By Greg Bates
ACN & Times-Press sports correspondent
It’s not the result the Seymour Legion Post 106 team had hoped for in the American Legion AA state tournament.
Seymour had its opening-round game pushed back a day and was forced to play twice on Thursday, July 28, falling in both games to get knocked out of the double-elimination tournament held in River Falls. Seymour lost its opener 12-1 in five innings to Waterford in the afternoon, and then 2 1/2 hours later played Wisconsin Dells, dropping that contest 6-0.
Despite going two-and-done, the Seymour players take away a positive experience.
“It’s just great to get here and kind of see the pageantry and see how the other teams play and how they measured up and then what they have to do to get better,” Seymour coach Jim Niespodzany said. “We saw a lot of really great teams here, and hit the ball hard.
“We had compliments from people on, ‘Congratulations on getting down here. You came out of a tough regional,’” Niespodzany said. “They complimented on how well behaved our kids were and all that, so that’s worth something.”
This marked just the fourth time Seymour had played at state, and the first appearance since 2009. The Seymour coaching staff could tell the players were battling nerves, at least early in the first game of the tournament.
“They didn’t say that, but I sense they were a little tight in the first game, a little nervous,” Niespodzany said. “I think you’re bound to be.”
Seymour faced some good pitching in the two games and managed just four hits and seven baserunners total. In its three regional games to advance to state, Seymour was able to get on base and produce runs mostly via small ball. They didn’t have that opportunity at state.
Seymour 1, five innings
Seymour stayed with Waterford in the first game, trailing 4-1 heading into the fifth. However, Waterford put up eight runs in the top of the inning and closed out Seymour 12-1 in five innings.
Austin Marcks got the start on the mound for Seymour. He was pulled after just 1 1/3 innings as Waterford scored twice in the first inning and two more times in the second.
“He was just having trouble with his control, which is unusual for him,” Niespodzany said.
In recording just four outs, Marcks threw 44 pitches, 20 were balls.
Justin Krull threw the final 3 2/3 innings in relief.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, Justin Krull reached base on a fielder’s choice. He moved up to second on a hit by Sam Blank and to third on a passed ball. With the Waterford pitcher not on the rubber and not paying attention to the runners on base, Krull broke for home and scored.
In the fifth inning, Waterford broke the game wide open. They dropped down three bunts in succession and the Seymour defense had a tough time registering an out. Before it was done, Waterford tacked on eight runs.
Blank and Bennett Temple had the only two hits for Seymour. Waterford finished with 14 hits, seven coming in the final inning.
Wisconsin Dells 6
In a win-or-go-home scenario, Seymour surrendered a big first inning to Wisconsin Dells and had a tough time bouncing back, falling 6-0.
Niespodzany said his team didn’t have any lingering effects from giving up eight runs in the final inning of the previous game.
“Adam (Smet, Seymour pitching coach) and I both told them, ‘Just forget this and let’s just find a way to win,’” Niespodzany said.
Seymour was facing a very experienced Wisconsin Dells squad, which featured six players in its starting lineup who were 19 years old. Four of those guys played college baseball last year. Seymour, on the other hand, started two freshmen and of its nine starters, only four have logged varsity experience.
“We’re a pretty young
By Greg Bates