It’s American Legion baseball time once again.
The Washington Post 218 Freshman Legion team is scheduled to start the season this week with its annual season-opening home tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
Quite a bit has changed with the Post 218 squad since it won the Freshman Legion state title last July in Branson.
Jordan Bierbaum is taking over as manager this summer and he’s thrilled with his coaching staff.
“Being my first year as manager of the freshman team, I am glad to say that Kevin Juergens, Scott Forrester and Phil Mallinckrodt, whom all have years of coaching knowledge, will be with me this year,” Bierbaum said. “Kevin lead the Freshman team to a state tournament title in Branson last year and we look forward to giving it a go again this year.”
Two players are back from that team. Gus Kleekamp and Kody Halmich are the returning players.
“We have what seems to be a great nucleus of players this year,” said Bierbaum. “Two players, Gus Kleekamp and Kody Halmich are the only players back from the previous year. That means the team will lean on their shoulders to learn how to play Washington Legion baseball. I am sure they will play a big role in our success.”
The rest of the team is new to the Legion program.
“We have a lot of new faces on the team this year,” Bierbaum said. “However, I feel the talent is there to make for a good season. They say pitching and defense is the key to winning and that will be no different for this team. If we are to have success we must do the little things right on a consistent basis. It’s my job to get us to that level of play, and I look forward to the challenge.”
New to the program are Blake Pickard, Chris Schweissguth, Cody Smith, Daniel Diener, Garrett Leimkuehler, Jace Backs, James Dyson, Jeremy Monehan, Joseph Grant, Justin Repp, Kolby Lang, Nik Alferman, Trey Hunter, Tyler Miller, William Davis and Zach Marquart.
“We have some question marks as well,” Bierbaum said. “With the rain this spring, it’s been tough to really get a good feel for the players on the team and what they can do. Since we can not practice with the team until they finish high school ball, I feel like we are starting in a tough position.”
The six-team event starts Thursday with pool play.
Washington is in Pool A along with Creve Coeur and De Soto. The other pool consists of Ballwin, Jackson and Elsberry.
Post 218 will open the tournament Friday at 6 p.m. against De Soto. The 8:30 p.m. game will be Ballwin against Elsberry.
On Saturday, Creve Coeur plays De Soto at 11 a.m. Ballwin follows against Jackson at 1:30 p.m.
Washington will play Creve Coeur at 4 p.m. and Jackson meets Elsberry at 6:30 p.m.
On Sunday, the consolation game between third-place teams from each pool starts the action at 1 p.m.
The Pool A winner then plays the Pool B runner-up at 3:30 p.m. The second semifinal, between the Pool B winner and the Pool A runner-up, follows at 6 p.m.
The tournament concludes Tuesday, May 21.
The third-place game starts at 6 p.m. with the championship contest at 8:30 p.m.