Oconto Falls placed in Clintonville Regional for Legion baseball playoffs

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Team will battle Freedom to open regional play

Sam Virtues and the Oconto Falls Legion baseball team are hoping to make a deep postseason run. (Times Herald file photo)

With just over a week remaining in the Legion baseball season regular season, teams are beginning to think ahead to regional play, which begins on July 20.

The Oconto Falls Legion baseball team has experienced an up-and-down summer season so far, holding a 3-3 record.

Regardless of a team’s record, postseason play gives each roster a new life. While winning games is certainly a feat teams strive for, many coaches and players just hope to be playing their best baseball by the time the playoffs roll around.

Oconto Falls hopes to be one of those teams playing its best baseball when it opens play in the Clintonville Class A Regional on July 20.

“For us to gear up for the postseason, we just need to believe in ourselves and have confidence,” Dylan Nelson said. “All of the talent is there with our team, but in order to go a long ways in the tournament, we have to believe that we can be that team on the top at the end of everything. We need to pick each other up if things aren’t going our way and play to the best of our capabilities, and that’s all our teammates can ask of each other.”

“What I believe we, as a team, need to improve on is adapting to the game,” Kamdan Bloom said. “Coach (Joe Sefcik) has been shuffling the pitching rotation and plugging guys in different positions all season and I think we answered and have played well so far. If guys keep doing their part, we will be in a good position to do well in regionals.”

Before Oconto Falls takes part in the regional, it has two more regular season games to play. The team had a contest scheduled Tuesday against Ashwaubenon before hosting Denmark on Wednesday.

Oconto Falls hopes to work on a few different aspects of the game in preparation for regional play.

“We’ve been having troubles scoring the runners on base and that needs to change in order for us to win games in the future,” Sam Virtues said.

“We need to play loose and have more fun,” Mason Sefcik said. “We play better relaxed and when having a good time.”

Just five teams will compete in the Clintonville Regional after Marion/Tigerton recently dropped out due to a low number of players and a lack of pitching.

Oconto Falls will take on Freedom in the first game of the regional at 3 p.m. on July 20. The winner of that game will play again that day, facing Clintonville at 8 p.m. Bonduel and Omro will square off in the other regional game on Friday at approximately 5:30 p.m. The regional’s other matchups will be determined after Friday’s contests are completed.

Oconto Falls competed in the Bonduel Regional a year ago against some of the same competition. Oconto Falls opened that regional with an 8-1 win over Peshtigo before topping Omro 7-1 in its second game. Oconto Falls then suffered back-to-back one-run losses to Niagara (2-1) and Clintonville (4-3) over the next two days. Niagara won the regional to advance to state while Clintonville also appeared at state as the hosts.

Coach Sefcik believes this year’s team team will be ready for a run in the postseason behind a loaded pitching staff.

“We have been getting our pitchers in shape for the postseason,” he said. “I like our depth. We need them to believe in themselves and the team.”

All regional tournaments are double elimination format, meaning a team must lose twice to be eliminated. The winner of each regional advances to the Class A State Tournament, which is being held in Osseo from July 27-31.