Roseville baseball keeping it simple

For the players on the Roseville Area High School baseball team, it’s not difficult to figure out what the coaches’ expectations are. It’s also easy for the players to understand the team’s goal.

Third-year Roseville head coach Mike Ponsolle is direct in expressing both.

“Our expectations are always simple: We need to get better as a team every day,” Ponsolle said. “Our goal is just as simple: We want to be in the state tournament.”

Roseville hasn’t realized that goal in quite a while, but this year’s squad returns a nucleus that has Ponsolle optimistic. At the top of that list of returning players is senior Jesper Horsted.

“We have, in my opinion, the best athlete in the state coming back this season in Jesper Horsted,” Ponsolle explained.

That opinion is tough to argue against considering what Horsted has accomplished on the gridiron, hardwood and diamond the last two years. He had a monster season catching passes in 2013 as he helped lead Roseville football to the state semifinals for the first time in school history. Last spring, he led the state with a .596 batting average and threw in 10 stolen bases for good measure. This past basketball season, Horsted was second on the team in scoring and helped get the Raiders to state for the first time in more than 15 years.

Horsted is one of nine players from last year’s team that went 8-10 and lost in the first round of the section playoffs. Other returning players of note are starting pitchers Kyle Koncilja, Luke Podobinski and Noah Lyden. All three pitched in at least five games in 2014.

Newcomers expected to crack the lineup this spring include junior pitcher Teddy Broxterman and junior infielder and pitcher Michael Jacobsen. Ponsolle also has a freshman, Teague Bogenholm, on the varsity for the first time in his three seasons as head coach.

“On paper, a major strength is our pitching,” Ponsolle said. “If I had to pick a weakness, it would probably be the left side of the infield, and that’s only because they are both going to be new and we don’t know what we are going to get. It could actually turn out to be our biggest strength.”

As for the goal of reaching the state tournament, Ponsolle had an explanation as to why it’s the only goal he mentioned.

“There are certain coaches that go for the best record or their goal is to win the conference, but then fade out and don’t get to the state tournament,” Ponsolle said. “That is not what we talk about.

Our goal is the state tourney. If we have the best record and win the conference along the way that’s awesome, but once the playoffs start, none of that matters. No one is afraid of you just because you win the conference. Everyone is 0-0 when that first round starts.”

Roseville was scheduled to open the season against Suburban East Conference foe Forest Lake on Monday, past the deadline for this edition of the Review. Also on the docket this week for the Raiders is a game at Woodbury on Wednesday and a home game on Friday against White Bear Lake.

Speaking of the Suburban East, Ponsolle expects it to be a grind again this season.

“It’s the best conference in the state and Mounds View has proven that two years in a row,” Ponsolle noted. “In my first season, there were two teams from our conference in the state tourney. So I’d say we will have a tough conference once again.”

In addition to 16 conference games, Roseville’s schedule also includes four non-conference contests. The Raiders host Centennial on April 18 and Brainerd on April 23. On May 2, they travel to Alexandria for a three-team round-robin event with the host Cardinals and Holy Angels.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


2015 Roseville Area High School baseball schedule

April 6    vs. Forest Lake    4:30 p.m.
April 8    at Woodbury    4:30 p.m.
April 10    vs. White Bear Lake    4:30 p.m.
April 13    vs. East Ridge    4:30 p.m.
April 15    at Stillwater    4:30 p.m.
April 18    vs. Centennial    3 p.m.
April 20    at Mounds View    4:30 p.m.
April 22    vs. Park-Cottage Grove    4:30 p.m.
April 23    vs. Brainerd    4:30 p.m.
April 24    at Cretin-Derham Hall    4:30 p.m.
April 27    at Forest Lake    4:30 p.m.
April 29    vs. Woodbury    4:30 p.m.
May 1    at White Bear Lake    4:30 p.m.
May 2    vs. Holy Angels noon at Alexandria    
May 2    at Alexandria    2 p.m.
May 4    at East Ridge    4:30 p.m.
May 6    vs. Stillwater    4:30 p.m.
May 11    vs. Mounds View    4:30 p.m.
May 13    at Park-Cottage Grove    4:30 p.m.
May 15    vs. Cretin-Derham Hall    4:30 p.m.
 

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