In the aftermath of a tough, 2-0 season-ending defeat to Belleville, Effingham American Legion Post 120 coach Brian Hayes offered up his philosophy on how he coached the team.It wasn't about his in-game adjustments, motivational tactics or how he filled out a lineup card. "I like them to set their own limits," Hayes said. "I like to just let the kids play. I try to tell them that all I can control is their attitude and effort, wins and losses will take care of themselves."A refreshing take to coaching, no doubt, and one that once again turned out to be quite successful. Under the guidance of Hayes and assistant coach Andy McDonald, Post 120 advanced to the third day of the Fifth Division tournament at Fairview Heights after winning its third straight District 23 championship one week prior. Rather than scream or yell, Hayes is consistently quiet and laid-back in the dugout."I'm the last person you hear usually," Hayes said. "They adapt well to that. We have a lot of kids that I think have improved."Battling summer camps and family vacations early in the season, Post 120 really came on late in the year, as evidenced by the postseason run. Six batters hit above .300 once the regular season came to a close, led by Carter Hayes' .444 average. Drew Levitt hit .375 and the led the team with eight runs scored, while Nate McDonald batted .348 and tied with Hayes for a team-high six RBIs in the playoffs. Levitt and Alec Quandt led the team in postseason doubles with four apiece.On the mound, Quandt and Devin Mayfield guided the squad to a 5-2 playoff record, 4-0 in District 23 action. "I just want them to be better players at the end of the year than they were at the beginning," Brian Hayes said. That was the real focus of the Post 120 season, not the number of wins the team managed to attain. In fact, Hayes wasn't even aware of his team's final record."I don't keep track," he said. "I honestly don't know, it's just attitude and effort."The selfless approach at Post 120 goes all the way up, as supporters Bill Copple, Milt Ellifson and Lou Buennemeyer have helped erase the cost of players having to pay for their spot on the team. "That speaks a lot to what they do and their dedication for the program," Hayes said.Post 120 has built a summer team, and program, the right way. With a number of talented players coming back, and Hayes' patient approach to developing talent, Post 120 should again be a solid squad when the summer of 2014 rolls around.
Newton's season ends in 14-4 loss
Newton Post 20 almost pulled another comeback off against the Orient Miners, cutting a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 midway through Monday night’s game.
But Newton’s Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament run came to an end, as Orient rattled off nine runs in the sixth inning and clinched a spot in the state tournament with a 14-4 win.
Comeback win keeps Post 20 alive in 10-7 win
Newton Post 120 didn’t let a 4-1 deficit get to them against Highland Post 439, using a patient approach in the face of an elimination game.
Three bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the third tied the game at 4-4, and with the bases loaded down 5-4 in the fourth, Tim Weber broke the game open with a two-run double and an error.
By the time the dust settled, Newton led 10-5 heading to the sixth inning and would hold on to a 10-7 win to keep its season alive.
Salem deals Newton first divisional loss
Mitch Bierman started off Newton Post 20’s game against Salem Post 128 with a bang Sunday afternoon, hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on the next batter.
Post 20’s offense didn’t follow his lead from there, as Newton had just three more hits and no runs, and falling in a Junior Legion Fifth Division winner’s bracket game to Salem 12-1 in seven innings.
Newton Post 20 bests Belleville Post 58 in opener 6-1
After a 9-3 loss to Breese Post 252 Gray Monday night, Newton Post 20 coach John Grunloh predicted the five-day break until the Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament would be good for his players, especially his pitchers.Mitch Jansen proved his coach right, spinning a gem in Newton's opener Saturday afternoon as Post 20 made short work of Belleville Post 58 6-1.
Hearts to prep with Mattoon 7-on-7
Two weeks ago, Effingham was supposed to start shaking off the rust with a 7-on-7 football tournament in Mattoon. Naturally, it rained and was canceled.
So Saturday, the Flaming Hearts will head up to Mattoon and play their first 7-on-7 event of the season, taking part in an 10- team field with Mattoon, Rochester, Robinson, Marshall, Cahokia and Pleasant Plains from Illinois, with Terre Haute North and Northview coming from Indiana. Rochester is bringing two squads.
Newton Post 20 plays Belleville Saturday
With the District 23 tournament behind them, Newton Post 20 now knows its fate for the Fifth Division Junior Legion tournament this weekend in Bethalto.
Newton will play Belleville Post 58 at 2:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Bethalto, in the third game of six on the day.
Effingham's season comes to a close with 11-1 loss to Salem
A 1-0 lead for Effingham Post 120 rapidly evaporated, and the post’s Junior Legion season came to an end with a 11-1 loss in five innings to Salem Post 128 Tuesday night.
The game was for the final spot of District 23 in the divisional tournament, with Newton Post 20 and Breese Post 252 Gray punching their tickets by winning their district divisions.
Newton Post 20 falls short against Breese Gray 9-3
While the District 23 title ultimately exceeded Newton Post 20’s grasp, their season will continue in Bethalto.
Newton took on Breese Post 252 Gray for the Junior Legion District 23 title as the two division winners, but Breese’s bats proved too much for Newton in an 9-3 loss for Post 20.
“The innings where they put some runs on us, we gave them some extra outs,” said Newton coach John Grunloh. “You’ve got to make the plays when you play better teams.”
Barnes' one-hitter boosts Post 120; Effingham beats Dieterich 1-0
Ryan Barnes hasn’t seen a lot of time with Effingham Post 120’s junior legion team this season, but he showed up in a big way Monday night in a 1-0 win over Dieterich Post 628.
The win kept Effingham’s season alive one more day in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament, as the post will face Salem Post 128 at 5:30 p.m. today for the district’s final spot in the divisional round. Salem Post 128 downed Mt. Vernon Post 141 1-0 in the West Division loser’s bracket, setting up the final with Effingham today.
Newton Post 20 tops Effingham Post 120 7-5 late
Most of the games at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament have seen pitching take control, but the pitchers in Sunday night's Effingham Post 120/Newton Post 20 game faced an uphill battle.
While Brock Mammoser started the game for Post 20 on the hill and struggled, he came through with the biggest hit in the game, putting Newton up for good in a 7-5 win over Effingham.
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