Nate Kolacia, Neil Flattery and Nick Clark will close out their careers at St. Edmond on the baseball diamond this summer.
All three, along with fellow returning letterwinners Aaron Chalstrom, David Flattery and Tommy Setterdahl, will be counted on to try and help get the fourth-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels back to the state tournament for the first time since 2010.
St. Edmond posted a 26-5 record a year ago, falling to eventual state runner-up Gilbert in a district final. Several vital cogs from that team are gone, including Anthony Flattery, Patrick Buhr, Thomas Kesten and David Lindner.
—Messenger photo by Josh Meyer
ST.?Edmond BASEBALL returning letterwinners are, front row (left to right): Nate Kolacia and Nick Clark.
Back: David Flattery, Neil Flattery and Tommy Setterdahl. Not pictured: Aaron?Chalstrom.
"We have a good nucleus of players, and I feel like our young kids will be able to fill the void left by those that graduated," SEHS head coach Joe Shanks said. "We have some talented underclassmen that want to help us build on what we have accomplished over these past few years."
The Gaels claimed state championship glory in 2009, and it was Clark who made the final out in the state title game. Flattery and Kolacia were each on the team, as well, that season.
"I hope the younger kids on the team learn one important thing from Nate, Neil and Nick, and that's how to compete," Shanks said. "Those three, no matter what the sport is, they were prepared to compete. I hope that transfers over."
2012 ST. EDMOND BASEBALL
Seniors - Nate Kolacia, Nick Clark, Neil Flattery.
Juniors - Aaron Chalstrom, David Flattery, Tommy Setterdahl, Brady Reiling, Jordan Slotten.
Sophomores - Hank Crimmins, Cal Coleman.
Freshmen - Matthew Bocken, Landon Peed, Ryan Szalat, Landon Hughett.
Eighth-graders - Sam Kolacia, Jason Setterdahl, Colin Flattery, Robert Flattery.
(All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
May 24 - Manson Northwest Webster, 7 p.m.; 25 - Webster City; 28 - vs. Garner-Hayfield in Patterson Field Tournament, 10 a.m.; 29 - at Bishop Garrigan; 30 - at Humboldt.
June 1 - Iowa Falls-Alden; 2 - vs. Le Mars Gehlen in CYO at Carroll, noon; 3 - at CYO; 4 - Eagle Grove; 6 - at Clear Lake; 8 - Algona; 9 - vs. Dyersville Beckman in Dowling Invitational, 11:30 a.m.; vs. Don Bosco in Dowling Invitational, 3 p.m.; 11 - at Webster City; 13 - Hampton-Dumont; 15 - at Clarion-Goldfield; 18 - Clear Lake; 19 - at Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer; 20 - at Eagle Grove; 22 - Bishop Garrigan; 25 - Humboldt; 27 - at Algona; 28 - Clarion-Goldfield; 29 - Fort Dodge.
July 2 - at Hampton-Dumont; 3 - at Iowa Falls-Alden.
St. Edmond has advanced to a district final each of the past six years.
It all starts with Clark at shortstop, as Shanks feels he has one of the elite defenders in the entire state. The Buena Vista University basketball-signee is also solid with the bat, coming off a .336 season where he drove in 17 and scored 27 runs.
David Flattery will be over at third base when he's not pitching, and can also shift to shortstop when Clark takes the mound. The junior had 27 RBI and a .357 average at the dish a season ago to go along with a crisp .500 slugging percentage.
"Nick just has unbelievable hands, and will bat leadoff for us," Shanks said. "And with David, I feel very confident in the left-side of our infield."
Aaron Chalstrom, a state tennis qualifier, will occupy second base when he finishes up play on the courts next week. For now, Ryan Szalat, a freshman will see action at second.
First base belongs to Setterdahl, who hit .260 as a sophomore, driving in 23 runs and belting three homers.
"Tommy is a kid that just loves baseball," Shanks said. "He has improved quite a bit since last year.
"Overall, I feel like we have a great infield that can field the ball with the best of them."
St. Edmond committed just 42 errors a year ago on 643 chances.
Replacing Lindner behind the plate will be a returning face, as junior Brady Reiling is back after a season at Madrid. Reiling batted .245 in 27 games for the Tigers.
Szalat and fellow ninth-grader Matthew Bocken will also see action at catcher.
"Those three guys give us a lot of flexibility," Shanks said. "We can rotate them around, and they can step in and play all over the field."
Neil Flattery will return to center, as the future University of Iowa track athlete is able to cover plenty of grass. Flattery hit .333 and drove in 29 a season ago, scoring 30 runs and belting eight doubles.
Kolacia patrols the outfield in right, while sophomore Cal Coleman slides into left. Kolacia hit .341 and had an on-base percentage of .448 last year, while Coleman saw action in four games as a ninth-grader.
"We can really cover some ground out there," said Shanks, of his outfield unit. "Cal is a sound defender, Nate is great out there and an excellent No. 2 hitter, and Neil is just a terrific athlete."
Freshman Landon Peed will tackle center when Flattery in on the mound, while sophomore Hank Crimmins is also a candidate to step in and play out there.
This is the most green area for St. Edmond, as Buhr and Anthony Flattery went a combined 14-1 last year on the mound, striking out over 100 batters. They combined to allow only 14 earned runs in 99 innings.
David Flattery is the early favorite to secure the No. 1 position, followed by Clark, Neil Flattery and Kolacia.
David has the most experience, having thrown 47 innings and compiling a 1.79 ERA and 62 strikeouts last year. Opposing batters hit just .154 off the junior, who went 6-1.
Clark went 4-0 with 27 strikeouts in 28-plus innings, walking only eight.
"David has a lot of velocity, a nice curveball and an improving change-up," Shanks said. "He is our go-to-guy and we have a lot of confidence in him.
"Nick is very capable out there on the mound, as well, and Neil will be starting the home opener (tonight against Manson Northwest Webster). We still need to figure a few things out, but I like what we have."
St. Edmond has won three of the last four North Central Conference crowns, including a near-perfect 16-1 mark a season ago. Clark and Flattery were both first team all-NCC selections, while Kolacia made the second unit.
"Clear Lake is going to be very tough this year, as they have two proven pitchers," Shanks said. "Garrigan will be tough with (Austin) Vaske back on the mound.
"Our first goal once again this year, as it is every year, is to contend for the NCC crown."
The Lions are ranked second in 3A, while the Golden Bears at No. 10 in 1A.
Shanks will be assisted by Mike Szalat and Neven Conrad this year.
Contact Dana Becker at (515) 573-2141, or by email at email@example.com