Cubs poised to begin amateur baseball season
WORTHINGTON -- With no hard predictions and nowhere to go but forward, the Worthington Cubs are about to begin their 2020 amateur baseball season.
Tonight (Wednesday) at 7:30, the local boys of summer plan to have their first game of the campaign in Windom against the Windom Pirates. Then on Sunday they’ll travel to Northrop to play twice, with Jackson and Fairmont participating in a noon game, Worthington taking on Jackson at 1:30 p.m. and Worthington and Fairmont going at it at 3 p.m. Cubs player-manager Ryan Swanson said the locals won’t have a home game until July 5, but the energy is high with the season finally here.
“We’re just going to go out there and play and have fun. If we get a few wins, we’ll be happy with that,” said Swanson.
A year ago, the Cubs struggled through a winless summer. The pitching was inconsistent and the defense was shaky -- in part due to a lumpy infield that contributed significantly to bad hops and misplays. There’s no guarantee the infield will be any better this summer, but with coronavirus restrictions easing we do know that a season will indeed happen.
Worthington will take the field with, according to Swanson’s estimate, “12 or 13 players.” That won’t provide for a lot of depth, and some familiar names will be missing. Josh Wasmund, a Cubs bulwark in the past, has retired. And two of last year’s top names, Shawn Hurley and Eric Heidebrink, will not be able to play often.
The team does, however, have several arms who can throw. Swanson, Will Brandner, Ethan Duffy, Tyler Linder, Logan Huisman and Eli Gaul can pitch.
And Swanson will need every arm he can get.
“We don’t have any stud pitchers who can throw nine innings,” he said. “Everybody’s gotta help out just to get us through the game.”
If the Cubs have a strength going into the summer, it could be in their hitting. Easton Sauerbrei, Linder and Duffy are proven performers at the plate. And veteran Cub Adam Munkel, a solid contributor in the past, may return.
In 2019, the Cubs appeared to lack enthusiasm at times, and their focus at times seemed to waver. Swanson believes that will improve this year, though, if only because most of this year’s relatively young bunch of players will have grown more accustomed to each other.
As a mentor, Swanson prefers an aggressive approach. He promises that the Cubs will work hard to score runs any way they can.
Most of all, amateur baseball fans throughout the area are glad the Cubs are back, ready to get some victories under their belts.
“We still have a team,” Swanson said.