The Pickerington American Legion Post 283 baseball team is hoping to buckle down as it prepares for the Region 6 tournament, which begins Sunday, July 14, and concludes Wednesday, July 17.
“All these games that we play all summer and the tournaments we entered were nothing but a precursor for the postseason tournaments,” coach Chris Weber said. “We try not to be a hot-and-cold team and just maintain that consistency. But with a long schedule and a more difficult schedule unlike any other legion team, combined with the fact these guys are still kids for the most part, it’s tough.
“We’re a much younger team than we’ve been in a while and we’ve had kids who have other commitments. So we have had some ups and downs. However, now is the time to really start piecing things together.”
Post 283 was 29-9 through July 7. Because of rain, several tournaments in which the team competed were not concluded after the round-robin portion of the events.
Last year, Post 283 won its first state championship and finished 56-5 to set a program record for wins in a season.
This year’s state tournament is July 29-Aug. 2 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
“Our pitching has been great, but our execution on offense and defense hasn’t been good lately,” said center fielder Devon Fisk, a 2013 Pickerington High School Central graduate. “But there’s no real concern when you look at the talent of this team. The talent is there, but these past two weeks it seems as though we’re not playing as a team. We’ve got to drop the ‘me’ agenda and get back to the team aspect.”
Fisk, who has batted leadoff for the team the past two seasons, has avoided playing for himself despite the college coaches and scouts being in attendance to watch him lately.
Fisk has been invited to be a preferred walk-on at Bowling Green. However, he was expecting to be offered by Tiffin soon.
“Either way, I will be happy,” Fisk said. “My focus will be on going to school to get an education and then playing baseball.”
“Wherever he goes, that school will be getting a special player and a better person,” Weber said. “He’s unique because he does so many things that can help the team. He has all the tools and is one of the top two center fielders I’ve ever coached for sure. Plus, he is one of the best individuals I have ever coached. He’s just a great, respectful, hardworking and sincere young man.”
If Fisk winds up at Tiffin, he would join Post 283 teammates and 2012 graduates Kyle Montell (Pickerington North) and Dan Sexton (Watkins Memorial).
Sexton (LHP/OF) continues to have a strong summer and Montell (RHP) has just returned from injury to add depth to the pitching rotation.
“We basically just added another arm in Montell,” Weber said. “He didn’t pitch this spring because of an injury. That’ll just make our pitching that much stronger.
“Sexton is a great competitor who can shape the outcome of a game on the mound or in the outfield. He gives us a chance to win every time he’s on the bump. He’s even hitting some. I think he’s a better all-around athlete than he’s given credit for being. He can run down balls in the outfield. He also has high expectations and an infectious attitude. He’s doing a great job teaching the 11 players that we’ll have back next season.”
Post 283 won its ninth district title last season, following championships in 1989, 1994, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
“I think the strength of our team last year was hitting and our strength this year is definitely pitching,” Fisk said. “Our defense has to back our pitching and we’ve got to start getting timely hits. We need to get on the same page and get on a roll one inning at a time.”