Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


March 13, 2014

Czachorski: Saying bye to basketball

EFFINGHAM — I can't claim to fully understand how it felt for the Dieterich Movin' Maroons and the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes Tuesday night, seeing an amazingly successful season come to an end.

All you can do is ask someone to explain a feeling that persists much longer than a proverbial punch to the gut, and more often than not, the people affected don't have the words — see Teutopolis coach Andy Fehrenbacher for proof.

“Not many programs can say they’ve gotten this far four times in a row, but when you don’t break through, it makes it harder and harder each year,” Fehrenbacher said Tuesday. “I’m at such a loss and I’m empty inside.”

As a subpar baseball player on a subpar baseball team in high school, we never made it out of the first round of the Michigan high school playoffs, taking a team to extra innings once before ultimately losing, so I can't even relate on an athletic level.

So as we sit here at the end of basketball season and hopefully less than a week from baseball and softball, the only way I can relate is from my perch as the sports editor here.

When teams get as far as Dieterich and Teutopolis, and even the Teutopolis girls, things get complicated for me. Above all, I'm to remain unbiased and not play favorites, but it's hard not to get caught up in things.

On some level, it would have made me happy if Dieterich and/or Teutopolis had won last night. Not because I'm a fan of the school or the team — also, not that I'm not. Again, it's a unbiased thing — but I'm a fan of the story, and the better the story, the more excited I get.

And what stories they would have been and continued to grow into. I touched on the main threads in both previews for the teams. Dieterich had a shot to advance to its first ever state tournament, while Teutopolis had a chance to remove a giant roadblock that has stood at that level of the playoffs for the entirety of their seniors' careers at Teutopolis.

If St. Anthony, Altamont, Effingham, Newton, really any school we cover at the EDN, had gotten to this point, I'd feel the same. At this point of the season, every team has a story full of trials, tribulations, ups and downs, that would have been something reporters like myself would have loved to sink their teeth into.

With that in mind, I still am thinking, "What if they'd won? What kind of story could have been written, what kind would the players tell?" And those stories would have been fun to pursuit, but now they can't be.

So when players and coaches think about that what-if game, I get it — in fact, I more than get it. Their what-ifs represent their dreams not being fulfilled, and coming up short despite all the work they've put in. They still want to know what could have happened if the ball bounced different a few ways for the Shoes Tuesday, or if Dieterich could have corralled the energy it had during a 14-2 run for just a few more minutes.

My what-if just boils down to an extension of theirs, and would have just resulted in a slightly more fun week at work with a trip to Peoria at the end of it.

Now, I wait just a few days, or maybe weeks if the ground isn't ready for baseball and softball, and Alex McNamee and I get another crack at more storylines.

For players like Teutopolis' Cody Will, Reed Hardiek, Bobby Wenthe and others, and Dieterich's Tanner Traub and Josh Campbell, their basketball stories in high school are over. For players like Teutopolis' Brett Mette and Dieterich's Alex Bohnhoff, among others, it's about wanting to get back to that point and rewrite the story next year at any cost.

But looking back at the seasons of all the area teams, it's been a hell of a collective story, from Altamont's great season, St. Anthony's re-emergence, Effingham's Apollo dominance, and even individual moments on some teams that didn't make it as far like buzzer-beaters, upsets, rivalry wins, etc. That's what I'm taking from this season, and that's what I hope the Wooden Shoes and Movin' Maroons can too.

On to the next set of stories. I hope they're as fun as basketball was.


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  • Bateman.jpg 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.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bierman.jpg 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.”

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Barnes3.jpg 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.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mammoser2.jpg 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.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Campton.jpg Dieterich Post 628 eliminates Teutopolis Post 924 3-2

    Errors proved to be Teutpolis Post 924's undoing against Dieterich Post 628, as Dieterich's sixth-inning rally in an 3-2 win were boosted by three Teutopolis errors
    To lead off the sixth, Trenton Poe reached on an error by Brock Bueker, and came around to score on an infield single by Ryan Radloff with a throwing error on Bueker. Poe was already on third when the ball went in the Teutopolis dugout, awarding Poe home to tie the game.
    Bryce McClain followed with an RBI single to score Radloff and put Post 628 up for good. Dieterich scored again on a Briar Schmidt groundout where first baseman Brant Bueker tried to get an inning-ending out at second, but the throw was wild and brought home McClain.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teutopolis, Deters down Altamont Post 512 2-0

    TEUTOPOLIS — Lucas Deters didn't get a ton of run support from his Teutopolis Post 924 teammates, but he didn't need much in a complete-game shutout, and Teutopolis ended Altamont Post 512's season with a 2-0 win Sunday afternoon.
    Deters' efforts at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament kept Teutopolis alive in the loser's bracket to face Dieterich Post 628 immediately following the win.

    July 21, 2014

  • Poe.jpg Two-out rally pushes Dieterich to win; Post 628 beats Vandalia Post 95 4-3

    Down one with two outs and Vandalia Post 95 ace Zach Schaal coming in in relief, Dieterich Post 628 had a tough task to keep its season alive.
    But down 3-2, Cole Hartke and Charlie Thoele laced back-to-back singles to score Briar Schmidt and Flach, respectively, to take a 4-3 lead.
    Clayton Campton held the lead in the seventh, striking out two and getting Post 95 in order to keep Dieterich's season alive.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jansen.jpg Late Newton rally downs Robinson 4-2

    Newton Post 20 rarely had an answer for Robinson Post 69's Brayden Burch, but thanks to a few key Robinson errors, Newton took their District 23 opener 4-2 Friday night.
    With the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Mitch Jansen led off with a walk, followed by Tim Weber reaching on an error by Robinson shortstop Zander Laino and a bunt single by Luke Geier.
    Mike Carr came through with a bloop single to center, scoring Jansen to put Newton up 2-1.Burch struck out John Grunloh and Joe Stone, but second baseman Cameron Neese booted a grounder by Mitch Bierman and two more runs scored.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kenter2.jpg Teutopolis takes down South Central 3-1

    Teutopolis Post 924 scored its first run two batters into the game and would never trail from there, holding off late rallies from South Central Post 519 to win 3-1 at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament Friday night.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Clausius (2).JPG Post 120 pulls away from Dieterich

    A pitcher’s duel between Effingham’s Will Clausius and Dieterich’s Charlie Thoele broke not at the plate, but on the mound.
    Tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Effingham Post 120 got its first run via a bases-loaded, two out balk. The lead would hold up as Post 120’s offense sparked, and Effingham beat Dieterich Post 628 5-0 in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament opener.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

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