Is it a rebuild, or just a reload for Lynx?

All-state pitcher Steen thinks WCHS?can contend for league title

Webster City senior Dylan Steen went 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA and 84 strikeouts on the mound a season ago. The all-state hurler will lead the Lynx pitching staff this summer. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — As senior years go, Dylan Steen doesn’t have much to complain about.

Football — All the Webster City standout did last fall was lead Class 3A District 2 in rushing, challenge Iowa’s all-time interception record and earn his second straight first-team all-state accolade in the secondary.

Basketball — Considered a role player as a junior, Steen accepted a new challenge and thrived for the Lynx on the hardwood over the winter. The result? A first-team all-North Central Conference award and one of the big reasons why WCHS surprised pretty much everyone on its way to a runner-up finish in the league behind eventual Class 3A state semifinalist Clear Lake.

And now comes baseball, a sport in which Steen already possesses one all-state honor. If the last eight months are any indication, expect him to continue shining bright.

“We’re really looking forward to this season,” Steen, a versatile player who will pitch, play the hot corner at third and spend time in center field this summer, said. “We have a lot of guys who have been working hard and we have high expectations.”

The players and head coach Adison Kehoe might be expecting big things, but few others are. Following 2017 and 2018 seasons in which WCHS went a combined 36-11 with one NCC title and a runner-up finish, the program should take a slight step backwards after the graduation of five starters, including two-time first-team all-state pitcher Max Hackbarth, or so the theory goes.

Should and will aren’t always the same though.

“This is probably the most excited I’ve been as far as the program goes since I initially took it over,” Kehoe, the third-year head coach, said. “Not to take away from the last two years, but some of the kids who have been on the bench and are now getting the opportunity to play, they’re eager. And I don’t ever look at a season as rebuilding. It’s always hard to lose seniors, but I’ve made it abundantly clear that there is no crutch for that. It’s a matter of showing up and showing out.”

Steen will show up, there’s no doubt about that.

The senior did it all a season ago. On the mound, Steen put together a 8-0 record with a 1.70 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 491⁄3 innings of work. At the plate, he hit .419 with 29 RBIs.

Steen throws hard. He has a biting curve. And when he can locate his pitches, well, good luck to the opposing hitters.

“I’m throwing with a little more velocity now than I was last year,” Steen said. “I’ve been working on my location too, being able to get that first-pitch curveball in there consistently all the time and I think I’m there. When Coach Kehoe started, he said he wanted to build a tradition with his pitching staff and hopefully that’s started.”

Tyler Olson will play a major role on the mound as well. The sophomore went just 41⁄3 innings a season ago, but put up a 1.62 ERA.

“Tyler is an effortless pitcher and the ball pops off his hand,” Kehoe said. “The big thing he’s got is he can throw his change-up and curve in the exact same arm spot. He’s by far our most natural pitcher.”

Caleb Olson, the hardest thrower of the bunch, will see time as the team’s closer. The senior fanned 17 in 101⁄3 innings a summer ago.

Kehoe says the early portion of the season will be used to figure out exactly what WCHS has at its disposal. With so few proven commodities at the varsity level, he says he’ll throw inexperienced players onto the diamond and see how they hold up.

Beau Klaver will get a look at first base. Sean Carver and Devon Stoakes will see time behind the plate. Carson Struchen, a senior who served as a base runner a season ago, will likely take over at second base. Tyler Olson will be at short when he’s not on the mound. And eighth graders Connor Hanson, Ty McKinney and CJ Hisler could all see varsity playing time.

The last time an eighth grader got significant varsity minutes? Mr. Dylan Steen himself.

“Going full circle, it’s kind of cool,” Steen said. “Being the leader on the team, it makes it a lot easier for me because I’ve been in those situations. I can help them learn from those experiences.”

The new-look Lynx will go public this evening when they travel to Jewell to take on South Hamilton in a non-conference junior varsity/varsity doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m.

Webster City Schedule

Date Opponent Time

May 20 at South Hamilton 7:30

May 22 at Woodward-Granger 7:30

May 23 Carroll 7:30

May 28 at Storm Lake 7:30

May 29 at Greene County 7:30

May 30 at Ames 7:30

June 4 Saydel 7:30

June 5 at Clear Lake 7:30

June 6 at Pocahontas Area 7:30

June 7 St. Edmond 7:30

June 8 at Colo-NESCO TBA

June 10 at Iowa Falls-Alden 7:30

June 12 at CGD 7:30

June 13 Boone 7:30

June 17 Hampton-Dumont 7:30

June 19 at Algona 7:30

June 20 at Ballard 7:30

June 24 Clear Lake 7:30

June 25 at Nevada 7:30

June 26 Humboldt 7:30

June 29 at Algona Garrigan 7:30

July 1 at St. Edmond 7:30

July 3 CGD 7:30

July 5 at Hampton-Dumont 7:30

July 8 Algona 7:30

July 9 at Coon Rapids-Bayard 7:30

July 10 at Humboldt 7:30

July 15 Iowa Falls-Alden 7:30

July 16 at Sprit Lake 7:30