The Columbus (Watterson) American Legion Post 82 baseball team's season might appear to be a major disappointment.

The Columbus (Watterson) American Legion Post 82 baseball team's season might appear to be a major disappointment.

After finishing 35-10 overall and winning its second consecutive District 12 tournament title last year, Post 82 finished 12-20 overall and went 1-2 in the District 12 tournament.

But with only one starter from the Watterson High School varsity on his roster, coach Nippy Prease said this was a good season in terms of player development.

"This was a rebuilding season, and developing our young players was our first priority," Prease said.

"All of our kids got a lot of chances to show what they can do against varsity level competition for the first time. Some of our kids saw where they stand and have a better idea of what they need to do to get prepared for the spring. The rest of them now realize they aren't going to be able to make the varsity team next spring and they should concentrate on their studies. We plan on building both our high school and legion teams into state level contenders once again, and this was an important step."

Post 82 won two of its last three regular-season games to finish 7-8 in District 12.

Post 82 opened tournament play by upsetting Hilliard (Darby) Post 614C 6-3 on July 19, then lost to Dublin (Coffman) Post 800C 7-1 on July 20 and Southway (Central Crossing) Post 144A 12-6 on July 21.

"It was a long season and I think some of our guys just ran out of gas," catcher Kevin Obarski said. "A lot of kids on our team play football, and they had go from football camp to baseball, and I think their bodies were pretty tired.

"Our record wasn't very hot this year, but I think everyone got used to the speed of the game and the speed of the pitching, and we all improved. I think this experience will make us better players and a better team next spring."

Four members of Post 82 made the District 12 all-star team -- first baseman Brian Bruening, third baseman Lucas Crawford, pitcher Matt Krajcovic and Obarski.

Bruening batted .478 with 20 RBI and 22 runs, Obarski batted .423 with 14 RBI and five doubles, Crawford batted .367 with one home run, right-fielder Jim Smolik batted .373 with 10 RBI, left-fielder Danny Kernan batted .351 and shortstop Jim Dalin batted .303.

"Those four guys who made the all-star team played exceptionally well and set themselves up to be a good position to play varsity baseball next year," Prease said. "That's what this experience was all about."