Ready for state

Published 9:22 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

VFW coaches Andy Swank and Joe Kroc talk to members of the Austin VFW Thursday night during practice at Riverland Community College.

The Austin Post 1216 VFW baseball team is ready for state and it won’t have to wait much longer.
Austin will host the VFW state baseball tournament next week from Thursday to Sunday and it is the first time Austin has hosted the tourney since 1996.
Post 1216 will open play on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Riverland Complex.
“We’re pretty excited and we’re hoping to do pretty well,” Post 1216 pitcher and right fielder Jake Thompson said. “There’s a lot of tough teams coming, but we’re hoping to win a few games.”
Post 1216 won the state title last year, but its squad looks very different this season. The only returnees are Isaac Gorman and Steve Serratore, who will only play the field during state.
“This is kind of a building process,” Post 1216 head coach Joe Serratore said. “We don’t have many back from last year, but about half of these guys will be back here next year.”
Thompson said the team has taken some pointers from Gorman, an infielder, and Serratore, a catcher.
“We learned a few things from the two guys that came back and hopefully we can carry that on,” Thompson said. “We haven’t played in anything like this before and it’s good to have it at home, because we know our field and that’ll will help us quite a bit.”
Austin, which was able to host state because it took first last season, finished with a record of 8-10 in the District, but it has some reasons to feel confident. While other teams were playing in the playoffs, Post 1216 was holding practices and fine-tuning its game.
“We’re feeling pretty confident coming in and we’re getting a lot of practice in,” said Post 1216 pitcher, first baseman and right fielder, Anthony Condit. “I think we can do it. We’re a pretty good ball club, we’ve got a pretty solid infield and outfield and we’ve got pretty good bats.”
While the games will bring plenty of excitement to town, there will also be a homerun derby and a skills competition taking place at the unused field during the games throughout the tournament.

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