Kernels seek Success in North Star League
The Cokato Kernels, who play their home games at Veterans Memorial Park at Brooks Lake in Cokato, are looking to make a name for themselves in the North Star League in their fourth season of play. Their nickname, the Kernels, references the community’s strong ties to corn agriculture.
Team: Cokato Kernels
Manager: Nick Corbin, fourth year
Division: North Star League Central— Howard Lake, Rockford, Maple Lake, Delano, Hutchinson, Loretto, Mound, Maple Plain, Buffalo, Cokato, and Montrose.
State Tournaments: None.
Hall of Famers: None.
2017 finish: In the 2017 League Playoffs, the Kernels won the “pigtail” bracket in two close games, defeating Litchfield 3-2 and Montrose-Waverly 4-3. Cokato then lost two games in the Region 12C playoffs.
Teams to beat: [From NorthStarLeague.org] After winning the title in 2017, Hutchinson returns as the favorite to repeat in the Manager’s poll. Buffalo finished strong last year, and with a young core that now is experienced in the playoffs and state tournament, they should be a strong contender.
Maple Lake is chosen third. The Lakers recent history shows they can win a lot of games by scoring a lot of runs and their pitching staff is gaining experience to make them competitive in tight games too. Howard Lake is picked fourth and as usual will rely on pitcing and defense to win enough games to contend for the top spot.
Key returning players: Key veterans returning on the offensive side include Tom Halonen, Billy Aho, Isaac Nelson, Ethan Niemela, Luke Morris, and Luke Nelson. The pitching staff includes Steve Schmitt, Dalton Asplin, Tanner Terning, and Vinne Pokornowski.
Being a young team full of talent and speed, but without the superstar players of other teams in the league, the entire team will have to step up and contribute. A complete team effort is needed for the Kernels to win – throwing strikes, playing good defense, and wreaking havoc on the bases.
Key losses from 2017: Losses from the 2017 Kernels roster include Nick Main and Isak Haataja.
Key 2018 acquisitions: The Kernels added Jake Hendrickson, Chad Koivisto and Jacob Schmitz as big additions this season.