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Legion team is 3-0 but has had many games postponed

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jun 27, 2021

It has been an unusual start to the American Legion baseball season for the Blue Earth/Winnebago team.

On the one hand, the team is undefeated with a record of three wins and zero losses.

On the other hand, the team has had seven of their first 10 games postponed.

“Part of the blame can go to COVID,” Legion coach Paul Nienaber said. “Some of the high school sports seasons, such as baseball and trap shooting, were pushed back and interfered with the start of Legion ball.”

The other factor, according to the coach, has been a shortage of players on some of the other teams.

“If some players are gone to a summer sports camp, have to work, or are on a family vacation, it can leave some squads with insufficient numbers to put a team on the field,” Nienaber states.

Fortunately, the number of players available to take the field has not been a problem for BE/W.

“We have a decent-sized squad of 16 players so we can handle it if a couple of guys are unable to make it to a game,” Nienaber commented. “Some of the other teams do not have that luxury.”

BE/W’s wins have come against Welcome/Sherburn, who they defeated 15-8 on June 10 and against Madelia. BE/W won both games of a doubleheader against Madelia on June 14, winning the first game 8-3 and coming out on top in the second game 13-6.

The team has had to postpone a doubleheader against Minnesota Lake on both June 3 and June 21, two games against Fairmont on June 7 and a single game against Wells on June 17.

“It is a little frustrating but we just have to be ready to play when the opportunity arises,” Nienaber said.

The youngest players on the BE/W team will be sophomores during the next school year while the oldest players graduated from high school this year.

“We can hit the ball,” Nienaber noted. “But what makes us good is our aggressiveness on the base-paths. We are ready to take advantage of any miscue the defense makes. We want to make their defense make plays.”

Regardless of how many regular season games the team is able to play this season, the playoffs will begin July 8-11 with sub-Sub-State games. Sub-State playoff games will be held the weekend of July 15-18. The American Legion State Tournament will be held on July 29-Aug. 1, in St. Cloud.