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Fosston, Section 8A champs, to rely on pitching, defense

Brett Sundquist

FOSSTON, Minn.—Brett Sundquist finished the 2017 high school baseball season with a flourish. He pitched a perfect game as Fosston beat Martin Luther-GHEC 10-0 in the consolation championship game of the Minnesota Class A state tournament.

Now Sundquist has put that milestone game in the past.

"That was pretty neat,'' the Fosston senior said. "But it's something that is over and you move on. It's just another game now. You want to try to do the same things that made a game like that happen.''

The Greyhounds will rely on their pitching as they attempt to repeat as Section 8A champions. On a team that was built around pitching and defense, three of the top four pitchers return in Sundquist (9-0, 1.86 earned run average), Hunter Kroening (4-1, 1.30) and Kyle Jacobson (3-0, 2.03).

The challenge is developing the defense. The strength was up the middle with shortstop Dalton Agnes, second baseman Jesse Sather and center fielder Brock Hemmesch. All three were four-year starters. All three graduated last spring.

"We return a lot of guys, but it's a much different team,'' Fosston coach Ryan Hanlon said.

"We were so good defensively last year. That starts with the three strong guys up the middle. And they hit in the middle of the batting order. They were such key pieces to the team.''

Fosston allowed a stingy average of just 1.91 runs a game last season. They were 24-3 and committed just 17 errors in those 27 games. The Greyhounds are off to a 2-1 start and already have made 10 errors.

Sophomore Treydon Boushee has stepped in at shortstop, but Hanlon is still trying to find the right defensive mix. "We're trying to find guys who can be consistent defensively,'' Hanlon said. "I think we'll get there.''

Hanlon said pitching will be the strength this season.

"Brett will anchor our staff,'' Hanlon said. "He had a great year last season. He can throw three pitches for strikes. All of our guys locate their pitches very well. None of them throw really hard, but their pitches have good movement.

"Hunter is probably the hardest thrower of the three. But none of them are overpowering types.''

There is hitting to support the staff. Kroening (.391), Sundquist (.381) and Cole Olson (.337) were among last season's top hitters. Boushee, Joby Buchholz and Zach Vig all hit .280 or better and also return.

But the biggest support unknown is the defense.

"We have people playing different positions,'' Sundquist said. "We'll get it figured out. It's just a part of the process. We (pitchers) rely on our defense quite a bit. We try to throw strikes and let the defense make plays. We still return a lot of good players.''