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Legion plagued by the walk

A lack of consistency in two facets of the game of baseball hindered the Detroit Lakes Post 15 squad all season, leading to a final record of 16-23.

A bevy of walks and untimely errors led to too many deficits for the Post 15 team, which didn't have enough offensive firepower to overcome them.

But experience was gained by the younger players, as DL played a total of 39 games throughout its two-month schedule.

"We had a lot of kids who played and who played in situations they normally would not have," said DL head coach Mitch McLeod. "The only way we are going to get better for the future is for them to play in those situations."

A 192-to-170 walk-to-strikeout ratio was a glaring statistic, which put the Lakers in a hole all season long.

Walks and free bases, which led to higher pitch counts for DL pitchers, didn't allow room for much error -- which was evident in the team giving up a total of 81 unearned runs.

Injuries were a heavy influence on DL's pitching staff, with two of their top pitchers from last year out.

Nick Polejewski missed the entire season due to having Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, while lefty Alex Guetter pitched only four innings due to an arm injury.

"When you consider two of our top pitchers from a year ago were out, that really cut deep into our pitching staff," McLeod said.

Brock Johnson again was the leader of the staff, after once again finding his dominating stuff around midseason.

Johnson had an outstanding 42-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while posting a 3.60 ERA after 40 innings of work and allowing just 36 hits and 16 earned runs.

"Brock started to throw out front again, he can't pitch in the middle of his body and he started to get his upper half behind his stride foot," McLeod said. "He was throwing harder (up to 85-87 mph) and his slider was good. He even had a nice change up.

"Now, Brock just needs to develop a better breaking ball and keep working on his changeup."

Freshman and incoming sophomore Kirk McLeod also had a nice debut as a pitcher for DL, by posting a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings of action.

"Kirk pitched well and threw strikes and kept the ball low," Mitch McLeod said. "He basically had just two pitches, a fastball and change up and did well with those."

Other pitchers who saw the bulk of innings included lefty Ben Lindquist (6.66 ERA, 39.2 innings), T.J. Manning (6.20, 26.1), Jordan Manning (10.36, 38.2) and Nate Baker (6.14, 22).

Overall, DL had a team ERA of 7.18.

"Our pitching was too inconsistent," the DL coach said. "We just had way too many walks. They need to learn how to throw strikes, period."

With a heavy rotation of players coming in for Post 15 in each game, many were still trying to find a spot defensively, which resulted in errors.

"But when we did have the right combination of players in defensively, we were pretty decent," McLeod said. "Max Knoll was outstanding in the outfield and Connor McLeod had a good season at shortstop. Andy Pederson was also very solid in the outfield."

Catching was also pretty solid for DL with both Kirk McLeod and Brian Labat.

The DL team batting average was .274 and was led by Kirk McLeod's .355 average, with 26 runs scored.

Knoll hit .345 and Connor McLeod finished with a .343 average, with 34 hits to lead the team.

Johnson also had a .313 average.

"We had good production from our top four hitters," Mitch McLeod said. "But we left a ton of guys on base, we didn't have a lot of big hits."

Next year, Johnson and Andy Fondrick are eligible to play after graduating from high school this past year, while DL will have plenty of players returning with experience.

"We have potentially good pitching coming back, and if Jordan Manning and Ben Lindquist can throw strikes, they will be very good," Mitch McLeod added. "The key will be, can we throw strikes?"

Post 15 results

The 2010 Detroit Lakes Legion Post 15 season statistics -- Record: 16-23.

Offensive batting stats (ab-r-h-w-k-avg): Max Knoll 84-24-29-11-9-.345; Aaron Gnoinsky 45-9-13-12-12-.289; Connor McLeod 99-21-34-15-12-.343; T.J. Manning 89-16-22-12-13-.247; Brock Johnson 80-24-25-8-18-.313; Logan Baker 64-16-18-6-21-.282; Jon Gilson 27-4-6-8-10-.222; Kirk McLeod 76-26-27-20-10-.355; Brian Labat 55-14-15-7-8-.273; Nate Krohne 50-9-14-4-9-.280; Ben Lindquist 18-1-2-1-5-.111; Nate Baker 19-3-2-5-9-.105; Ryan Berg 26-6-7-5-6-.269; Andy Fondrick 30-2-2-2-10-.067; Jordan Manning 74-13-21-4-8-.284; Mark Labat 21-1-2-4-11-.095; Alex Guetter 7-1-0-1-3-.000; Casey Fonder 9-1-0-2-9-.000. TEAM: 873-137-239-164-180-.274.

Pitching stats (ip-r-er-h-k-bb-era): Lindquist 39.2-36-29-33-50-45-6.66; B. Johnson 40-26-16-36-42-8-3.60; Andy Pederson 6-8-2-9-1-1-3.00; T. Manning 26.1-44-18-31-9-28-6.20; N. Baker 22-24-15-31-8-13-6.14; N. Krohne 1-3-3-2-0-0-22.50; A. Guetter 4-0-0-2-8-3-0.00; J. Manning 38.2-50-44-43-29-44-10.36; K. McLeod 16-9-7-13-11-6-3.94; C. McLeod 14.2-24-14-20-6-15-8.87; A. Fondrick 15.1-22-19-19-2-13-10.14; B. Labat 5.1-18-16-27-3-15-28.2; M. Knoll 6-4-4-5-2-3-6.00. TEAM: 232-265-184-270-170-192-7.18.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.