Baseball Preview: Roland-Story Norsemen

The 2021 season for the Roland-Story Norsemen baseball team was just another chapter in perhaps the most successful 10-year run in program history. Dating back to 2012, the Norsemen held a 233-135 record with 3 state tournament appearances, but 2021 saw the Norsemen capture that elusive Heart of Iowa Conference Championship. Roland-Story’s season would be cut short, falling to New Hampton in a 9-8 ballgame in the Class 2A, Substate 3 title game.

The 2022 team will feature some new faces, as Roland-Story will have to replace key members of the 2021 squad, such as Zach Magnuson, Ajay Twedt, Calvin Carew and two-time all-state selection Nolan Faber. The top bat returning for Norsemen in 2022 is that of senior Thomas Matthes, who held a 2021 slash line of .352 AVG/.466 OBP/.384 SLG with 34 hits, 29 RBI and 4 extra-base hits. Alex Berends and Jackson Anthony also return, as the the biggest challenge for Roland-Story offensively will be replacing the power bats of Faber, Carew and Magnuson.

In the pitching department, Nolan Faber was the Norsemen’s #1 starter a season ago, with an 11-0 record in 12 starts, 8 walks to 108 strikeouts and 1.19 ERA. However, Thomas Matthes and Alex Berends were effective #2 and #3 options for Roland-Story, with Matthes holding a 6-1 record in 8 starts and a 1.49 ERA, while Berends was also 6-1 in 9 starts, with a 2.09 ERA. Hesston Johnson also impressed as a freshman, holding a 1.70 ERA in 7 appearances and 3 starts. Finding someone to step in the #1 starter spot will be a key challenge for the Roland-Story rotation in 2022.

Roland-Story kicks off their season with a varsity doubleheader at Gilbert on Monday, with first pitch for Game 1 slated for 5:30 PM. You can listen to the game on 92.9 FM/1570 AM KZWC.