LA CROSSE, WIs. -

For many, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. Right on cue, La Crosse's boys of summer are back.

The Loggers met briefly for the first time Sunday, and held their first practice Monday morning at The Lumberyard. The defending Northwoods League Champions, La Crosse returns only one starter from last season: Central grad Bobby Juan.

"Hopefully we can put together another good season and have a lot of success again," the current Minnesota Golden Gopher said.

The Loggers are also without manager Andy McKay, who accepted a position with the Colorado Rockies and decided not to return. Jason Nell takes his place as the Loggers' skipper. Nell is 8th on the Northwoods League all-time win list, having managed at Mankato and Waterloo.

"You still get the butterflies or the anxiousness and I know, being in the division we're in, it's cut-throat," he said. "I'm excited. It doesn't get any easier, if anything, [winning the championship] raises the bar a little bit, especially with what Andy and the whole organization did last year.

"You'd be a knucklehead if you didn't want to come coach in La Crosse."

The Loggers begin the season Wednesday, May 29 at Battle Creek. The first home game is Sunday, June 2 versus Wisconsin Rapids.