A-B-E Legion is clicking at the right time
The Ashby-Brandon-Evansville Post 188 baseball team wanted to be playing good baseball heading into the playoffs and they got their wish after winning five of six to end the regular season at 7-4.
That came after a 2-3 start where players admit they had to refocus after playing a little too loose at the start of the summer. Post 188 did that and earned the third seed in the District 7 North playoffs as a result.
“Less goofing around, more focusing on the game,” leadoff hitter James Huisman said after a 3-1 win over Glenwood last Thursday night. “We usually have fun a lot of the time, but we were not paying as much attention to the game as we should have been, so we weren’t playing our best baseball.”
The players for Post 188 are back to enjoying the game but playing with a focus and it showed in a clean game against Glenwood.
Senior Tom Bosek was sharp on the mound in a complete-game performance. It was part of a busy day for A-B-E as it hosted Osakis in a 4-0 loss in the afternoon before salvaging the split with the win over Glenwood.
Bosek returned from a hand injury on Thursday night and led his team from the mound with just one earned run allowed on five hits, a walk and six strikeouts. He got into a groove in the middle innings, fanning four of the six batters he faced through the fourth and fifth innings.
“He had the fracture in his throwing hand so that kind of hurt him a little bit,” head coach Trent Hintermeister said. “It was good to see him like this tonight because he’s definitely our ace. Without him we’re not going to be able to make a run in the playoffs; with him we will.”
Bosek’s only blemish came in the seventh inning when a ball hit to right field took a bad hop and went for a triple before Glenwood scored its only run on an RBI single two batters later. He settled down to strike out the next man he faced before inducing a weak ground ball back to the mound for the final out.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today but I thought I still did pretty decent and got the job done,” Bosek said. “Just throw strikes and hope that my defense plays well.”
His defense did play well behind him. Glenwood led off with a walk in the third inning, but a nice play up the middle at short by Christian McGaffey allowed his team to get out of the inning unscathed. McGaffey fielded the ball going to his left, stepped on second and threw to first for an inning-ending double play. That was part of 10 straight batters set down by Bosek.
“Defensively, in the beginning of the season we were just booting the ball around and making mental errors,” Hintermeister said. “Just dumb stuff, but we’ve kind of picked it up here at the end of the season…it starts with the infield. I thought Christian did a really good job at shortstop today. Jake Nohre’s a heck of a second baseman, and we’ve got a ringer at first base in Brandon Christianson so that always helps.”
Post 188 got just enough offense to secure the win. They scored two runs in the second inning after Gage Olson and McGaffey led off with singles. Olson came around to score on an error and Nohre drove in McGaffey with the second run before he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
The only other run came in the fifth when Robbie Juul led off with a single. Blake Ohren followed with a double and James Huisman singled home Juul to make it a 3-0 game.
Ashby-Brandon-Evansville simply ran into another dominant start by Osakis’ ace, Jordan Frederick earlier in the day. He held Post 188 to just two hits and struck out 10 in five innings. Frederick fanned the side in the first and struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced.
“He was good,” Huisman said. “He threw fast and he hit his spots.”
Even in a loss, it was a good test for A-B-E against an Osakis team that is loaded with talent and ranked eighth in the latest Legion state polls. It’s a team A-B-E would have to get past to get out of its district. That’s a tough challenge, but this team felt good about how it has been playing after sweeping WCA in 12-2 and 4-2 games earlier in the week.
“The first half of the season was a little rough, but the second half we’ve been doing pretty well,” Bosek said. “We were on a good winning streak so the second half has been better.”
Hintermeister said it starts by getting good pitching and playing solid defense for this team. He believes they are good enough offensively to score runs against a lot of teams they might face.
Bosek is the ace, but Hintermeister also mentioned Huisman and Brandon Christianson as guys behind him who give the team a chance by throwing strikes and letting the defense work behind them.
Hintermeister knows how good top-seeded Osakis is in their district. They will be the favorites going into the tournament, but A-B-E hopes to show it can play with a talented field.
“Message to the guys is just keep playing with confidence,” Hintermeister said. “It really starts on the mound when our pitchers throw strikes and our defense is there to back them up. We’re a good enough team offensively. We can get our bats going, but sometimes we take ourselves out of the game when we’re not ready defensively.”
A-B-E 3, Glenwood 1
A-B-E PITCHING – Bosek – W, 7IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 6SO
A-B-E OFFENSE – Huisman – 1-3, RBI; Bosek – 0-3; Craig Campbell – 1-3; Christianson – 1-3; Olson – 1-3, 1 run; C. McGaffey – 2-3, 3B, 1 run; Juul – 1-3, 1 run; Ohren – 1-2, 2B; Nohre – 1-2, RBI
Osakis 4, A-B-E 0
A-B-E PITCHING – Zach Johnson – L, 7IP, 4H, 4R, 6BB, 1SO
A-B-E OFFENSE – Huisman – 0-3; McGaffey – 0-3; Bosek – 1-3; Christianson – 1-3; Z. Johnson – 0-2; Kevin Campbell – 0-2; Juul – 1-2, 2B
A-B-E 4, WCA 2
PITCHING – Morgan Wing – W; WCA – Jordan Beuchens – L
A-B-E OFFENSE – Huisman – 0-2, BB, HBP, 1 run; McGaffey – 1-3, 1 run; C. Campbell – 3-3, 2 RBI; Christianson – 0-3, 1 run; Olson – 0-2, BB; Johnson – 0-3; Skyler Quinn – 0-2; Nohre – 0-1, 1 run; Anthony Blom – 0-2; K. Campbell – 0-1; Ohren – 2-2, 2B, 1 run, RBI
A-B-E 12, WCA 2
PITCHING – A-B-E – Juul – W
A-B-E OFFENSE – K. Campbell – 0-2, BB, 2 runs; McGaffey – 2-3, 1 run, RBI; C. Campbell – 2-3, 2B, 2 runs, 3 RBI; Christianson – 2-3, 2B, 1 run, 3 RBI; Huisman – 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Z. Johnson – 1-2, RBI; Olson – 1-1, 2B, 1 run, RBI; Ohren – 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Pat McGaffey – 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Nohre – 1-2