Kinsley’s a big leader, Connor Bushbaum’s a huge leader. We’re full of leaders.”
Olin has a unique group of talent for a Class A baseball team. The youth driven foundation of his roster gives South Ridge depth beyond their three seniors, and gives Olin flexibility on his lineup card.
“I’m trying to put line ups together in my head, see what nine guys I’m going to put out there, and I’ve got options, and especially at a class A level, it’s a good problem to have as a coach.”
The Panthers have not practiced outside yet, but hope to get on the diamond before their season starts next week. South Ridge is scheduled to host Carlton on Tuesday, April 9th at 4:00p.m.