Prairie Legion is Statebound

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Jon Dyer scores on a squeeze bunt by Drake Coleman in the fourth inning against visiting Viroqua in the regional championship game Sunday afternoon. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Peyton Hall scores in the fourth inning versus Viroqua in the regional title game.

Gavin Greene fires in a pitch in the championship game while Cory Check plays short.

Chas Sagedahl defends at first base against Viroqua.

 

Grasshoppers on a roll, 

excited about state tournament

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Prairie du Chien American Legion baseball team won the regional championship 10-2 over Viroqua at the St. Feriole Island Ballpark Sunday afternoon to earn a berth in the State Class A American Legion Tournament. 

Prairie du Chien will play Little Chute in their first game at the state tournament beginning at 3:30 p.m. in Clintonville on Wednesday, July 26.

Peyton Hall belted a 3-run homer in the regional championship game, and Gavin Greene had 3 RBIs and was the complete-game winning pitcher to help propel the Grasshoppers to the state tournament.

In Prairie’s first regional game on Saturday, Drake Coleman got the game-winning hit in the seventh inning with two out as the Grasshoppers defeated Viroqua 1-0 to advance to the regional title game.

Prairie Coach Joe Renner said he is very confident about the Grasshoppers in the state tournament. The state tournament is an eight-team, double elimination tournament and Renner said that Prairie will need to win five games in a row to win the championship.

Prairie du Chien won the state tournament in 1997, their first year of playing American Legion baseball. The Grasshoppers were runners-up at the state tournament in 2010 and finished third last year. They were also in the state tournament in 2005.

The Grasshoppers are 22-6 on the season.

“Looking back on our season there are a few things that come to mind and a few events that turned our season around,” said Renner. “Our record is 22-6, with three of those losses coming to basically junior legion baseball teams. When we lost to Holmen’s 17U team the night before the Onalaska Tournament, we had a very long conversation about how and where we wanted the season to go from there. We could either pack it up or we could be the team that we all know we can be. We have not lost a game since that conversation took place on July 6.” 

Prairie has several stand-outs this summer. Cory Check is leading the team in home runs. Chas Sagedahl is leading the team in batting average and wins on the pitching side. Gavin Greene is on Sagedahl’s heels in both of those categories. 

“But, mainly we play together as one big team,” said Renner. “Our pitching staff is very deep and very solid.  Making the decision to put Peyton Hall at leadoff has paid off greatly since the switch was made. Doing that moved Gavin Gillitzer to our ‘second’ leadoff, batting in the ninth spot of the order.”

Renner said he and his team are very much ready for the state tournament to begin.

“Moving forward into the state tournament I am looking forward to making a deep run and coming home with the trophy,” said Renner. “This team is very much focused and hungry for the state championship. Still having guys from the state runner-up team in the spring from two years ago, these guys need to redeem themselves. Fans can expect for this squad to keep doing what has made them successful all season; hitting the ball, great defense, and the pitching depth to go the distance in the tournament. I hope we can make our town proud of us and bring home that trophy!”

Renner said he appreciates American Legion Board members and the parents for all of the help this season. He’s also grateful to his wife and kids for their support. 

“It’s been a great year so far and I’m hoping it just keeps getting better and better,” Renner said.

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