Archive for Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Undefeated Post 41 rolling this season

June 14, 2011

8 WINS, NO LOSSES

Eight games into its season, Tonganoxie’s Post 41 American Legion baseball team is unbeaten.

June 5 — McLouth, W 12-1, W 20-3

June 7 — Leav. Knights, W 23-6, W 12-10

June 9 — at Lansing Reds, W 15-0, W 11-6

June 12 — at Basehor, W 13-0, W 9-0

A year ago, the Tonganoxie Post 41 baseball team lost more often than it won. This season, with a core group back, a new head coach and two major additions, the American Legion squad has yet to lose once.

Dominating victories of 13-0 and 9-0 Sunday at Basehor improved Tonganoxie’s record to 8-0 this season. The first win, which lasted just five innings, came with a no-hit outing from starting pitcher Dylan Puhr, who struck out 12 batters.

Post 41’s new head coach, Nick Walters, was an assistant last season. He said Puhr and Ben Williams (both of whom are new members of the team) have been important additions to Tonganoxie’s core group of returning players: AJ Gilbert, Dylan Fosdick, Corey Klinkenberg, Austin Harkrader and Cody Saladin.

A year removed from a 10-13 season, Tonganoxie has outscored its opponents 115-26 through eight games. That’s roughly 14 runs an outing for Post 41 and a three-run average for its opponents.

From opening day this year, it was clear Tonganoxie was capable of putting runs on the board. On June 5 against McLouth, Williams, Harkrader, Puhr and Fosdick all drove in multiple runs in one of the games. Harkrader secured a 20-3, four-inning landslide in the second game with a grand slam to left field.

It was more of the same Sunday at Basehor. Harkrader went 5-for-7 with two triples and a double in the sweep. Tucker Hollingsworth and Klinkenberg drove in two runs apiece in the 13-0 win. In the 9-0 victory, a four-inning outing for starting pitcher Gilbert, Garret Elston was 2-for-3 and Hollingsworth knocked in two more runs.

Walters said Tonganoxie has been pounding the ball.

“You never want to complain when you’ve got half the lineup hitting .500 or better,” the coach said.

Pitching, obviously, has been a strength as well. Gilbert, Puhr and Tyler Freeman have all enjoyed success on the hill so far this season.

“Pitching has been killing,” Walters said, noting the only downside of the strikeouts the staff is piling up is that the defense doesn’t see much action.

When a bored defense is the biggest complaint, clearly things are going a lot better this season for Post 41.

Tonganoxie is off until 6 p.m. Tuesday, when it plays host to a doubleheader against Geiger at Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.

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