Entering this weekend’s American Legion baseball sectional at Loeb Stadium with a 7-19 record could be a little demoralizing for Lafayette Post 11.
That isn’t the case. All the players have to do is look back at last year’s squad to see what they are capable of.
A year ago, Post 11 entered the postseason with a 10-21 record but advanced to the state finals after claiming a regional title over Richmond.
“We haven’t had the regular season we hoped for this summer, either, but as we know from last year, that is not deterring us,” Thomas Fisher said. “We know what we can do, and we have the skill to win a lot of games.”
Lafayette Post 11 opens tournament play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against two-time defending sectional champion Remington Post 280, made up of players from Benton Central, Frontier, Rensselaer, Twin Lakes, North Newton and Tri-County.
For Fisher, this will be his last go of organized baseball. The 2012 West Lafayette graduate will be too old to remain a member of the roster next summer.
The former Red Devil catcher, who just finished his freshman year at Purdue, is using that as a motivator to make sure Post 11’s season is extended as long as possible.
“It has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and right now, I am just trying to have as much fun as I possibly can, because I know it doesn’t last long,” Fisher said. “I am trying to use that as a way to motivate my teammates as well, regardless of whether or not they are playing in college. There comes a time where you understand you only have so long left to play, and then it’s over.”
As a high school player, recent Central Catholic graduate Andrew Hubertz never lost a postseason game.
Lafayette Post 11 has five players from CC’s state championship team and a large collection of other talent from successful high school programs.
That’s why Hubertz believes this bunch is primed to repeat last year’s postseason magic.
“We have a lot of guys around us who know how to play this game very well,” said Hubertz, who pitched nine innings in the Class A state championship game victory. “A lot of guys are going to be playing at the next level or have key roles on their high schools teams next year, so we have a lot of talent here.”
The top two teams from the double-elimination sectional advance to next weekend’s regional, also at Loeb Stadium.
Last year’s Post 11 tournament success was a first for Dominick Emerson, who experienced his first IHSAA postseason tournament as a standout center fielder this year for Faith Christian.
Emerson believes Post 11 advancing to state a year ago will be a driving force for this year’s squad to get back to that stage.
“Winning a state tournament is a great feeling, I would assume,” he said. “Getting back to state and winning it would be great. We do have a lot of new players who want to help us get there.”