Baseball: Reloaded Perham squad eager to avenge last year’s post-season heartbreak – Perham Focus
PERHAM – It’s been another great school year for Perham Athletics.
Both cross country teams were state Class A runners-up, while Jakob McCleary won the state championship. Brain Ramos won a state wrestling title in the Class 2A tournament, while Avery McAllister and Brittney Lorentz competed in the gymnastics and diving state tournaments. The Perham boys’ basketball team have just won their 8-2A Section title and a trip to the Twin Cities.
After a hugely successful fall and winter season, the Perham baseball team feels like it’s their turn to hang up some banners.
“We have a lot of multi-sport athletes, and those kids feed off of the success of our school,” said head coach James Mulcahy. “Whether it’s football, basketball, cross country, wrestling or anything else, they start to feed off each other. It motivates them to match or go. further than their other teams.”
The Yellowjackets have few holes to fill after last year’s team lost in the 8-2A Division Championship Game to Wadena-Deer Creek. They’re an experienced group with their sights set on playoff success.
“We’ve improved from a very good team we had last year,” Mulcahy said. “We only lost two starters. We got the core back. We have a kid who moved from North Carolina, who is a solid ball player, who will be in one of those positions. The team has been working very hard. Expectations are high. I think we will be one of the best teams in the section again. There are a few teams that we are not sure about, but we should be one of the favorites for the conference and the section.”
The biggest problem right now is finding time to train outside. Amid a snowy spring, the Yellowjackets played in batting cage scrimmages in Minneapolis and the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center. It’s a chance for Mulcahy pitchers and batters to see live batting action inside.
“We’re making the most of it,” Mulcahy said. “We have our community center where we do things inside so we can see live bats. We went to Minneapolis last weekend to play Shakopee and rented the Gophers facility for three hours. We tried our best to get some work in it.”
“It’s been a long streak here over the last month indoors,” Mulcahy said. “The kids were ready to start again. Doing things indoors is the next best thing to being outdoors.”
Perham has two players determined to play college baseball, and more are on the way. Senior Chas Melvin headed to the Division II level at Minnesota State University-Mankato, while Logan Pulju will play at the collegiate junior level for M-State Fergus Falls. Mulcahy believes more players on his team will also benefit from collegiate opportunities.
“Logan was one of our leaders in the weight room, lifting every day. Chas was a starter on the basketball team and had an amazing winter,” Mulcahy said. “These are the guys we need to step up and lead this team by example. Ryan Solberg is another one. He was a great leader for DL hockey, and we need him this year. Lots of guys who have playing football is part of that too.You look at the experience that these kids have in other sports, and you hope they use that to be leaders on the baseball field.
What Mulcahy hopes will set Perham apart from the start is their experience and depth of throwing. They’re bringing back a roster eager to right the last wrong of 2021 while reloading the arm’s arsenal should give the Yellowjackets an edge in the 8-2A Division area.
“We have the pitching experience to win a lot of games, and they really need to set the tone,” Mulcahy said. “We have to limit our opponents’ runners on base. Our hitters are bigger and stronger than last year. It’s about being composed and being smart. Not chasing bad pitches and playing the game that we teach them to play is what will make us successful.”
For now, the Yellowjackets are focused on putting their best game on the court when it matters most. The years change, but the expectation remains the same: to compete for championships.
“We don’t want to be in the middle, and we certainly don’t like to be on the bottom,” Mulcahy said. “We’re expected to be at the top. It doesn’t change from year to year. We want to win the Heart O’Lakes and Section 8-2A championships.”