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Host team awaits Post 37 at regional

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Enid, Okla., squad is 12-time state champ

By Todd Martin

The Shelbyville American Legion Post 37 baseball team wrapped up its fifth state championship this past weekend. Though that seems like a lot, it pales in comparison to the team’s next opponent.

Enid, Okla., the host squad of this year’s Mid-South Regional, is a 12-time state champ. Though it didn’t win this season, it did win consecutive titles from 2005 to 2008, so experience is on the side of the host team this week.

But despite Enid’s success, Shelbyville Coach Jim Wiley said he likes his team’s chances when the tournament begins Thursday in this town just west of Tulsa.

“I have a good feeling about it,” he said. “I know what this team is capable of. The way we got hot last week, and with the way we played so well, I feel pretty good.”

Shelbyville wrapped the season 23-14, and Enid finished 40-13.

But Wiley said his team is fresh going into the tournament, and with the way they hit the ball at the State Tournament, they should be in every game.

“If our pitching is there like it was last week – we know we can hit – we’ll be able to compete,” said second baseman JoJo Simms, who led the charge at State with a .571 average for four games.

As a team, Shelbyville had a .340 batting average and scored more than 12 runs per game.

Though that kind of output may be a bit optimistic against better competition, first baseman Eric Standafer thinks Shelbyville’s streak can continue.

“I think we can get at least five or six runs per game,” he said. “If we can do that and pitch like we have been, I think we’ll do well.

"We’ve been more selective and looking for that good pitch to hit. That’s something we have to continue to do.”

The double-elimination regional begins Thursday with four games. Louisiana champ New Orleans Post 288 (25-7) plays Nebraska champ Omaha Post 374 (41-3) at 8:30 a.m. in the opener, and Mississippi champ Hattiesburg Post 24 (19-10) will play Arkansas champ Jonesboro Post 21 (31-10) following the first game.

The second doubleheader will have Oklahoma champion Midwest City Post 170 (68-9) playing Texas champ Texarkana Post 25 (24-3) at 3 p.m., with Enid and Shelbyville following that game.

The losers will play first Friday, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and the winners will start at 3 p.m.

The championship is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. and, if necessary, 6 p.m.

All games will be carried live with Gamecast at www.baseball.legion.org.

Wiley and several of the players noted that the team’s pitching has to come through, something Shaun Fredrick thinks will happen.

Fredrick won two games, including the championship game, at the State Tournament last week, and he believes the pitching staff just needed some seasoning.

“I think it was just a matter of time until it all came together,” he said. “We’ve had all the tools all year, and we have guys with great arms, but we had a couple of young guys and new guys. I played last year, so I knew what to expect, but I think things just finally came together for the whole staff. I think we have people that will step up and do the job we need to do.”

Wiley didn’t say who would start the tournament opener, but Fredrick said he hopes it’s him.

“I don’t know who’s going to start,” he said. “I want the ball, but we’ll just have to see what Hoss [Wiley] has up his sleeve.”

Shelbyville has never won a regional tournament, and the team had its most successful run with a quarterfinals appearance in 1983, but Wiley said the stars seem to be aligning this year.

“We lost our shortstop, [Jordan] Queen, but Ben Lady has been outstanding for us at short and pitching,” he said. “It just seems like things are falling together for us this year. Everybody seems to be getting hot and our pitching looks good. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

Mid-South Regional

Fans can follow the Post 37 squad online with Gamecast at www.baseball.legion.org.

The tournament schedule is:

Thursday doubleheaders

8:30 a.m.

New Orleans vs. Omaha

Hattiesburg vs. Jonesboro

3 p.m.

Midwest City vs. Texarkana

Shelbyville vs. Enid

Friday doubleheaders

8:30 a.m.

Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser

Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser

3 p.m.

Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner

Game 2 winners vs. Game 4 winner

Saturday

10 a.m. – Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser

3 p.m. doubleheader

Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser

Game 7 winners vs. Game 8 winner

Sunday

1 p.m. – Game 9 winner vs. Game 11 loser

6 p.m. – Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner

Monday

2 p.m. – Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner

7 p.m. – if necessary