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Loggers play first home game today

by Hope Nealson Western News
| May 9, 2008 12:00 AM

The Libby Loggers will play their first home game today, Friday, May 9 at Lee Gehring field in Libby at 6 p.m.

“Every week we practice better than the week before,” said coach Kelly Morford. “We have a lot of stuff we’re starting to get down, and the kids are really exciting to get going.”

The American Legion baseball team has been practicing since March 30, with 10 returning players - nine of them starters - plus eight more kids, which is the maximum amount of players allowed on the team.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had that many kids out,” said Morford. “We had a pretty good group of 15 and 16-year-olds that are new to the program.”

Morford mentioned senior Steve Bertelsen, short stop, would be returning to the team from college - Dickinson State - in ND.

In American Legion ball, 19-year-olds are eligible to play, so even if the player has graduated from high school, he can return to play.

Last year, Bertelsen was the number three hitter and led the team in batting average, RBIs and home runs.

Nate Peltier, a third year, will be pitching and playing center fielder.

Matt Schad, catcher, is another returning senior, along with Derek Benefield, third base, Ryan Stapley, first base, and Rory Hendrickson, infield.

“I think we’ll do good,” said Schad. “We’re older and more mature this year. A lot of us have been playing together since Little League.”

Benefield added it will take consistency to have a winning season.

“We will need a lot of committment and to stay focused throughout the whole year,” he said.

Last Friday, the team played it’s first game of the season in Whitefish against Glacier AA, losing 16-6.

Morford said when Glacier came to Libby Friday, they wouldn’t be playing the same team, as six players were gone for SEARCH.

“It’s going to be a different story with our full squad,” he said. “The kids are excited to get out and compete with all their teammates there.”

The team purchased a brand new batting cage this year with funds received from hosting the state tournament last year.

“We were in desperate need of one,” said Morford. “The old one we had was small and in pretty rough shape.”

Something else new in store for the team is a trip to Seattle.

Before a double header in Tacoma on July 3, the team will catch a Major League Baseball matchup between the Blue Jays and Mariners July 2nd, as well as a Mariners/Detroit Tigers game July 3.

“This is the first year we’ve done this,” said Morford, noting they used the money saved from a couple of tournaments they opted out of.

“A lot of our kids have never been to a major league game before,” he added.

The Loggers’ record last year was 25-27. They will be playing 60-65 games.

“We have more home games this year than we have in the past,” said Morford, noting the three day tournament, to be held June 20-22.

Tickets are $25 for an adult season pass, $15 for a student or senior, and $40 for a family or, per game, it’s $4 for an adult or $3 for a student/senior.

“It’s our first home game, and we usually get pretty big crowds out there,” said Morford.

For more information go to www.libbyloggersbaseball.com .