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Red-hot Ballwin Post 611 ready for Zone 4 Legion tournament

Ballwin Post 611 District Champions 2014

The postseason drought is over for Ballwin Post 611.

Ballwin scored a 9-8 victory over Eureka Post 177 to win the District 10 Tournament and earn a spot in the Zone 4 Tournament in Festus.Ballwin improved to 30-5 overall after going undefeated at 14-0 in district regular season action and 4-0 in the postseason tourney.

Post 611’s last district tourney title came in 2006.  The last regular season title was in 2003.

However, Ballwin has been more than competitive in the interim, having reached the tourney championship four years in a row from 2009 to 2012 but finishing second each year.

The postseason crown pleased Ballwin coach Sean Rogan.

“Overall, I think we played well. We hit the ball well but we had to overcome a few lapses in the field,” Rogan said. “But our guys played through it and I couldn’t be prouder.

“They’ve made great progress this season. We were fortunate most of our team returned from last year, but we got better in every aspect of the game as the season has gone on. Our guys have really have really come together as a team and we have a number of players step forward as leaders.

Some of the top players offensively have been Post 611’s MVP E.J. Myers along with Zac Ruckman, Jake Bolstad, Caleb Cone, Evan Aliano and Ben Mitchell.

Bolstad leads the squad with a .398 average. He has 11 doubles, three triples and 19 RBIs. Ruckman is hitting .388 with 23 RBIs. Myers is hitting .382 with a team-leading 36 RBIs. Mitchell is hitting .370 with a team-leading four homers and 29 RBIs. Cone is hitting .367 with 22 RBIs. Aliano is hitting .371.

“They all have had tremendous offensive years, and the rest of our lineup has been solid as well,” Rogan said.

Pitching-wise, Ballwin has been more than solid this summer. Brad Molski is leading the staff with a 9-2 record and a 1.63 ERA. Jack Fladda is 7-2 with a 2.59 ERA. Brett Orsay is 6-1 with a 3.84 ERA. Mitchell is 3-0 with a team-leading seven saves.

“Brad Molski has been tremendous and at one point came within one out of his third consecutive no-hitter,” Rogan said. “Jack Fladda has been tremendous as well as Brett Orsay.  And Ben Mitchell has been served as both a top end starter and our closer with seven saves.”

Ballwin will play at 7 p.m. Thursday (July 24) in the Zone 4 Tournament. Post 611 meets the winner of the contest between Jackson and Rock Memorial, of Imperial, at 7 p.m. Thursday. Jackson and Rock Memorial square off at 1 p.m.

This season, Ballwin played Rock Memorial twice and won both games. Post 611 hasn’t seen Jackson.

None of that matters much at this time of the campaign, Rogan said.

“Both of those teams are strong and it will be a good game,” Rogan said.

Fladda will start game one for Post 611.

“He’s been one of our top guys and most rested going into zones,” Rogan said. “Jack controls the strike zone and handles base runners very well. He can throw all four pitches for strikes.

Rogan did not step out and make any bold predictions for which of the five teams can win the Zone.

“I would say all of them,” Rogan said. “They’re all there for a reason and it will a fun tough weekend. They all have different strength’s so the challenge is playing our game and make them beat us.

“I don’t think there’s a favorite. All of the teams are capable and it’s whoever is minimizing mistakes, throwing strikes and getting key hits when they need to. It’s good for us to strong momentum going in but all of the teams are capable.”

Regardless of what happens, Rogan said he has enjoyed the ride with his team this summer.

“I can’t say enough about this team and how they have played this season,” Rogan said. “They’ve made our job as coaches much easier and it’s been a pleasure to watch them come together and play hard this summer.”

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