After a one-year hiatus, American Legion baseball is back in Janesville.
The Rock County Post 205 River Monsters opened up the AAA season Tuesday with a doubleheader against Racine and have 37 games scheduled before regional tournament play begins July 19.
The home portion of the schedule will be split between Riverside Park in Janesville and Pohlman Field (home of the Beloit Snappers) in Beloit.
First-year coach Rich Raisbeck has a talented 14-man roster that features players from Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Beloit Memorial, Beloit Turner and Evansville.
“I’m excited about this team,” Raisbeck said. “We’ve got all-conference players throughout the lineup and a pitching staff with a lot of depth.
“I’ve got 10 guys that can pitch, and with the amount of doubleheaders we have scheduled we’re going to need all 10 of them.”
Heading the list is Cory Walker. The 2019 Turner graduate was the Rock Valley Conference player of the year after leading the Trojans to a conference title and the state’s No.1 ranking in Division 2 for most of the season.
Walker will anchor a pitching staff that will also include first-team all-Big Eight selections Corbin Ovist of Beloit Memorial and Micah Overley of Craig, along with former first-team all-Rock Valley selection Tyler Aasen of Evansville.
Parker’s Casey Stone and Jared Emerson provide excellent depth on the mound, along with Turner’s Jack Scharlau and Drew Ries and 2018 Parker graduate Sam Nemetz.
Ries was a first-team all-Rock Valley third baseman and will headline an infield that will likely have Ovist at short, the all-everything Overley playing anywhere on the infield and Emerson and Nemetz at first.
2018 Parker graduate Zach Zahler can also play multiple positions on the infield.
Aasen and Parker’s Dalton Madsen give the River Monsters two quality catchers.
“Kind of like our pitching, we’ve got good flexibility with our position players,” Raisbeck said. “We’ll have all-conference players at about every position on the field.
“We’ve got 14 on the roster, and all 14 of them are going to play a lot of baseball because of our schedule.”
Walker will patrol center field, with Beloit Memorial’s Jake Raisbeck, Rich’s son, playing left or right. Beloit Memorial’s Brett Kiger is a solid outfielder, along with Scharlau and 2018 Parker graduate Chase Hamilton.
Dale Barry Classic highlights home schedule
Janesville’s American Legion Post 205 hosted the annual Five-Star Tournament for a number of years and brought some of the top programs from Wisconsin and Northern Illinois to Riverside Park for a three-day event.
The tournament ended several years ago but is being brought back this season and will be called the Dale Barry Classic. Barry was the former Janesville Legion coached who led Post 205 to a state-record five AAA state championships in the 1960s and 70s.
This year’s Dale Barry Classic, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday, features Rock County, Union Grove, Whitewater, Mukwonago and Oconomowoc.