Prescott baseball battled through tough 2022 schedule

Posted 6/14/22

Three Cardinals earn MBC All-Conference honors By Reagan Hoverman For the Prescott High School baseball team, the 2022 calendar consisted of elite competition, both in the Middle Border Conference …

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Prescott baseball battled through tough 2022 schedule


Three Cardinals earn MBC All-Conference honors

By Reagan Hoverman

For the Prescott High School baseball team, the 2022 calendar consisted of elite competition, both in the Middle Border Conference and against non conference opponents, including Jefferson and Saint Croix Falls, two teams that punched their ticket to the state tournament.

The Cardinals finished the season with an 11 14 overall record. However, 11 of those 25 games were against teams ranked top 10 in the state in their respective division, whether that be D1, D2 or D3. In three of those games, Prescott played a team that was ranked #1 in the state in their division. Prescott head coach Jeff Ryan is proud of that schedule and even stated that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re really happy with our schedule and that’s what you have to do, you have to be able to compete against the best teams and for the most part, we did,” Ryan said. “It’s a ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ year. We could have easily had 14, 15 or 16 wins, but we just couldn’t get the big hit.”

The overall record may not be impressive, but given the level of competition, which included multiple #1 programs in the state and games against schools in higher divisions, Prescott held its own.

Even in the brutally tough schedule, the Cardinals improved the overall team batting average by 75 points compared to last year’s average. Prescott stole 28 bases last year and swiped 88 bags this year. Ryan spoke about his team’s improvement and competition.

“I like the way we competed as a team,” Ryan said. “We were really aggressive on the bases this year. I think that was one of the things I was re ally happy with this season.”

While some schools like to let each athlete throw one time a week and space out starts, Ryan is much more of a fan of the pitching by committee approach, which keeps outings short and arms fresh to be ready as needed, as was seen in the way he handled the pitch ing staff this season.

“We threw 11 kids that got varsity innings this year, we knew that would happen with the schedule,” Ryan said. “We had some sophomores pitch against Saint Croix Falls, they’re going to state, sophomores and freshman pitch against Jefferson, they’re going to state, and the same with Regis.”

According to Ryan, the schedule is going to be every bit as tough for the 2023 sea son. He continues to push for a difficult schedule because he believes his players should face high level competition to improve.

“It’s going to be as tough next year as it was this year, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s how you get better,” Ryan said. “There is no question that other teams don’t have as tough of a non conference schedule as we do. I think the players like that they won’t play any cream puffs. We want to play good teams.

Prescott lost a lot of close games this season and through out the year, coach Ryan told the Journal that the Cardinals just couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it most. In total, six of Prescott’s 11 losses came by only one run. A couple of clutch hits in the late innings could have completely changed the win loss record this year.

Three Cardinals earn All Conference honors

Facing stiff competition such as Saint Croix Falls, Jefferson and Regis requires talented players. Prescott had three players receive Middle Border Conference All Conference recognition. Senior Justin Syverson led the way with an outstanding year.

“Justin (Syverson), statistically, had a great year,” Ryan said. “He’s not going to mash the ball, but he had 35 hits and that’s 12th all time (single sea son), he stole 22 bases and that’s sixth all time (single sea son). He had great numbers and was a unanimous choice. The way he plays garnered the respect of the coaches.”

Syverson was an all around outstanding player. His ability to help Prescott with his bat, on the bases and in the field made him a complete player that earned unanimous First Team All Conference recognition.

Joining Syverson on the First Team All Conference list is senior Phil Seifert, who got hot at the end of the year and helped Prescott finish the year strong. Ryan spoke about Seifert’s bid for a slot on the First Team list.

“He hit over .300 in the conference,” Ryan said of Seifert. “He hit third all year for us, led us in RBIs, and was a First Team selection. It’s the second time he’s been on the First Team. He was last year as a junior too.”

The third and final selection is senior shortstop Mason Bartsch, who earned SecondTeam All Conference recognition. His steady defensive play at one of the most important positions in the field and steady production at the plate secured a place on the second team.

“Most people don’t associate football offensive linemen with middle infield, but that’s what he played,” Ryan said. “He was among our leaders in RBIs and he had a good solid senior year. Those three guys got the all conference recognition and all of them certainly deserved it.”

Coach Ryan spoke about the class of 2022 and what they had to go through just to keep playing the sport that they love when the COVID 19 pandemic completely canceled their sophomore season.

“I still think that the lost season has hurt us and it hurt a lot of baseball teams with not being able to play that sophomore year,” Ryan said. “I think we’re playing catch up with that lost season. These guys competed every time they played and we always believed we had a good chance to win.” Coach Ryan stated that this has been a dedicated group of seniors. Even going through a global pandemic, nobody quit, nobody gave up and they stayed the course throughout their three seasons in the pro gram.

“They stuck it out for all three years and nobody quit,” Ryan said. “I can’t always say that about seniors, but I can say that about this group. They’re very respectful. They wore the uniform really well and were really great ambassadors not only for Prescott baseball but for the community and how they conducted themselves. And in the end, that’s what we want.”