Bulldogs have sights set on conference title

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

The MFL MarMac baseball team boasts one of its most experienced lineups in years, a strength head coach Brandon Burke hopes will have the Bulldogs competing for an Upper Iowa Conference title.

“Many of our starters are returning for their fourth or fifth year as a starter,” said Burke, who’s entering year five at the helm. Collin Stubbs is assisting the Bulldogs for a third season. 

Among the returning players are seniors Cedrick Drahn, Ethan Stubbs, Kaleb Tilson and Trevor Jones, along with junior Max Havlicek.

“Each and every one of these guys has poured his heart and soul into the program and we wouldn’t be where we are without them,” Burke said. “Drew Mezera, Chaise Ziegler, Cullen McShane and Karter Decker are returning contributors who look to build off of success from the past.”

Senior JT Stocker, who Burke coined an “old newcomer,” joins the Bulldogs this season too. He will work to fill the gap left by Zach Trudo in centerfield and help bolster the pitching staff.

Chauncy Drahn, Kaden Stocker and Cole Allert will fill spots in the defense and pitching rotation, as well.

Burke said MFL MarMac’s pitching staff will be deep and talented. Defense and baserunning should also keep the team competitive. Offensively is where they’ll work to improve.

“Our offense needs to be better one through nine in the lineup if we want to have the kind of season we want to have,” Burke shared. “We can’t rely on the top three to produce all the offense.”

According to Burke, the Bulldogs’ six games against Kee and South Winn will be among the most crucial of the season—and likely decide the conference title. He hopes the players’ hard work will bring that to fruition. 

“When I was first hired, these seniors were eighth graders and I told them in our first meeting in the small gym in McGregor that the guys in this room would eventually be competing for a conference title,” he stated. “Here we are, four years later, and I think we will be right in the thick of it.”

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