MANKATO — For the last three seasons, Mankato Loyola baseball coach John Landkamer could pencil in Shane Sellner as the starting catcher or pitcher, and throw his name down in the third or fourth spot in the batting order.
Nothing’s changed this season, whenever it starts, as Sellner is one of only two seniors on the Crusaders’ roster.
“We’ve had a pretty good run of catchers here for the last 10, 15 years,” Landkamer said. “We’re fortunate to have Shane back there.”
Loyola needs to replace a lot of graduated talent, including the entire infield, as it begins the season, but Sellner has lent some consistency to the program.
Sellner, who has made a verbal commitment to attend Southwest Minnesota State in the fall, batted .379 last season with four doubles and 15 RBIs, and he walked 16 times, pushing his on-base percentage to .506. Sellner also pitched in seven games, with a 3-2 record and 4.99 earned-run average. He struck out 26 batters and walked 19 in 26.2 innings.
In his career, which covers 58 games, Sellner has 78 hits, batting .392 with 12 doubles, one triple and two homers. He’s driven in 47 runs and scored 61. Throughout the winter, he and several teammates would meet at least twice a week, before school, at an indoor batting cage to get some swings.
“I kind of have mixed emotions,” Sellner said. “It’s fun to get going, but that also means my final season is closer to being over.”
The other senior is Mark Kortuem, who will pitch and play first base. He batted .222 with a double and nine RBIs, and he was 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA, striking out 21 and walking 12 in 18.1 innings.
“Both of our seniors are great leaders,” Landkamer said. “They have experience and played in a lot of games. They can really help our younger players.”
Loyola, which was scheduled to open the season last week, has already postponed four games, meaning the schedule again will be compact. Landkamer said the Crusaders’ might be better equipped with pitching depth to handle the workload this season.