The Sandusky American Legion Post 83 baseball team will be without two key players for most of the upcoming state tournament due to their commitments to the Bellevue football team.
Alex Manner and Dalton Jarvis will both have to leave Lancaster after one game in the state tournament to join Bellevue’s two-a-day practices.
“We knew going into the last couple games of districts that it could be a problem, but we said we weren’t going to worry about that,” Post 83 coach Mike Shepherd said. “We were going to get to state first and then take care of that.”
Post 83’s first game in the state tournament will be Monday, against an opponent yet to be determined. “Obviously it’s a high school sport and we are a summer sport, so you do have to respect that,” Shepherd said. “Being a person that played in the state tournament, and now having a chance to coach through that, I know what an experience it is, and I wish they could experience it.
“It’s kind of a bummer that they can’t, but you have to respect the wishes of other coaches. In a perfect world, you’d like to do both, but we can’t make that happen.”
Shepherd said he isn’t letting the loss of the players discourage himself or the rest of the team.
“When you lose anybody it affects your team, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” Shepherd said. “We’re going to have other kids hopefully step up. Maybe kids that haven’t pitched that much this year will have a chance to pitch in the state tournament, but I have full confidence that they can get the job done. We’re just going to come to the field and play hard.”
Shepherd said there a few players on the team who are skipping two-a-days to play at state. “You just kind of tip your cap to the coaches who are OK with it and thank them,” Shepherd said. “The coaches that don’t, there’s not much you can do about it as a summer coach versus a high school sport. You just hope that they’ll work with you, and if not, then there’s not much that you can do or say about it. You don’t want a kid to miss his whole senior football season because he didn’t go to one or two two-a-days.”
Manner, who will be starting at safety for Bellevue, said he’s known about the predicament for awhile.
“We really just haven’t thought about it,” Manner said. “We were trying to win districts first. We’ve talked to our coaches and it just isn’t going to work out, but we definitely want to get down there as much as we can. I am pretty bummed out, though. I would love to be down there all week, but at the same time, it’s just one of those tough situations with football.
“It’s going to affect them (Post 83), but they just have to keep playing, keep winning and stay positive. The team likes me, but stuff happens so they’re just going to have to move on. Hopefully they go down there, win some games and have some fun.”
Jarvis, who will start at running back and middle linebacker, said he knew all summer that it wouldn’t be able to work out with both teams. However, he had to put that aside and focus on winning districts.
“I agree with Coach (Ed) Nasonti’s decision, because technically it is football season now and Alex and I are both important to the football team,” Jarvis said. “We’re both starters and everything. If something were to happen to us sliding into a base or anything like that, it would be huge to our football team.” Jarvis said he is disappointed that he will not be able to play in the state tournament.
“We have a good team. We have a lot of kids who can do a lot of good things for us,”Jarvis said.“But I think what’s really going to hurt us is that at state you need a lot of arms. I’m one of our main throwers, so it will probably hurt us there the most.”