Carter Hodapp is back for his senior season at shortstop after earning all-conference honors last year. (News File Photo)

With the loss of seven starters from last year’s team, it doesn’t take Northfield coach Mark Ague long to go through the experience the Raiders are returning this year.

Aside from senior Carter Hodapp, who earned all-conference honors last year for his work at shortstop, there’s seniors Jasper Blundred and Derek Albers.

“They were a couple right-handers who pitched well for us last year so we’re expecting big things out of them,” Auge said.

Senior Lars Prestemon also returns to compete for playing time at the catcher spot.

After that, helping to replace graduate all-conference players Hunter Koep and Danny Glampe is a roster filled out with players who have made small contributions on the varsity level or who are stepping into varsity roles for the first time.

Still, even if the experience isn’t quite there, the age is, with the every Raider listed on the roster claiming and senior or junior class standing.

“We’ve got a pretty strong junior class, so we feel like there will be some good competition in some of those open spots,” Auge said.

In addition to Hodapp, Prestemon, Blundred and Albers, Auge is expecting large contributions from players like junior Jim Vitito, who first established himself as a varsity player late last season but immediately provided valuable at-bats as the team’s designated hitter.

Junior Blake Christensen should see plenty of reps in the infield, while junior Michal Ims is slated to occupy his time on the mound and in the outfield. Junior Luke Johnson and Mason Zick should also eat up some innings for the Northfield pitching staff, as well as senior Joe Pesta, who might also see some time at first base.

Last year’s record: 15-10

Last year’s finish: Lost 6-4 to Red Wing in Section 1AAA final

First game: Monday at Mankato East


“I think even with a young team we expect to compete,” Auge said. “We were 15-10 last year and second place in the section. We lost to Red Wing in the section finals. I think we can compete. There’s some other teams that are right up there as well, but this junior class is pretty good and we’ve got some seniors. We hope do be right up there.”

Key departures

Ross Beumer

Danny Glampe

Hunter Koep

Connor Malecha

Nic Zabel

Returning players

Derek Albers, senior, pitcher

Jasper Blundre, senior, pitcher

Carter Hodapp, senior, pitcher

Lars Prestemon, senior, catcher

Key newcomers

Joe Pesta, senior, pitcher and 1st base

Blake Christensen, junior, infield

Michael Ims, junior, pitcher

Luke Johnson, junior, pitcher

Mitchell Stanchina, junior

Jim Vitito, junior, DH and outfield

Mason Zick, junior, pitcher

Reach Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106. Follow him on Twitter @NFNSports.

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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