Post 17 Baseball Starts Season Strong
June 1, 2023
As the chill in the air dissipates and the grass starts needing a mow, it's time again for American Legion Baseball to start up in the Panhandle area. The Sidney Post 17 junior and senior teams got off to a good beginning to their season, although they've had to deal with some tricky weather to start. The first game that was played was scheduled to be in Ogallala, but a bad weather forecast shifted the action to Sidney on May 17. The junior teams battled it out over the course of the game, with the junior squad coming out on top at the end, 7-to-5. The next home game, on May 18th against Alliance, was rained out. They tried again on May 23 when the Gering teams came to town, and Legion Park was hopping with a good crowd and perfect weather for the junior/senior doubleheader. The junior teams battled back and forth until the game was tied at 7-to-7. The time limit was reached, and the teams had to settle for a tie. Next up was the Senior game, with the Post 17 boys taking on the Platte Valley Companies' team. Sawyer Dickman took the mound for Sidney to start the game, gave up a leadoff single to Tanner Gartner, the Gering team's catcher. Jackson Howard then doubled to driver Gartner home and gave the Gering team a 1-to-0 lead. Sidney recorded their first out when Howard was thrown out by Sidney catcher John Meza while trying to steal third. Carter Reisig then struck out and Keenan Allen grounded out to end the top of the first. Jackson Howard took the mound for Gering, and induced a pop out to shortstop against Sidney leadoff hitter Reid Fiscus. Landon Riddle then hit a grounder to shortstop that couldn't be corralled, and wound up with a single. Riddle then stole second base, but Sawyer Dickman hit into a groundout and Riddle was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning. Dickman then was able to induce two hard hit flyouts to the outfield, then a grounder that was nicely played by shortstop Fiscus for the third out. Dickman was locating the ball well, and although he was not overpowering the batters, he was keeping them uncomfortable in the box. Meza did a great job keeping the ball in front of him behind the plate, and continued that good play all game long. The bottom of the second started with Conner Hurt reaching first base after being hit by a pitch, but then he was thrown out at second trying to steal. Blaine Russell and Ben Hashman both struck out, ending the inning. Dickman then induced two fly outs to start the inning, before giving up a walk to Jackson Howard. Howard then got caught in a rundown trying to steal second, and was retired. Meza led off the bottom of the third and Howard was struggling with his control. Howard hit Meza, putting him at first. After Patrick McCartney flied out, an infield hit, a bunt and a walk loaded the bases for Sidney. They were able to score a run on a passed ball, but Hurt struck out to end the inning at 1-to-1. The game stayed tied until the top of the sixth inning when Gering plated two runs off of Sidney defensive miscues. Two successive bunts were misplayed by the infield which loaded the bases. Gering's Jahrell Mendez then hit a grounder to third base, and the throw home was off-target and scored two runs. Gering loaded the bases again after another batter was hit, then another run scored off an infield hit. Sidney was able to finally get out of the inning, but trailed 4-to-1. Sidney got their offense in gear in the bottom of the sixth, and after Russell walked and Anderson Smelley was hit by a pitch, John Meza connected for a run scoring double. Another run scored on a passed ball, and Sidney narrowed the Gering lead to 4-to-3 at the end of the frame. Sidney shut down the Gering offense in the top of the seventh, and then after a walk and an error, Conner Hurt was able to score from third base on a bunt to tie the game at 4-to-4. Both teams scored one run in the eight to keep it tied at 5-to-5, but in the ninth a couple of walks, a couple of singles and a crucial error cost the Post 17 boys four runs. Sidney was unable to get any runs back in the bottom half, and fell by a final score of 9-to-5. Reid Fiscus had two hits and an RBI for Sidney. On May 24, the teams traveled up to Bridgeport for two games. After the juniors cruised through their game with a 21-to-0 win, the seniors took the field for their game. Reid Fiscus starting things off with a pop up to left field that was dropped, and it was a good indicator of how the game would go for the home team. Fiscus was able to steal second and third, then scored on a fly out in shallow left field. The Sidney half of the inning ended with the Post 17 boys up 1-to-0. Ben Hashman took the mound for Sidney and made quick work of the Bridgeport lineup, inducing a ground ball out then striking out the next two batters to shut down the home team. In the second inning after the first two batters were retired, Blaine Russell hit a ground rule double and was then driven home by a bloop single by John Meza. A walk and an error by Sidney gave Bridgeport a run back in the bottom of the second, but Sidney quickly made up for that lapse by plating four runs to take a 6-to-1 lead. Johnny Vargas came in to relieve Hashman in the third, and a misplay by Sidney resulted in a run scoring for Bridgeport.
Sidney kept Bridgeport at bay, and although the home team was able to score runs in the middle and final innings, it was not enough to get past the Sidney lead, and the seniors took the game by a final score of 13-to-10. The limited statistics we have so far in the season are showing leadoff hitter Reid Fiscus leading the offense with a .458 batting average and 11 hits in 27 plate appearances. He has hit a double, a triple and a home run, scored nine runs and has stolen 11 bases. Kyle Jaggers has 7 hits in 26 plate appearances, and has driven in 4 while scoring nine runs.