Cyclones prepare to build off state tournament run

After opening their 2023 season 0-5, but still earning a trip to the state tournament after beating Lewis Central 9-6 in the 3A-8 Championship Game July 12, the HCHS Cyclones baseball team is ready to get back to work and build off their state tournament run.

“We’re definitely ready to get going,” said Cyclone Head Coach Heath Stein. “Like any spring, we’ve got guys involved in a bunch of different activities, so we haven’t had too much time together as a unit, but as far as the work we’ve been putting in, we got started back in January and we’ve been chomping at the bits.”

The Cyclones lost two talented seniors from a year ago in Stephen Leinen and Cael Goshorn.

Leinen batted .370 with two home runs, 29 runs batted in, with 44 hits, and 31 runs scored. Leinen also led the Cyclones with six wins on the mound and 39 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched. Goshorn batted .293 with 26 runs batted in, along with 34 hits and 23 runs scored.

“Cael and Stephen were big parts of that team last year,” Stein said. “They contributed to a lot of the success, but we have quite a few guys back. We have nine spots on the field and we’ve got a lot of guys on the mound that are back and some newcomers that are going to push for some time.”

Two Cyclone Seniors who won’t be with the team the entire season due to signing letters of intent to play football in college are Franz Reisz and Cade Sears.

During the 2023 season, Reisz went 2-3 on the mound with a 4.94 earned run average, along with 25 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched. Sears led the team in batting average with .402, while hitting four home runs with 34 runs batted in, along with 49 hits and scoring 48 runs.

“Two very valuable people,” Stein added. “We’re going to get all we can out of them and the plan for them to leave, I believe is around June 9 potentially, something might change, I hope it does. That’s kind of the tentative plan. They’ll be tough to replace. We’ll enjoy having them as long as we can.”

Some of the Cyclones losses last season came against Sioux City North, LeMars, Sioux City East, ADM, Lewis Central, St. Albert, and others. Stein talked about some of the competition he expects to see this year whether it’s Hawkeye-10 opponents or others.

“Sioux City North, LeMars, Dallas Center-Grimes, ADM, Bishop Heelan, all five of those teams out of the gate are very, very good,” he said. “Lewis Central is going to be quality, Creston will be a good matchup for us, Kuemper Catholic is tough, and Carlisle and Sergeant Bluff-Luton are always good.”

The new season for the Cyclones gets underway on the road Monday at 5 p.m. starting with a doubleheader against Sioux City North. Last season, the Stars went 26-13. Offensively, they were led by Cael Walrod with 44 hits and Eli Cedillo with 35 runs batted in. On the mound, Steven Kling had seven wins with a 0.86 earned run average, while Ayden Schrunk led the team in strikeouts with 92.

“The keys to winning any high school baseball games are throwing strikes, limiting errors, and finding ways on base, and score runs,” Stein said. “That’s what we’ll try to do. With starting pitchers, I don’t know if I have them exactly slated yet. We’ll probably going to have to use four or five guys early in the season on pitch counts.”



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