On the Bubble: Burlington


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer, Associate Scout

On Tuesday, April 21, the WIAA Board of Control asserted to cancel all 2020 spring competitions, baseball included. While saddened for the graduating class of 2020, the PBR Wisconsin staff will do its best to highlight what could have been this spring, in what was set to be an exciting campaign filled with intriguing storylines to know and players to follow.

We published our ‘Watchlist Squads’ post on Monday, April 20, spotlighting almost 20 need-to-know programs that fell short of official ‘Bubble’ or Power 25 status for our preseason team rankings. Today, and for the remainder of the week, we’re going to be individually detailing our ‘On the Bubble’ teams – teams that earned serious consideration for our Preseason Power 25 Rankings, but ultimately fell just short.

Our 2020 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Burlington
Preseason Rank: On The Bubble
2019 Record: 24-6
Conference: Southern Lakes
WIAA Class: D-1
Head Coach: Scott Staude
Playoff Run: D-1 State Semifinalists
2019 Final Rank: 4
Returning Starters: 7
Returning Pitchers: 3 

OUTLOOK

Burlington’s class of 2019 was so special, and it went beyond its two special aces LHP Trey Krause (Illinois State) and RHP Trent Turzenski (Valparaiso). The staff’s top three arms and first six bats are gone and graduated and that’s going to be a near impossible task to replace.

We’ve become accustomed to seeing Burlington’s name etched into the Southern Lakes Conference crown since 2016, but this year, it’s up for grabs.

That isn’t to say the Demons couldn’t have come down with it again, but it would have been especially hard. They shared last year’s title with Union Grove, a squad that (no spoiler) looks a lot like last year’s D-2 runners-up. Elkhorn, Wilmot, Westosha Central each look capable of stealing the conference, too, and that means an uphill battle for the traditional power.

However, coach Staude has effectively cultivated a fundamentals-first atmosphere which has allowed the program to churn out success on repeat. His job would have been harder in 2020 but not impossible. There were going to be a lot of experienced seniors in this year’s dugout with a couple key juniors, like Kale Dietz and Chase Ketterhagen.

You can’t underestimate Burlington, but 2020 may have been more a rebuilding year for the Demons rather than the state contender we’d been used to seeing.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

It’s a shame this Class of 2020 weren’t able to receive the opportunity of picking up the pieces left behind by their upperclass mates. Seniors like Dalton Damon, Tyler Duesing, Christian Brenner, Skylar Danielson, and Otto Traxinger are a plenty deep enough group to rally around – and the aforementioned juniors make them look deeper than expected all of a sudden. The rotation was, no secret, their weak point. No teams have replacement plans after graduating two of the best arms in the state, and Burlington had no obvious choices, though it would have been exciting to see who could take over and handle those responsibilities.

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