Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

July 26, 2013

Hayes' hands-off approach paid dividends for Post 120

Daily News

---- — 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.