The Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) baseball team will begin the 2020 season with a four-game series against Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa (NOT) February 15 and 16 at Tonkawa, Okla.
The Bears, under first-year coach Nic Mishler, are coming off a 38-17 season in 2019, including their first Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) regular-season championship since 2014, compiling a 21-7 record in league play. They took a No. 1 seed into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XI Baseball Tournament, but failed to advance past the third round.
"We're tired of being inside and our guys having to play against each other," Mishler said. "They are ready to play against someone else."
Mishler said his team has been able to practice outside a couple of times, but for the most part practices have been indoors.
DMACC returns 16 sophomores from a year ago including pitchers Kaden Peterson of Luther and Will Moritz of West Des Moines and infielder Carter Troncin of Urbandale. All three earned all-region honorable mention a year ago.
"I'm excited because I think we have a real talented group, but talent doesn't always lead to wins," Mishler said. "I really like our team. The guys are close and I'm excited to see them get out and compete together. I know they are excited as well. I think we have the talent to do some good things."
Mishler said redshirt freshman Dayne Leonard of Spring Green, Wis., and true freshmen Jackson Fisher of Chariton and Jack Luster of Huxley are competing at catcher with Luster also slated to see playing time at third base. Other catching candidates include sophomore Elijah Rude of Hudson, Wis., and redshirt freshman Nolan White of Beatrice, Neb.
Troncin and Rude are projected to compete at first base with Troncin moving to that position from third base. Freshman Kyle Westhoff of West Des Moines is also vying for the position. Freshmen Carson Schau of Waukee and Ben Nippolt of St. Paul, Minn., are getting a look at second base with Nippolt and freshman Carter Bornemeier of Elmwood, Neb., vying for the starting shortstop position. Sophomore Isaac Nelson of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Luster have the inside track at third base along with redshirt freshman Nolan Kelliher of Middleton, Wis.
Outfield candidates include sophomores Grant Bohling of Lincoln, Neb., and Kaleb Harrison of Neola in left, sophomore Dylan Voves of Mason City in center and freshman Cadyn Schwabe of Thompson, N.D., in right.
Other outfield candidates include freshmen Jake Sheered of Truro and Matthew Jones of LaGrange, Ind.
Starting pitchers include Moritz, Peterson, redshirt sophomore Kolton Scherbenske of Rapid City, S.D., freshman Ray Ray Douglas of Sioux City and sophomore Logan Ymker of Sioux Falls, S.D. Other pitching candidates include sophomores Nathaniel Gorczyca of Omaha, Neb., and Keaton Duckett of Johnston, redshirt freshman Will Casel of Ankeny, true freshman Tony Moser of Plainfield, Ill., and redshirt sophomore Jacob Passow of Germantown, Wis.
"I feel good about the depth we have and I want guys to get out there and experience what it's like to be on a college field and play against college competition," Mishler said. "Early on you are always trying to move guys around, but I expect all of these guys to come in and compete and play right away. I have faith that all of them will step up and take advantage of the opportunities given to them."
Mishler said the team's main goal is to get better every day so that by the end of the season the Bears will be ready for postseason competition.
"I don't have a ton of concerns, but you want to keep guys healthy," Mishler said. "As long as we prepare and worry about us and not anything else, I feel good about our team. As long as we take care of our business, the success we want to have should come."
Following their series with NOT, the DMACC baseball team will face Butler Community College (BCC) in a four-game series Feb. 22 and 23 at El Dorado, Kan., and then will play three games against Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (NOCE) Feb. 28 and 29 at Enid, Okla. The Bears are scheduled to open the home season with a doubleheader against Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) March 14.