Posted 5/31/16 (Tue)
By Jody Michael
For Crosby’s American Legion baseball team, merely taking the field again Thursday, hosting Stanley at 5 p.m. for its season opener, will be reason enough for optimism.
Last year’s revival of the Legion program had attracted barely enough players to field a team. This year, all but two of those players are back -- and three more have joined.
“I’m happy we got 14, and that we’re steady at 14,” coach Monte Ellingson said. “That’s more than I’ve had in the last seven or eight years of coaching; we were always fighting having 11 or 12. This way we can get over a few absences.”
After a handful of practices, Ellingson expressed confidence that the second season of competition would fare better than the first, in which the Cubs were consistently overmatched.
“It’s going better than last year,” Ellingson said. “We’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were.”
Ellingson said the team’s best asset is its defense.
“So far, that’s what’s looked the best,” he said. “They’ve been catching the ball well.”
At the very least, most of the players have some Legion experience under their belts now, and the sophomore-heavy team of last year is now a junior-heavy team. Even so, the Cubs will likely once again have the region’s youngest roster by far.
“Most of the team is still 16 or under,” Ellingson said. “Only three are above 16. Hopefully they all stick around.”
Increasing the challenge is that the other towns in Crosby’s region also have a spring baseball team in the high-school league, giving each of them a two-month head start over the Cubs.
“It’s going to be tough, but hopefully we’re much more competitive,” Ellingson said. “It will take time to learn the game and develop a little bit. But the more experience they have, the better they should be.”
Team members are Alex Bailey, Emma Bydal, Tyler Deering, Isaac Ellingson, Aidan and Evan Eriksmoen, Tyler Harward, Jaden Holm, Dejaun Jenkins, Troy Knudson, Grant Kocher, Joran and Keaton Oien and Bradon Peterson.
The Cubs have four other confirmed home dates so far, also on Thursdays: June 9 and 16 and July 7 and 14. A few games are still to be scheduled.