Post 366 off to blazing start years ago

Sports reporter

While winning the state tournament is the main goal, Hein said his ball club first has to finish out the regular season strong, and win the district tournament.

Hein knew that was a lofty, but possible goal even before the season started. Once the pieces were in place, he was excited.

He had seen the six Hillsboro players, Tyler Ediger, Jacob Edwards, Jacob Fish, Devin Funk, Daniel Jost, and Isaac Leihy play during the season.

He also knew of home school student Jake Liles of Lehigh and former Hillsboro player and current Hesston College team member Travis Reisen.

Marionites Calvin Jeffrey, Wil Case, and Brian Fruechting, weren't as familiar to Hein, but from the little he had seen them play, and on the advice from some Hillsboro players, he took on the trio.

Jeffrey, Fruecthing, and Case had been telling Hein how good three guys from the 2A state-qualifying Chase County Bulldogs were.

When all was said and done, Brian Palermo, Cole Starkey, and Kyle Hannigan were #366 team members.

"I knew we could be pretty good this year," Hein said once everything was in place.

And one thing that has been in place according to Hein is the team's defense.

Sure they have put up scores in the high teens and even 20s, but at the same time they have put up a few zeros on the defensive side.

Most of the players can play a number of positions. One luxury is having Jost, Jeffrey, and Palermo who played short stop for their respective teams, but are athletic enough to play nearly every position.

Reisen has shown his versatility by catching and pitching this year, although Hein said he doesn't want to wear out his arm for the college season.

Pitchers, Leihy, Palermo, Fruechting, Liles, Edwards, and Starkey, all can play other positions as well.

Hein also has used the "extra hitter" feature of Legion ball to his advantage. By being able to bat 10, it allows Fruechting and Hannigan to both play, switching off between first base and extra hitter.

While the talent is there, Hein said his assistant Alex Nuss and Lee Waldron have helped a tremendous amount.

Nuss, who played on the team last year, and Waldron, who is from Tabor, provide a balance on the staff.

Waldron is the older of the two and brings a lot of experience, while Nuss, who is only a year older than some players, is someone the players can easily relate to.

Final goal

This week could be one of the biggest tests for Post 366, as they play the Salina 18-and-older team tonight (Wednesday) at Salina.

Then they play host Friday-Sunday to a league round-robin tournament. They are slated to play the team that has put the only blemish on their otherwise glossy record — Moundridge.

"Maybe it was good we lost," Hein said. "We kind of got that monkey off our back."

But when it comes to the district and state tournament, losing is not an option.

"We do have the potential to win the state tournament," Hein said. "If everyone is playing the way they can play."

If not, then what?

"If we don't at least give ourselves a chance to play in that tournament, that will be disappointing," Hein said.