First-year Shorewood baseball coach Josh Lemke didn't get everything out of his experienced team that he thought he would but there was growth on other levels for the Greyhounds after a 9-13 season.
"It was definitely part of a growing process for us," said Lemke, "but this was also the first year in quite some time that we had a freshman team and that will hopefully bode well for the future of the program. Twenty of them announced three weeks before the start of the season that they were coming out.
"There's a lot of interest in the program and we're expecting that to carry over for the next couple of years."
Other firsts for the Greyhounds included victories over teams it had never beaten before, including New Berlin Eisenhower and Pius XI.
"We would do that but then we would come out flat in other games that we should have won," said Lemke. "I think part of it is that this is a program not used to winning and sometimes the highs are hard to sustain. Lulls come along."
What Lemke also liked is how the team responded to losses. They had late season home-and-home series with Whitnall and South Milwaukee in back-to-back weeks and in each case Shorewood lost a tough decision in the first game but bounced back to earn a win in the second contest. The 6-5 victory over South Milwaukee on July 8 was point of a real pride to the Greyhounds, Lemke said.
"For the most part when we were aggressive (at the plate) and our defense and pitching were sound, we won games," said Lemke. "When they weren't, we didn't.
"It was a real roller-coaster of a season at times."
The seniors led the way. Multi-year letterwinner Cooper Lang was first-team All-Woodland Conference East Division at catcher and earned the team offensive player of the year award after hitting .360 (21 of 57) with six doubles, 10 walks and only five strikeouts on the season.
Ben Steigman, was first-team All-Woodland East was also team MVP as designated player, filling in multiple roles as the team needed him to. He hit .413 (26 of 63) with 12 runs scored and six RBIs.
Other senior leaders included Alec Nelson (second team All-Woodland utility) who hit .274 on the season and earned the team's pitching award, going 3-2 for the season with a 2.63 ERA and 47 strikeouts against just 26 walks.
Oskar Bjornstad was also another veteran player who hit .373 (22 of 59) with 11 RBIs and who went 2-3 with a 3.42 ERA (31 strikeouts and 14 walks) on the hill. Primarily the team's shortstop, he also earned second-team all-division and was named the team's defensive player of the year (16 putouts and 29 assists).
Other seniors included Quintin Coby, Luke Henschel, Luke Spinelli, Angelo Connemara, Bryan Frieseke, Nate Visor, Taylor Dennis and Ryan Shanahan.
Lemke thanked them for their help in defining the program, especially Lang, of whom he said: "When you think of Shorewood baseball, you think of Cooper Lang."
The junior varsity was about .500 and that first freshman group had an encouraging 9-6 mark.
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