Baseball aims for home run season

Senior-heavy squad elicits high hopes


Tobias Khabie

Senior captain Kristofer Hokenson throws a pitch against Chaska April 11. Park will feature a senior-heavy team this year as it aims to win its Section.

Tobias Khabie and Oliver Smith

Ever since junior captain Stefano Giovanelli and the rest of the team fell to Hopkins in the section finals last year, Giovanelli said the team has been itching to get back on the field again and improve on last year’s success.

“Coming off last year as section runners-up and losing only two seniors, we’re pretty confident we can make something happen,” Giovannelli said.

Coach Brian Kelly said last year’s playoff campaign helped the team acquire crucial experience in big games that will pay off this year.

We’re excited — everyone feels like we have a good team and we’re going to go far this year.

— Kristofer Hokenson

“I’m really excited to have these experienced guy(s) who have been on a deep (playoff) run,” Kelly said. “They know what it takes to get there.”

Senior captain Kristofer Hokenson said the team is confident in its skills and is looking to capitalize on its talent.

“We’re excited — everyone feels like we have a good team and we’re going to go far this year,” Hokenson said.

According to Kelly, despite the ambitious goals set by the players, he wants to focus on smaller victories and ensuring the players don’t start looking too far ahead.

“We have a big emphasis on breaking it down, where we’re trying to win the first inning of the first game and not even thinking about the long term goals that we have set right now,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to be really good early in the season.”

Giovannelli said he encourages students to show up to games this season due to the team’s high potential.

“We need fans, we need a student section this year,” Giovannelli said. “You won’t regret it, you show up and we’ll put on a show.”

Fans will have an opportunity to watch Park at its home opener against Waconia at 6 p.m. April 13 at Dakota Park.