Lakers get new look for 2018
Published 8:15 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017
New coach and roster for Albert Lea Pioneer league baseball team
The Albert Lea Lakers will be back for their second season, which will begin in summer 2018. On Oct. 23, the Albert Lea City Council authorized an agreement for the Lakers to return and play at Hayek Field for their second season.
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The Lakers are a team of various collegiate players who come together over the summer to compete in the Pioneer League.
In their inaugural season, the Lakers finished with a record of 11-19, finishing in fifth place in the league. Despite finishing in last place in their inaugural season, the Lakers were a big part of the community, drawing in large crowds to nearly every home game.
They return in 2018 with a completely different lineup from one year ago, including a new head coach, as well. Michael Keeran will replace Sam Schumacher as the head coach of the Lakers. He will be assisted by Pete Sitorius.
Keeran won three high school state championships playing baseball in Clear Lake as an outfielder and a pitcher. He then moved on to continue his baseball career at Waldorf University. While there, Keeran was named an All-Conference selection twice and captured 15 school records. He is currently an assistant softball coach at Grinnell College.
“I am a player’s coach first off,” Keeran said. “I am not going to ask or make my players do anything I haven’t done or wouldn’t do. I have an intense work-ethic and competitive mind-set. Those are the types of players I recruited.”
Last year, the Lakers stayed involved in the community. They held youth camps and game day giveaways to keep people coming out, something Keeran plans to keep going this year. He said he wants Albert Lea to be proud of not only the team’s play on the field, but also the character of the young men on the team. He wants to expand the Lakers name by staying active on social media and branching out to surrounding communities. Keeran said he wants his players to be role models to the youth in the community, and talked about his goals for the team.
“Win a Pioneer League championship, regular season and postseason,” he said. “Win over 65 percent of our games. I want the home attendance to be high with rowdy atmosphere so we have a home-field advantage. I want our players to develop further and hopefully over 50 percent of the players on this year’s team end up playing professionally at some level.”
So far, Keeran has announced 11 of the players who will be included on the roster. The players are from all over the United States, and the team is stacking up to be a solid contender over the summer.
“I have seen a lot of film on the guys, and researched them thoroughly,” Keeran said. “They needed to put up good stats and have good film for me to take them. You have to research, recruit and sell. Most coaches just throw some emails out and will take whatever guys the coach gives them. That’s not what I am about. I want only the best of the best.”
The Lakers will play their first game of the season sometime in early June. Their schedule is set to be released in January and will include 30 to 40 games.
Albert Lea Lakers
L’ Donta Howard
Keanu Van Kuren
*roster so far as of Thursday