Lions open season at Metrodome

The baseball Lions at Missouri Southern come into this season picked to finish fifth in the MIAA.

Though the Lions are not picked to win their conference, they might pose a serious threat with their veteran team. The Lions have 15 seniors on the team coming back from a 24-26 record last season.

“We have lots of returners, which is great because these players know what to expect,” Head Coach Bryce Darnell said. “Our team likes each other and are very excited for the season to get going.”

Last season the Lions finished off the season with a below .500 mark in conference play going 20-24, but with talented players up and down the lineup this year, the team looks to turn it around and have a productive winning season.

“We have several players we are counting on,” Darnell said. “Pitching is the name of the game, and we need Brett Abell and Cody Griebling to have good years. We expect Sam Ryan Jesse Kinzey, MJ Sartin and Tee Helsel to lead the way on offense.”

Abell went 8-6 with four complete games while holding down a 4.52 ERA with 74 strikeouts. He also was able to carry a .266 batting average with 11 home runs. His teammate, Griebling, went 7-5 throwing three complete games while maintain a 4.46 ERA with 54 strikeouts. With a good one-two punch on the mound along with solid other throwing arms, the Lions will always look to have a chance to win their games. Even though the Lions have good pitching, it may be their defense that will be the key to a successful season.

“I feel like the strength of our team is experience age and our up the middle defense (catcher, shortstop 2nd base and centerfield),” Darnell said.

He also mentioned that the team has high expectations and they expect a lot out of themselves.

“We practice hard each day and prepare the right way for games and we will be successful,” Darnell said.

The Lions open their season tomorrow in Minneapolis, Minn. when they play Concordia-St. Paul University.