On the Bench with Byron Higgin

Baseball made great progress

Last week the Vultures seasons, both for the Legion and Jr. Legion teams, came to an end. “I wish it didn’t end so soon,” one mother told me. One of the players also told me it ended far too soon for him. All of this means the season was a success because everyone, players, fans, parents and grandparents all had a good time. After the last game, Jr. Legion Coach J.D. Pesch had some nice thoughts about the teams and the state of baseball in Minneota.

First, he said he really didn’t know what happened that made the Minneota pitchers so wild in that final game against Madison.

“I’m not sure what happened to the control last night? It’s the same as the ending of the High School season and the Senior Legion. I feel that we have made a lot of progress with pitching and have developed plenty of arms, but we are missing the confidence and mental toughness to overcome the pressure in the playoffs. It’s definitely on the list of improvements yet to be made,” he said.

But Coach Pesch added, “I’m very happy and proud of the Junior Legion team this year as well as Varsity and Senior Legion.”

He said, “We have made it farther in playoffs the last few years in all three while staying consistent doing it.”

The High School Team made it to top three and four in sections the past two years for the first time in a long time. “And they’ve never done it back-to-back,” said coach Pesch.

“Our Senior Legion program has went deep into the playoffs — Sub-State the past three years, making the final four, two of those years.”

“I bring up those two older teams because a large part of their success was their development in Junior Legion,” he said.

“This is just the fourth year of Junior Legion and we have consistently been one of the top three teams in our district,” he said. “Prior to us having Junior Legion there was no opportunity for these 14-16 year olds to play on their own team.”

“If they played in the summer it was part time or sit the bench in Senior Legion.” Pesch added that, “The Junior Legion Program has been invaluable to the development of these boys to progress into varsity and be successful.”

“Each year we go deep into the playoffs. It is more games played for a Minneota team and that is simply the best way to learn baseball - by playing games.”

What’s important is that the teams have made improvement and steps in the right direction. Rome wasn’t built in a day you know.

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