The reloading project for the Nicolet baseball program that has been going on for the last few years is starting to see results.
The Knights were still just 1-7 in North Shore Conference play as of June 14, but their 4-8 overall record has been much more competitive than it looks.
'We've actually been playing better than I thought we would,' said Knights coach Jason Grodsky. 'Ever since we had those 11 seniors graduate a few years ago, we've been trying to fill in as best we can.'
Grodsky will build around senior pitchers such as Adam Plotkin and Aaron Trattner. Trattner had played for club teams in the past, but in his first season with the Knights, he has made a name for himself as both a hurler and shortstop.
Other pitchers include seniors Max Walker (who will double as a first baseman), Nico Aguilar (who also will play first base) and Elan Berman (also a leftfielder).
A find on the hill, said Grodsky, has been freshman Tally Wright.
'He's won two games for us so far, including our one conference win,' Grodsky said. 'Behind him, we have a group of guys who do have pitching experience.'
Other experienced hands include junior centerfielder Daniel Schiff, who is currently the team's hottest hitter at .420, and two-year letter-winning junior catcher Brayden Elliott.
Also figuring in the lineup are sophomore Eli Winter and sophomore third baseman Jaren Yoder (leadoff hitter, hitting .440).
Grodsky said the team is technically much better than it has been in some categories of the last few years.
'Our hitting is way ahead of where it's been the last two years,' he said. 'They've been communicating well and helping each other out. We're starting to turn into a well-rounded team. We're not quite there yet, but we are pitching, playing defense and hitting better.'
Recently, Nicolet has had two tough 4-1 North Shore losses, one to co-leader Homestead on June 9 and the other to Port Washington on June 13.
The Knights will be at Cedarburg for a North Shore game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, and then will be at Muskego at noon Saturday, June 18, for a nonconference contest.