Jamestown Post 14 coach Justin Connell doesn't like to link youth and inexperience. To him, there's very much a difference. Connell said as much talking about Jamestown's inability to close out games this summer. Though the team has only six wins, it's been in many close games that fell apart in the fifth inning or later. For him, he sees inexperience as a problem, but believes young players can still come through in those situations.
When I arrived as a sportswriter in Jamestown, it was with an outsider's perspective not all that uncommon to people in the Buffalo City. "I know what to expect in terms of athletics—it's just Jamestown." Four-plus years later, I can look back and see how off the mark I really was about the beat I had accepted, the passion of the fan base and the history of a great sports town that's putting all of its cards on the table to return to greatness. More on that later.
As a senior in high school, Tanner Lunzman's role on Jamestown's baseball team had to change. The veteran shortstop took on a leadership position, as most of his teammates over the past three years had graduated. He was left with a young, rebuilding team that saw him as the unquestioned leader. "From last year to this year, I've matured substantially," Lunzman said. "Being in that leadership role, you have to criticize people a little more, but you also learn to take criticism better."
Nate Perleberg sees the Phil Brown Classic as the start of the home stretch for his Gillette (Wyo.) Roughriders. With the way his team keeps playing at Jack Brown Stadium, it's no wonder. Gillette captured the tournament title for the third consecutive season with an 8-6 victory over Class B Carrington on Sunday afternoon. The win, which improved Gillette's record to 51-23, didn't come easy, much the way the Riders' victory over Jamestown required a five-run seventh the game before.
Jamestown's offense found some rhythm on Sunday. Post 14 lost a pair of close games but used two big innings to put itself in contention. It fell to Gillette (Wyo.) 8-6 in the final game of pool play at the Phil Brown Classic at Jack Brown Stadium. Jamestown also lost to Fargo Post 400 6-5 in eight innings for third place.
With only two conference victories and six overall this summer, it's safe to say the Jamestown Post 14 Legion baseball team isn't driven by wins and losses. Coach Justin Connell said he feels his young team is getting better, but has too many hiccups in a single game—often one phase not coming through. "We're much-improved from the beginning of the year," Connell said. "We still need to eliminate errors, physically and mentally. And we definitely need a little more work in the batter's box and on the mound. But as a team, we're improving."
Austin Burckhard had Minot's offense firing on all cylinders on Tuesday night. Finishing 6-for-8 with two doubles, five runs scored and four runs batted in, Burckhard helped Minot blank punchless Jamestown by identical 9-0 scores in Class AA American Legion play at Jack Brown Stadium. The Vistas ended the doubleheader with 19 hits, scoring at least four runs in a single inning three times.
Nolan Kratz believes in second chances on the baseball field, and he made the most of his on Saturday. The Jamestown Post 14 slugger thought he fouled out near his home dugout in the fifth inning of the nightcap, until it was ruled that Williston's infielder made the play out of bounds—an area designated by white chalk. His redemption came in the form of a three-run home run, as Kratz blasted the next offering over the right-field fence to highlight a 7-3 win in Class AA American Legion play at Jack Brown Stadium.
The first inning wasn’t kind to Jamestown Post 14 on Tuesday night. Fargo Post 2 unloaded five of its seven runs in the opener and then put up a three-spot in the nightcap en route to a Class AA doubleheader sweep at Jack Brown Stadium. Game scores were 7-1 and 7-0. Jamestown settled into a rhythm in the opener, but only after Fargo had already struck for five runs in the top of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Carter Sanden and Taylor Parrett’s triple that plated two more.