Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

O'fallon Legion Team's off, Winning after Paying Dues, Experienced Group Aims for Playoffs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

O'fallon Legion Team's off, Winning after Paying Dues, Experienced Group Aims for Playoffs

Article excerpt

The O'Fallon American Legion baseball team paid its dues last summer, winning just seven of 21 games.

Now it's time to have some fun.

"We have seven guys back from last year's team and I know they're hoping to do better," manager Terry Ganley said. "Those guys gained a lot experience last year and we've also brought up some good players from our junior program.

"I really think we can finish over .500 and make the playoffs this year - that's our goal."

O'Fallon, off to a 2-1 start, figures to be much-improved on defense. And Ganley also thinks the club's pitching has improved.

"We were able to stay competitive early in games last year," the manager said. "But as the games went on, our pitching and defense really let us down at times. If we can get the defense and pitching, I think we have enough offense to carry us through to some wins."

The O'Fallon pitching staff includes Jason Ganley, Andy Patzius, Jim Sontheimer, Jeff Bertel and Shane Meyer from Fort Zumwalt North High and Mark Drennen and Curtis Majewski from St. Dominic.

Zumwalt South product Kevin Meyers will also help out.

Sontheimer and Drennen are the staff's lefthanders. Meyer, who also plays infield, will be used mostly in relief.

"We don't have guys who'll just blow you away, but these guys are solid pitchers," Ganley said. "And we have some pitching depth. Last year, we basically tried to get by with three pitchers.

"This year, we have eight guys who are capable of throwing strikes and getting batters out."

The addition of Bertel at catcher should help O'Fallon offensively and defensively. Lincoln Gray is the club's backup catcher.

Tim Krigbaum returns at first base while Lee Hardy and Brian Orf will start at second and shortstop, respectively. Starting third baseman Steve Fister is hurt, and Shane Meyer has done well in his stead.

"Shane's had eight hits in his first 11 at-bats this season," Ganley said. "He has done a good job defensively, too. …

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