After two years of metamorphosis, Jim Falls manager Matt Nelson hopes to post a stable roster and field a steady lineup.
Coming off a disappointing 6-16 record in 2017, Nelson did see progress toward becoming a more offensive team—in a good way, that is. He was encouraged by some of the performances at the plate. Landon Mueller reminded fans of the Sturgeon’s long-time tendency to feature left-handed swingers by leading the team in average (.400), hits (28), runs (12), RBI (19), and stolen bases (7). Several others contributed to the plate success. Matt Selz finished at .375. Avery Elliot sparkled as a rookie, hitting .317 with 20 hits, tied for second on the team. Lee Balsiger also had 20 hits en route to a .303 average. His 2 home runs matched an amazing 2 strikeouts in 70 plate appearances, and his 13 RBI were good for second on the team. Nelson (.284), Bob Maurer (.282 with 1 HR and a .788 OPS), Jake Sperry (.273 with 11 BB for a .448 OBP), Tyler Jepson (.268, 1 HR), and Justin Martell (.257) all helped keep opposing pitchers on edge. Additionally, the Sturgeons return several other players whose down years may well prove to be an anomaly.
Jim Falls took a hit in the pitching staff when starter Dylan Waters went down with an injury early in the season. Several others stepped in, led by Jepson (1-3, 3.92 ERA, 26 K in 41.1 innings), Nelson (1-3, 5.49, 19 K), and Martell (2-0, 6.56). Solidifying the mound situation will be a priority in 2018, and, at this writing, Jake Arrieta is still out there.
A mainstay in the CRBL and the CVL before that, Jim Falls baseball will continue to be a big part of summer. We want to thank our fans and sponsors for making Sturgeon Stadium at Grudem Field the place to be on a weekend afternoon.