Janesville Legion opens state tournament versus familiar foe
Post 205 has won seven state titles, including the 1989 team that finished third at the American Legion AAA World Series in Millington, Tenn.
Janesville is back in its familiar spot as it opens state tournament play at 7 o’clock tonight at Pohlman Field in Beloit. Post 205 (22-14) will play top-ranked and host Beloit (25-9) in the double-elimination tournament opener. Janesville defeated Beloit in three of five meetings this season.
“We can play with anybody at state and we’ve proven that with the schedule we’ve played,” Janesville coach Bob Schenck said. “There have been some rough spots throughout the season where we didn’t play our best, but in the regional tournament, that was as well as we’ve played all season. That’s a good sign.
“Pitching-wise, we’ve got to throw strikes and keep the walks to a minimum. That has hurt us, at times.
“Defensively, it comes down to making the plays and executing.”
Janesville struggled at the plate early in the season but enters the state tournament with a team batting average over .300. Tyler Teubert, a Janesville Parker graduate and current UW-Whitewater player, leads the team with a .406 average and 21 RBIs. Kyle Johnson, a 2010 Parker graduate, is right behind with a .391 average and 19 RBIs.
Post 205 likes to run, with 63 stolen bases in 36 games, including a team-high 22 from Teubert.
“We like to make things happen on the bases,” Schenck said. “You can’t sit back and wait for the big inning because the new bat modifications has really cut down on home runs.
“The good thing about our lineup is that I’m not afraid to steal anybody. We’ve got as good of team speed as I’ve had.”
Parker graduate Andy Kersten will start the opener. The righthander and Carroll University recruit has a 5-2 record and an impressive 1.73 ERA. He has struck out 75 in nearly 50 innings of work and is coming off a no-hitter in a regional win over Genoa City.
Brandon Hughes, Teubert and Brady Brandt are a combined 10-4 on the mound and are expected to pitch at state.
“Walks have cost us a few more wins this season,” Schenck said of the 139 the pitching staff has issued this season. “It comes down to throwing strikes and letting the defense make plays.
“I want our pitchers to challenge hitters, but don’t get too cute. Throw strikes and get ahead in the count. That’s the key.”
Wausau is the two-time defending AAA champion but did not qualify for state.