Gaels eager to get on diamond

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla St. Edmond Baseball Returning Letterwinners are, left to right, Jack McElroy, Grant Galles, Kinnick Henning, J.T. Laufersweiler, Hayden Derrig Missing: Kade Schlegel, Landon Saathoff, Ethan Swisher

It’s been an interesting preseason for Mike Szalat and the St. Edmond baseball team.

With nearly every kid involved in spring sports, Szalat has yet to really see his projected group together.

But that hasn’t kept him from being excited to get on the diamond.

“We work around it just like every single year,” Szalat said. “Since I started in ’97, there’s never been this many kids that have been involved in other sports, but I’ll always embrace it and push for it.

“Both Matt (Dillon) and Donn (Larson) have been excellent to work with. We communicate well together.”

Four key seniors in Johnny Dickerson, John Nemmers, Joe Touney and Tyler McDowell have departed, taking 30 RBI, 30 hits and 33 strikeouts with them.

That leaves the likes of returning regulars Hayden Derrig, JT Laufersweiler, Kinnick Henning, Ethan Swisher, Grant Galles and Jack McElroy to shoulder the load — especially in the early going.

“During the winter, those who weren’t involved in sports showed up for throwing and lifting,” Szalat said. “We had good attendance at those practices and saw some good things.”

Derrig is the ace of the staff, as the future Central College player struck out a team-leading 50 batters last year. He also led the Gaels with 15 steals, a .462 batting average and 25 runs scored.

“Hayden played a lot during the fall and spring and that shows,” Szalat said. “He is such a coachable kid who just loves baseball.”

Laufersweiler, a fellow senior, is coming off a productive dual spring season with soccer and track. He recorded 12 runs, drove in seven and hit .344 a year ago, stealing 13 bases.

“JT has been busy with soccer and track this spring, but we know what we’re getting from him,” Szalat said. “He is such a hard worker and also a very coachable kid who will bring it each night.”

As freshmen, Kinnick Henning, Ethan Swisher, Grant Galles and Jack McElroy were thrown to the wolves. Now, a year stronger, they will all be counted on this summer.

Henning started all 21 games last year with seven runs, seven RBI and 14 walks. He also stole 10 bases and logged 17-plus innings on the mound.

Swisher made 20 starts and played in all 21 with eight runs scored. Galles drove in 13 in just 16 games with 20 hits and a .417 batting average.

McElroy pitched 12-plus innings and had four runs scored while driving in three.

“We saw towards the last part of the season what these sophomores can do,” Szalat said. “Kinnick has really impressed me with his growth, Ethan has incredible hands and continues to improve at the plate, Jack is a very, very talented athlete and just a natural, and Grant was one of our best hitters last year and stepped up in some big moments.

“Kade Schlegel has really impressed me too here early on. He’s taken on a leadership role with the others busy in sports and has been very positive, especially with the eighth-graders.”

Koleman Hanson is another 10th-grader who “has been working hard and was at most of our winter workouts.”

Rounding out the roster will be junior Max Nguyen, sophomore Max Webster, freshmen Griffin Laufersweiler and Jacob Nieland, and eighth-graders Marvin Bacon, Matthew Crimmins, Thomas Ehn, Owen Rutherford and Jack Webster.

Szalat will once again be assisted by Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Drew Hansen.



Seniors — JT Laufersweiler, Hayden Derrig.

Juniors — Max Nguyen, Kade Schlegel.

Sophomores — Kinnick Henning, Koleman Hanson, Grant Galles, Jack McElroy, Ethan Swisher, Max Webster.

Freshmen — Griffin Laufersweiler, Jacob Nieland.

Eighth-graders — Marvin Bacon, Matthew Crimmins, Thomas Ehn, Owen Rutherford, Jack Webster.


May 14 — South Central Calhoun; 23 — Manson NW; 28 — at Southeast Valley; 29 — at Webster City; 31 — Iowa Falls-Alden.

June 1 — at CYO; 3 — at Algona; 5 — Hampton-Dumont/CAL; 7 — at Humboldt; 10 — at Clarion-Goldfield/Dows; 12 — Clear Lake; 13 — at Eagle Grove; 17 — Webster City; 18 — at Pocahontas Area; 19 — at Iowa Falls-Alden; 21 — Algona; 24 — at Hampton-Dumont/CAL; 26 — Humboldt; 27 — at Bishop Garrigan; 28 — at Clarion-Goldfield/Dows; 29 — BGM.

July 1 — at Clear Lake; 3 — West Bend-Mallard.


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