Published On: May 26th, 2009
By Jonah Braun
Wednesday, May 27, the Mallards open their preseason with an exhibition match against the Swedish national team. While the game will not count in the record books, the coaching staff is still excited for the team’s opportunity to get an early start to the season.

Taking the mound for the Mallards will be USC junior Jordan Hershiser, son of the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser. After suffering an arm injury following his freshman year as a Trojan, Hershiser underwent Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss out on the entire 2009 season. During his first season at USC, Hershiser made 13 appearances, posting an 8.22 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched.

Hershiser does, however, feel fully recovered. In an interview conducted in early May, Hershiser said he is completely pain free and feels no ill effects from the surgery.

“Everything is going good, my arm feels better than it has over the past five years,” he said. “Right now I feel better than I have ever in my life. Once the season starts I should be ready to go, I’m really excited to get out there.”

As for the team goals for the exhibition game, Mallards pitching coach Jason Immekus noted that while the game won’t count for statistics, it will be a good gauge for the upcoming season. Also, with 27 new players on the roster, Immekus is eager to see his new players take at bats.

“With having a set of new guys, and with this game, we’re just looking for a chance to see guys swing the bat in a real game situation,” he said.

The Swedish team will bring in a set of players most Wisconsinites have never heard of. Led by head coach Karl Knuttson, the Swedes have also faced the Lacrosse Loggers and  However, the Swedish team does have two players who played for MLB organizations.

Infielder Adam Sorgi, who played in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, will take the field with outfielder Tony Dermendziev, who played in the Colorado Rockies organization. Both players did not advance higher than A ball in the minor leagues.

The Mallards are the third and final team the Swedish national team will play in the Northwoods League, wrapping up its 13-day baseball trip in the United States. For the Mallards, playing the Swedish team might be more of a novelty experience than anything else. Nevertheless, Immekus is enthusiastic about the game, despite its unfamiliarity.

“Really, it’s exciting any time we can get on the field, regardless of who we’re playing,” Immekus said.”

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