By Matthew Davis
Cory Davis, Champlin Park’s new baseball coach, hopes to have the Rebels continue on their winning ways this season.
Fortunately for the navy-and-silver, Davis has been coaching at various levels in the school district for years and the team returns plenty of talent. Davis likes what he sees from the Rebels squad early in the new season.
“Great team chemistry, hard on ourselves, which has good and bad attributes,” Davis said.
Davis, a 1996 Champlin Park graduate, served as assistant coach for 11 years under former Rebels skipper Jeff Stoll, who he replaces. Davis will also keep the same staff as Stoll’s.
Rebels assistant coach Tim Loberg served as the school’s original varsity baseball coach in 1992, the year the school opened. His son, Mike, also has been serving as an assistant coach.
Their experience goes beyond the high school diamond as both played in the Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants minor league systems. Davis competed in both college baseball and football at Valley City State University in North Dakota.
Before taking the Rebels varsity reigns, Davis also coached the Champlin Park Legion team last summer. The Legion team started strong at 13-3. The springtime Rebels hope to do the same and more.
Trevor Kiminski returns to third base and will pitch again too. Kiminski went 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA on the mound last season, and he hit .306 at the plate.
Kipp Youngquist will play at short stop again. The Winona State University recruit hit .370 last season.
First baseman Jason Anderson also returns for the Rebels. He batted fourth in the lineup last year and hit .298 along with three home runs and 11 RBI.
Brandon Rushmeyer will pitch again after a 3-2 season in 2013 with a 2.44 ERA. He posted the Rebels’ second-highest strikeout total with 31.
Center fielder Daniel Kielb also returns. He had a .304 average last year.
Three key seniors graduated from last year’s Rebels squad. Star Tribune All-Metro first team member Matt Smith had a big senior season for the navy-and-silver with a .446 average and 24 RBI.
Brady Soderstrom also leaves a void to fill as he gave the Rebels consistent hitting with .362 at the plate, and he scored 12 runs. Bryce Marquardt put up good power numbers with .482 hitting and two home runs along with 16 runs scored. He also gave opponents trouble on the base paths with 13 steals.
Nonetheless, the Rebels have talent back and already have a No. 12 ranking in the preseason poll. They open with a tough schedule early including a tough Delano team on Thursday, which won 18 games last year.
In 2013, the Rebels went 15-8 overall in the shortened season and took second in the Northwest Suburban Conference. They reached the section semifinals before bowing out in two losses.
NWSC will have a tough field again. Six teams, including the Rebels, received top 20 rankings. Coon Rapids and Maple Grove both cracked the top ten.
Champlin Park will take on the No. 6-ranked Cardinals on Thursday, April 24. The Rebels will see Maple Grove on May 5.