Wayne State was voted fifth in the 2021 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll released today by the league office in Burnsville, Minnesota. Junior outfielder Andrew Hanson and sophomore pitcher Ryan Obrecht were listed Wildcat players to watch this season.
The Wildcats were 8-7 in nonconference play last season when the reminder of the 2020 schedule was canceled due to the COVID pandemic.
Augustana was voted as the team to beat in the NSIC this season receiving 195 points and 13 first place votes from league coaches. Minnesota State followed in second with 181 points and the remaining two first place votes. Rounding out the top five teams are St. Cloud State (160), Minot State (153) and Wayne State with 151 points.
Winona State was sixth place with 130 points followed by Minnesota Crookston (114), Concordia- St. Paul (103), Northern State (78) and Minnesota Duluth with 77 points rounding out the top 10.
Closing out the coaches’ poll are University of Mary (69), Southwest Minnesota State (59), Sioux Falls (41), Upper Iowa (36) and Bemidji State with 28 points.
Listed as Wayne State’s Player to Watch is Hanson, a 6-1, 180-pound junior infielder from Burnsville, Minnesota. In a shortened 2020 season, Hanson hit .343 with nine doubles, four homers and 15 RBI. Hanson is a two time All-NSIC selection earning First Team honors as a freshman and Second Team as a sophomore. He was also voted D2CCA and NCBWA All-Central Region Second Team in 2019.
Listed as Wayne State’s Pitcher to Watch is Obrecht, a 6-4, 170-pound sophomore from Omaha (Millard North HS). Last season Obrecht was 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA pitching 12.2 innings and allowing 12 hits and just six runs. During his freshman year Obrecht earned All-NSIC First Team honors. He also was D2CCA All-Central Region Second Team and NCBWA All- Central Region Honorable Mention.
Wayne state is slated to open the 2021 season Feb. 19 at Newman in Kansas for a four-game series before conference play begins in March.