Holy Angels spring sports primer

Sports Editor

The Holy Angels baseball team entered the 2016 season with high expectations, as it had many quality seniors on the roster capable of leading the Stars to a state tournament berth last season.

Holy Angels outfielder Jack Cronin swings through a base hit during game action from last season. (Sun Current staff photo by Chris Chesky)
Holy Angels outfielder Jack Cronin swings through a base hit during game action from last season. (Sun Current staff photo by Chris Chesky)

Unfortunately, the Stars fell short, and ended the 2016 season with an 11-10 overall record after losses to Simley and Henry Sibley in the Section 3AAA tournament.

While the Stars fell short of accomplishing their lofty goals last season, that experience should bode well this season.

Holy Angels returns top pitchers Riley Ahern and Gabe Pilla this season, and those two should give quality performances every time they take the mound this year. In the field, Holy Angels returns speedy outfielder Jack Cronin, who leads all returning players with a .462 batting average in 2016, and catcher Spencer Graves. Pilla also hit .455 for the Stars, while Ahern added a home run for the Stars.

Holy Angels figures to be in contention for a Tri-Metro Conference title again this season, as it finished as the conference’s second-best team with a 6-2 record last season.

Holy Angels will open the 2017 season against Kennedy at 4: 30 p.m. Monday, April 10, at Donaldson Park. The Stars will play DeLaSalle at U.S. Bank Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12.

Softball

The Holy Angels softball team finished just two games short of a state tournament berth last season, and it returns the core of the team that went 11-9 last year.

After losing just one senior from last year’s squad, the Stars hope to be able to build off last year’s success.

Pitcher Melya Owens headlines a long list of top-tier players that are returning to Holy Angels this season. Owens pitched to a 9-7 record last season and picked up 88 strikeouts. She was named to the All-Tri Metro Conference team, as well as being named the Holy Angels team MVP. Owens also hit .326 with two home runs and 14 runs batted in last season.

Third-baseman Riley Thalhuber leads the team’s position players, as she hit .417 with 16 RBIs last season. Shortstop Megan Meyer (.400 average, team-leading 17 RBIs), catcher Lauren Holtgren (.367 average, 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored), Holly Lutgen (.395 average, 10 stolen bases) and Kaitlyn Kneeland (.406 average, 12 runs scored) are also expected to play big roles for the Stars this season.

Holy Angels hopes to be able to take a step forward this year to defeat Visitation for a chance at a Tri-Metro Conference title, while also hoping to defeat Visitation, Simley and South St. Paul to advance to the state tournament.

Holy Angels junior Melya Owens will be one of the team’s top returners this season. Owens picked up nine wins and 88 strikeouts last season, while also being named the team MVP. (Sun Current staff photo by Chris Chesky)
Holy Angels junior Melya Owens will be one of the team’s top returners this season. Owens picked up nine wins and 88 strikeouts last season, while also being named the team MVP. (Sun Current staff photo by Chris Chesky)

Holy Angels will open the 2017 season against Holy Family at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 7, at Lincoln Field.

Track and field

The Holy Angels track and field teams will be rather young in 2017.

With just 10 seniors split between the boys’ and girls’ roster, the Stars will hope that the experience from last season will pay off this season.

Holy Angels began its youth movement last season, and it paid off, as the Stars sent John Kosmach to state in the 110-meter hurdles event.

With some quality athletes on the team, Holy Angels will look to send multiple athletes to state this season.

Holy Angels will begin the season at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at Richfield High School.

Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.