Alec Beaver was tense on the baseball field and it showed in subpar performances.
Through American Legion baseball last summer, the 2015 Lafayette Jeff graduate learned how to play loose and enjoy the game.
Beaver’s newfound love for America’s pastime carried over to his senior high school season, where he enjoyed a breakout season with the Bronchos, hitting .368 and reaching base in nearly 50 percent of his at bats.
“My freshman through junior year at Jeff, it was all serious,” Beaver said. “After Legion season my junior year, I figured out how to hit and baseball just clicked. I learned how you dominate in baseball and I played the Jeff season with no stress.”
As a leader of a Lafayette Post 11 roster that nearly mirrors last summer’s, Beaver has continued his hot hitting and his team has played with that same loose mentality while enjoying a successful season.
To cap it off, Post 11 wants a regional championship this weekend at Loeb Stadium.
That title eluded them after a late-season surge last summer before they lost in the championship.
Eleven members of last year’s team are back to finish the job, including Beaver’s Lafayette Jeff classmate Tristan Brown among a squad that features 12 2015 graduates.
Through a rough regular season a year ago, they built camaraderie.
“We’ve got a lot of the same kids back and we’ve added a few new pieces and they’ve helped,” said Jake Fernung, who just completed his senior year at Harrison. “Coming back this year, we have basically the same team. We’ve got a feel for our positions. Last year we struggled the first couple weeks finding where everybody fits in the field and also the batting order.”
Lafayette Post 11 is 15-8 entering today’s game against Kokomo Post 6.
Perhaps the pressure of high school baseball isn’t as prominent, but the winning mentality that made the members of this team successful high school players still carries over.
“It’s a chance to compete for a state championship,” said Nate Wiercioch, a graduate of Central Catholic. “Of course you always want to win. I think for the people who can’t come back (next year), it makes them a little bit more competitive.”
What it doesn’t do, however, is add pressure.
Baseball is meant to be fun and that seems to be the one underlying element among all members of the squad.
“We all love being around each other. That’s huge in baseball,” Beaver said. “No one is tense and everyone feeds off each other’s ability. It’s a fun team and no matter what, we’re still going to have a good time.”
AMERICAN LEGION REGIONAL
At LOEB STADIUM
Game 1 — Lake Village Post 375 vs. Attica Post 52, 4 p.m.
Game 2 — Lafayette Post 11 vs. Kokomo Post 6, 6:30 p.m.
Game 3 — Game 2 winner vs. Crawfordsville Post 72, 4 p.m.
Game 4 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 6:30 p.m.
Game 5 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, Noon
Game 6 — Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 — Game 6 winner vs. Game 5 loser, 7 p.m.
Game 8 — Championship, Noon
Game 9 — if necessary, 2:30 p.m.