Senior Josh Van Kampen finishes his windup during a Southern Lakes Conference contest with visiting Waterford on April 12. Van Kampen, one of the Panthers’ leaders on the mound as a junior, took a tough loss (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Wilmot returns multiple starters

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Boasting eight letter winners, including six returning starters, the Wilmot Union High School baseball team looks to take the next step in the Southern Lakes Conference.

The Panthers, who finished 16-9 overall, placed second to WIAA Division 1 state qualifier Burlington at 9-5 in the SLC.

Josh Pye, who enters his 13th season, serves as the Panthers coach while Jason Bunton assists him.

As for returning starters, leading the list is outfielder/pitcher Tanner Peterson, who had an all-conference performance his junior season.

In 23 games as a junior, Peterson collected six doubles, three triples and belted two home runs while batting .425 with 23 runs scored and 17 RBIs.

Peterson, who committed to play at Illinois State University, also finished second on the team with 44 innings pitched.

Through Peterson’s eight appearances, he struck out 44 while issuing 13 walks, compiled a 4-0 record and finished with a 1.75 ERA.

Peterson, however, is not the only returning pitcher as senior Josh VanKampen carries a strong junior campaign into the 2019 season.

VanKampen, who logged 33 1/3 innings, struck out 27 hitters and issued 12 walks to finish 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA.

Senior Evan Henry, a four-year starter, completes the Panthers’ battery combination as the catcher.

Sophomore Leo Falletti, the team’s leadoff hitter last year, will serve as shortstop and pitcher in 2019.

Last year, Falletti batted .278 with 21 runs scored, 10 RBIs, three doubles and swiped six bases.

Junior middle infielder Logan Pye, who also will pitch, is another returning starter for the Panthers. Pye batted .265, knocked in 11 runs and collected three doubles.

Senior Zach Lamberson, another returning starter, will spend time at first base and the pitcher’s mound in 2019.

The Panthers, meanwhile, welcome back letter winners Bodie Stickels, a senior outfielder, and sophomore second baseman Caden Mulhollon.

Wilmot looks to replace key leaders from last year, such as Gunner Peterson and Kyle Gendron.

While Gunner Peterson plays at Illinois State University, where he has seen time in left field, Gendron has taken the mound for Winona State University.

Justin Paasch, who garnered all-conference honors with Gendron and Gunner Peterson, is another loss.

Other key losses are outfielders Cam Wischnowski and Jake Gerzel, who also served as the Panthers’ closer last year.

A.J. Frisby, a starting outfielder, is another departing senior.

Despite the losses, the Panthers have several players who could fill in the gaps, including multiple juniors.

Junior newcomers are Zack Watson (outfield), Connor Luoma (outfield, pitcher), Cal Jenkins (outfield), Braeden Cowart (pitcher) and Shane Vacala (pitcher).

Sophomore Jack Vozel, a third baseman, and senior pitcher Max Iverson also join the mix.

As the Panthers enter the season — Bunton said the team’s goals boil down to three simple objectives: win conference, reach sectionals and reach the state championships series.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the April 12 print edition of the Twin Lakes Report.


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