Sports

Legion team warming up

By MATT JOHNSON

Record editor

Nobody said it was going to be an easy summer of baseball for the South Whidbey Legion team

After playing a .500 season last year, the junior AA league team — made up of South Whidbey and Coupeville high school baseball players — has been taking a bit of a beating as they’ve started their 2003 schedule. After a 3-0 road loss to Arlington Thursday night, the 18-member squad is 0-8 and has been outscored by their opponents 4 to 1 on average.

But with school out and more frequent practices scheduled, the season may be on the upswing. Thursday’s game was the closest the team has played this season and, with about 18 games remaining, there is a lot of time left for improvement.

South Whidbey coach Harvey Friesen said this week the toughest thing about playing in the league’s southern division — which includes Monroe, Marysville, Everett, Arlington, Meadowdale and Stanwood — is the fact that the other teams have, in many cases, hundreds of players to draw from to build the lineups. For South Whidbey, 18 turned out and 18 are are on the roster.

“These are pretty big programs,” Friesen said of the opposition.

With a small bullpen — made up of Logan Hanna, Stephan Kolbo, Andrew Hosmer, Joel Friesen and Dustin Sidhu — and a young team heavy with players who will be high school juniors next year, the Legion team has the primary goal of keeping the players in shape for high school competition. Playing on a shoe string and in uniforms loaned by South Whidbey High School, the team is working to stay in shape and to have fun.

“Every kid who shows up will play,” Friesen said. “The priority is to improve the high school team.”

Filling out the roster are Jason Mannie, Max Burr, Dane Guetlin, Levi Eggerton, Tony Parra, Eric Flister, Hing Potter, Jacob Crosby and Conley White, and Coupeville players Casey Jensen and Kirby and Casey Mitchell.

Now that school is out and more practice is possible, Friesen said he expects his team will cut down on the errors that have plagued them in the early going. This should help the team win a few games and, possibly, make an impression at the team’s first summer tournament, scheduled for June 27-29.

The team plays next at home on Thursday. All home games are played at South Whidbey High School.

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