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Raiders baseball enters season with high expectations

Senior Michael Hommes

Last year the Raider baseball team advanced further into the postseason than any other school in the Big Rivers Conference, reaching the WIAA sectional semifinals while posting a record of 16-9 overall.

With six starters back, including five All-BRC players, expectations are high for the 2013 Raider squad.

Hudson enters the season ranked No. 16 in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association preseason poll. Weather permitting, they will open the season Thursday, April 11, at home against East Ridge.

The Raiders have already had three games postponed due to the weather. This past Tuesday's scheduled home opener against Simley has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 25, and this Thursday's game at Stillwater will be made up Saturday, April 13, while the Saturday, April 6 game at Mahtomedi has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 11.

All-State Honorable Mention outfielder Michael Hommes leads the charge of returning players after setting school records for hits (38), runs (32), doubles (14) and triples (5) and posting a team-best batting average of .413 in 2012. Hommes, who also went 5-0 on the mound, signed a letter of intent to play college ball at NCAA Division II Winona State University in the offseason.

First baseman Todd Mork also returns after batting .329 with a team-high four home runs on his way to All-District Honorable Mention accolades a year ago.

Josh Evenson and Austin Evenson are back at shortstop and second base to anchor a Raider infield that turned a school record 19 double plays last season. Both players batted over .280 last year with Austin Evenson earning All-BRC Honorable Mention.

Junior Miles Lewis returns at catcher after being named to the All-BRC Second Team as a sophomore. Lewis, who has started every game behind the plate since his freshman season, hit .293 in 2012.

Two Raider pitchers from last year -- Kellen Pearson and Brett Steinwagner -- are both playing college ball this year; Pearson at UW-Stout and Steinwagner at Des Moines Area Community College. But senior Stef Smith is back after accounting for 45 innings pitched and four victories while earning All-BRC Honorable Mention as a junior.

The Raiders will begin the quest for their first conference title since 1979 when they open BRC play with a doubleheader against Menomonie Tuesday, April 16, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at Grandview Park.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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