After a solid showing in the 2013 region tournament, the Dent Wildcats had set some lofty expectations for the 2014 season. They received the bid to host the 2014 region tournament and had hopes of playing in front of their home fans in August. In addition, Dent was glad to welcome back some familiar faces to Jake Wolford Field. Matt Richter, Brock Collins, and Matt Wagner all made their return to the Wildcats in 2014. Dent also welcomed new faces Dylan Ellingson and Alec Meyer to the team. The 2014 team would struggle to find consistency in all aspects of the game. Some games they would pitch well and not hit, others they would hit well and not pitch; and yet others their defense would be their achilles heel, or they would struggle to get more than 9 guys to the game. But through it all, they managed to finish the regular season 11-9 overall and 6-6 in league play. Highlights from some of their games included a 13-1 drubbing of their region nemesis the Midway Snurdbirds. In the rout, Brock Collins sacrificed his body to rob Zach Etter of a homerun. At the beginning of June, Dent participated in the Angels Tournament in Detroit Lakes where they finished runner-up to their league rivals Pelican Rapids. When the Wildcats hosted the Crookston Reds in an exhibition in late June there was massive drama. Down 1 run heading into the bottom of the 9th and 2 outs, 2nd baseman Luke Burgau crushed a walk-off 3 run bomb to give the Wildcats the win. The Wildcats were also able to reclaim bragging rights from the rivals the Perham Pirates in the annual 4th of July game when they fended off a late-inning rally for the 7-6 victory.
Leading the Wildcats this year offensively was Isaac Stoll who finished the season batting .386 with 18 runs scored, 5 2B, 14 RBI, 15 walks, 2 HBP, 1 stolen base, and an OPS of .963. 3 other players for Dent hit over .300 (Andy Kratzke, Brandon Fritz, and Brock Collins.
On the mound, Dent was led by relievers Brock Collins and Eric Weller. Each had a sub-2.00 ERA and struck-out at least 1 batter per inning pitched. Matt Richter provided great efforts out of the starting pitching position where he would consistently go 6 or more innings giving the 'Cats a chance to win. Jeff Ronning would end out logging 28 innings on the mound and turned into 1 of the more reliable starters on the Wildcats staff.
Heading into the 2015 season, Dent will try to regain their region form from a year ago and build on the successes they have had in the past. In order to make a return to the state tournament they need to cut down on their k's at the plate, walks issued on the mound, and sure-up their defense in the field. All of these things are easy to remedy and if they are improved, the Countryside had better look out in 2015 and beyond.
We would like to thank our 2014 sponsors:
Dent Fire Department
Dougout Bar & Grill
Winkels Carpet Center
Esser's Plumbing and Heating
Metalcraft by K
Victroy Home Sales, Inc.
Triple Play Liquors
Lakes Area Cooperative
Ottertail Power Company