The season has finally started, and it looks to be another fun year of Crow River Valley League baseball.
Several Crow teams opened their season April 17 with exhibition games, including the New Germany Dutchmen and the Winsted Wildcats.
The Wildcats topped Albertville 10-4, while the Dutchmen fell to Mound 5-0.
The real season kicked off this past Sunday, with the Wildcats traveling to Hamburg, and New Germany hosting Cologne.
This year, like every other, should be a fun one, with the Dutchmen and the Wildcats being near or at the top of the league standings when all is said and done.
Looking at the North Division, the Dutchmen and the Wildcats should be battling it out for the top spot.
New Germany brings back the core of players that helped them claim a share of the North title with Glencoe last year.
Winsted, on the other hand, brings back Dan LaMott and Steve Dietel, which should give the Wildcats one of the strongest pitching staffs in the league.
With Dietel and LaMott, the Wildcats also have Cullen Schultz, Josh Eckstein, Tony Kley, and Aaron Schultz (yeah, thats me), who are all quality arms.
Okay, the quality of my arm may be up for debate, but the rest of the staff is pretty strong.
Last years co-north champion Glencoe, suffered a number of losses, including its top two pitchers Steve Marsden and Josh Dietz.
This may be a rebuilding year for the Brewers, but they do have some solid veterans returning, and some good young players.
With Dave Sell as the manager you can never count out the Brewers.
Next up in the North is probably the biggest wildcard team in the Crow. That being the Watertown Red Devils.
Watertown brought in a new manager, John Duske, and a number of young players to go with a solid core of veteran players.
With the Red Devils you just never know. They could be dominate, or they could struggle.
Rounding out the North are St. Boni and Mayer, two teams appeared to be headed in different directions.
St. Boni, which did lose All-Star pitcher Jeff Selander, did bring in a number of talented, young players.
While St. Boni may have put together a strong core of young players, it may be a year or two before they threaten for a league title.
As for Mayer, they went through a very interesting off-season.
The Blazers lost their manager, Jeff Kohls, and a number of players.
However, they still have one of the better players in the league in Josh Anthony, who can go out on the mound and shutdown anybody.
Moving on to the South Division, where the Green Isle Irish have moved back down to Class C, and will again be the favorite to win the South.
Contending with Green Isle will probably be Hamburg and Plato, two teams that are always strong, especially come playoff time.
A darkhorse in the South may be Young America, which has a strong team, and has been right there but just have been unable to get over the three-team hump on top of the South. Maybe this is the year.
Norwood and Cologne, while improved, will probably remain in the cellar of the South Division.
So there you go, a quick preview of the 2005 Crow River Valley League.
I know it is not much, but dont worry. All of you Crow fans out there know Ill give you plenty of stuff as the season goes on.