A new season, some new faces on the coaching staff and a revamped roster.
The Brainerd Mighty Gulls have put together a group of players that has been working out since Tuesday and are enthusiastic about taking on the St. Cloud River Bats in their season opener tonight at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.
Mills Field in Brainerd will host the third season of Mighty Gulls baseball when Brainerd opens at home 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
After earning a playoff berth last season, hopes of fan and community support this season are on the minds of Gulls staff members. The Gulls' promotions and advertisement staff has been working to draw fans to the ballpark to enjoy competitive Northwoods League baseball.
Brainerd Mighty Gulls' home opener
Saturday, June 3
7:05 p.m. Mills Field vs. St. Cloud River Bats
Celebrity guest former Twins pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant
Pre-game tailgate party 5 p.m.
Live music, face painting and games for youths
"I feel that the community is going to get behind us," said Gulls field manager Eric Coleman of San Jose City College. "The community got a taste of us last year as we made the playoffs. They got to see Brainerd baseball is here to stay and that we're not going anywhere. We put on good baseball. Hopefully the fans will come out and support us as we're going to have a real exciting ballclub."
Coleman is excited about the rivalry with St. Cloud. Last season the Gulls were eliminated from the playoffs following an 8-7 loss in 12 innings to the River Bats.
"We're going to what we call the scene of the crime, where we lost last year," Coleman said of tonight's opener. "It's going to be a war."
Following is a position-by-position look at the 2000 Gulls:
Starting for the Gulls tonight will be right-hander Aaron Parker, a 6-foot-5, 202-pound freshman from Sonoma State. Parker threw 56 innings with a team-high 53 strikeouts. He had a 7-3 overall record and an ERA of 3.51.
Andy Wilson -- Stetson University freshman, 6-2 record, 4.13 ERA, 65 innings, 55 strikeouts.
Mike Ziroli -- Eastern Illinois junior, 3-6 record, 4.28 ERA, 54 innings, 65 strikeouts.
C.J. Woodrow -- University of Minnesota freshman, 2-2 record, 5.23 ERA, 43 innings, 38 strikeouts.
Robbie Buhl -- Centenary College junior, 2-3 record, 7.36 ERA, 44 innings, 36 strikeouts.
Mark Hanrahan -- Iowa State junior, 2-4 record, 8.04 ERA, 28 innings, 20 strikeouts.
Mike Osequera -- San Diego State freshman, 1-3 record, 3.55 ERA, 33 innings, 26 strikeouts.
Al Bomer -- Iowa State freshman, 1 inning, 1 strikeout.
Jed DeSalme -- Northwestern State sophomore.
Ryan Wickham, a junior from Iowa State, brings a solid bat to the Gulls' lineup. Wickham hit .318 for the Cyclones with 40 runs scored, 61 hits, 8 doubles, 6 home runs, and 29 RBI.
Other catchers will be Illinois freshman Trevor Fredrickson and University of Southern California sophomore Rick Helland.
Luke Appert, a versatile infielder at Minnesota, will bring solid defense and a hot bat as well. Appert hit a Gophers team-high .346 this season with 44 runs scored, 55 hits, 13 doubles, 2 triples, and 41 RBI. He also belted out 9 home runs, second highest on the team.
Mike McCoy -- San Diego State freshman, hit .279, 64 runs, 67 hits, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 23 RBI.
David Bagley -- San Diego State freshman, hit .248, 17 runs, 27 hits, 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 17 RBI.
Joe Urban -- Iowa State junior, hit .227, 16 runs, 39 hits, 7 doubles, a triple, 3 home runs, 23 RBI.
Matt Johns -- West Kentucky junior, hit .200, 8 runs, 10 hits, 7 RBI.
Scott Beshears -- Fresno State freshman, 4 runs.
Mike Rouse -- Cal State Fullerton sophomore, led the Gulls in hitting last season (.381) and led the league in hits and stolen bases.
San Diego State junior Joe Lima was near the top of many categories for SDSU this season. He had the third-highest batting average of .312, scored 34 runs, led in hits with 78, hit 13 doubles, had a team-high 5 triples, was second in home runs with 8, and second in RBI with 50.
Keith Laski -- Eastern Illinois junior, hit .311, 37 runs, 52 hits, 16 doubles, 10 home runs, 28 RBI.
Jon Youngblood -- Arkansas freshman, hit .208, 10 runs, 10 hits, 1 double, 4 RBI.
Casey Tornberg -- New Mexico junior, hit .154, 5 runs, 4 hits, 26 at bats.
Sam Steidl -- University of Minnesota freshman from Alexandria.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.