The Calvary Lutheran baseball team is hoping the old adage is true: Big things come in small packages.
Or perhaps "little" would be a better word.
As in the little practice time the team has had outdoors. Or the little experience the Lions boast. Or the little roster they'll be using this season.
Let's start with the practice time for the Lions, who begin the season today at New Haven.
"I don't know if you're ever ready for the first one, you just play it," Calvary coach Rusty Bourg said. "We've been inside almost all the time, in fact, we've only been outside once and that was on concrete. ... But I'm guessing most of the schools are behind this year."
As far as the size of the roster ...
"It's one of those springs where we'll just play through it," Bourg said of his 12-man squad. "We'll try to grow and get better and in the years to come add some quality players."
Which leads to the experience. After graduating four seniors from last year's squad, this year's team has no seniors and just three juniors.
"Four seniors graduated and we replaced them with underclassmen," Bourg said. "If they were eighth-grade all-Americans, that would be all right. But that's not the case. Still, they're good, coachable kids, so we'll just see what we've got."
The biggest area that was affected by graduation was on the mound.
"We lost two seniors who ate up probably 75, 80 percent of our innings," Bourg said. "So it will be interesting."
But the Lions also lost starters at third base, shortstop, first base and an outfield spot.
"Those are some pretty key positions," Bourg said. "It's going to be a lot of trial and error this year. Kids will try a bunch of positions and we'll see who works best at what spots."
Beau Monson, a sophomore, will fill one of those key holes, as he'll move to shortstop after starting last year at second base.
"Beau's a good athlete, so we should be all right putting him at short," Bourg said.
Other returnees include:
• Caleb Propst at catcher. "Caleb did a good job last year as sophomore," Bourg said. "The only problem with Class 1 baseball is when Caleb needs to pitch, somebody else has to move to catcher, somebody else plays third base, and so on."
• Bradley MacLaughlin, a sophomore, in the outfield. "He's back and will shore up the outfield," Bourg said. "We'll also increase his innings on the mound, he only saw a few last year."
• Sophomore Hance Sommerer and freshman Gavin Nutt. "Hance will fill in here and there, a little catcher, a little first," Bourg said. "We're still searching for a first baseman. Gavin's a lefthander that will play outfield and some first base - you always like to have a lefty at first, but he's inexperienced at first."
• Trevor Dusheke, a junior, in the outfield. "He's a pretty quick kid and it will be good to have him out there," Bourg said.
Newcomers include transfer Wyatt Archer, a junior, who will play third base and pitch; freshman Cole Duenckel, who will play in the outfield and at first; senior Josh Horn, who will be in the mix in the outfield; Tucker Ulveling, a sophomore out for the first time who will play second base; freshman Tristan Clementich, who will play in the outfield; and freshman Sam Woodson, who just joined the team Wednesday after being talked into it by members of the team.
Today's game, like many this season, could come down to a team effort when it comes to pitching.
"I don't know that have a No. 1 (starter)," Bourg said. "Wyatt Archer will start (today), but I may end up throwing about four kids - Wyatt, Bradley and Beau for sure and then I may throw Gavin an inning."
At this time of the year, everything is a work in progress.
"We're feeling our way through, we're not sure where everybody belongs yet," Bourg said. "Our lineup and defense (today) may not look a lot the same in mid-April. We'll see."