Season ends for Legion baseball team
The summer season has come and gone already for the Hastings American Legion team.
The team got off to a rough start, but turned their season around in the final eight games. Unfortunately for Hastings, that turnaround wasn't enough to qualify the team for the postseason Legion tournament.
"Two teams we beat, with the same league record as us, went ahead of us (in the seeding)," Hastings coach Nick Tuckner said. "It's frustrating. It's really frustrating."
Hastings started the season losing its first six games. The team was 1-8 at one point the season. But in the final eight games, Hastings went 6-1-1 to finish the regular season at 7-9-1. Yet the team wasn't among the districts' top 20 teams.
"It was a big bummer," Tuckner said. "It wasn't fair for the kids."
The big finish
Hastings lost those first six games, then beat a very good team from Park to get the first win. Hastings followed that win with two more losses.
"The guys still felt confident," Tuckner said. "They just said they were done losing. They went on to have this run that was amazing. They overachieved. They persevered. They deserved to go to the playoffs."
There were several highlights to the season, Tuckner said.
In the win over Park, Devon LaCoursiere threw a complete game, allowing just one run and four hits.
"That was the turning point of the year," Tuckner said. "His performance was absolutely fantastic."
In the last week of the season, David Vogelgesang turned in an amazing performance over two games against Faribault.
In the first game of a doubleheader, he went 2-4 with a two-run home run, a double and four RBI. In the second game, he went 5-5, hit for the cycle, added a double and had seven RBI.
"That had to have been one of the most prolific games in Hastings Legion history," Tuckner said.
Justin Knoll didn't start a game all season for Hastings, but he took the mound in the final game and threw a complete-game, four-hit win over Prescott.
Team members were Ryan Hackel, Luke Lorentz, LaCoursiere, Knoll, Vogelgesang, Patrick Guelle, Jake Ryan, Jon Olesen, Shane Monjeau, Eric Harris, Tyler Rohr and Nate Peterson.
Tuckner moving on
After the season concluded, Tuckner announced he will not return for a third season as the team's coach.
Covering many of the same players as a sportscaster for KDWA 1460 AM as he was coaching made for a challenge.
"They'd see me as the radio guy, or Tuck," he said. "They didn't always see me as a coach. It's probably time that we get somebody in here that the kids will be a little more receptive to, someone a little older than me, more of a seasoned coach."
Tuckner hopes he'll be able to stay involved with coaching baseball or softball in Hastings.