Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Tonka Softball and Baseball Step Up to Bat

Winter is over in Minnesota. As fun as the winter was for Tonka sports, with one of the most successful collective winter seasons in school history, it’s time to hang those banners and give some love to the sports that you can watch outside in a t-shirt. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the grass is growing. As we exit the 7th inning stretch of the 2024 school year, Minnetonka baseball and softball are just getting started.

The Skippers enter their 2024 seasons on the diamond with big expectations, given their collective wealth of experience. As is the
case with many sports at Minnetonka, Tonka baseball enjoyed big contributions from the Class of 2024 last year, making this year’s seniors extremely formidable, both in terms of talent and leadership. Skipper varsity coach Paul Twenge said, “The team won’t hear everything I say as a coach, but whatever they say, everybody else will follow. We need them to create that system internally and bring the energy. Ideally, they are directing and I’m just orchestrating.”

The same is true for Tonka softball, led by 7 seniors. Varsity coach Mary Beth Wiig spoke of a seamless senior transition, saying “4 of those girls have been playing varsity since their freshman year, which is definitely rare for us. The timing is right this year and
we’re going to have a senior led team, which is great.”

As of 2 weeks into the season, even with their experience similarities, Twenge and Wiig had distinct takeaways on their 2 teams. For baseball, the emphasis was on the team’s defensive strength. Twenge said, “People get excited about home runs and stuff, but you win games by who’s on the bump and what’s behind him.”

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Wiig, on the other hand, is perfectly content to win games via home runs. Right out of the gates, the Skippers averaged 10.5 runs
per game through their first 4 outings. Wiig backed that up with her comments on the team’s offense, saying “We’re a lot more consistent with our bats than we were last year. Our bats so far have been really good.”

For both Tonka baseball and softball, the talent is there. Both coaches are pleased with the position they are in at the start of the
season, and both teams will obviously continue to improve as the season progresses. But for each team to reach their ultimate goals for the season, it will be about consistency and mentality. Twenge said, “Baseball is a bit of a grind, even more so mentally than physically. Baseball isn’t 9 innings. It’s 9 one inning games. You can’t look to the next or previous inning. You have to focus
on what’s in front of you, and put the work in to get there.” Wiig agreed, saying “We need to get strong pitching support, and play strong and together game in and game out. Playing as a team will be huge.”

Softball and baseball are very different games. The pitching styles are nothing alike, and the balls aren’t even the same color. But at the end of the day, both teams are aiming towards the same goal: to make it to state. The boys made it all the way there last year, only losing to East Ridge in the Semifinals. The girls won their first Sections game before falling to Jefferson later in the tournament. The 2024 season is just starting, but on the diamond, the Skippers are locked and loaded to dominate the competition all year.

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