With a victory already under their belts, the Hamburg Sr. American Legion Reds were poised to go far in the Schuylkill/Berks League earlier this month. But their dreams of a league championship faded away when they lost their next two games to be eliminated from the tournament.
Expectations were high for the Reds. They had a lot of talent on the team, to go along with a lot of experience. This was a year that the Reds were true contenders. But losses to Muhlenberg and Southern Area ended their season short of its goals.
Still, head coach Brad Biehl was happy with the way his team played this summer. Dispite a disappointing end, there was a lot of positives to take from the 2014 season.
“Overall, I feel that we had a very successful season as we had a group of 12 players who were committed and dedicated throughout the entire year,” said Biehl. “Legion baseball has had to compete against travel baseball leagues and training for other sports. To get that type of commitment from this group was something that I was very proud of. They played hard, competed night in and night out with a 16-game league schedule in about a 3 1/2 weeks time period.”
Pitching was definitely the strength of the team this summer. The trio of Tyler Seidel, Austin Bashore and Alex Cooper kept the Reds in every game this season. They registered one solid game after another.
Offensively, it was hit and miss. The Reds couldn’t consistently score many runs, although they did have some success at times.
Ryan Atkinson and Jake Leinkewicz were among the top hitters in the league. They also provided power to the line-up, combining for 12 home runs.
In Biehl’s mind, the highlight of the season came when the Reds battled Tamaqua, a very tough team to take on. The game went into the eighth inning with Hamburg coming out on top, 2-1.
But the low point came in the league playoffs. The Reds defeated Wyomissing in two straight games to qualify for the eight-team double-elimination league tournament. Then a 7-1 victory over Fleetwood put Hamburg into the winners bracket.
But the offense shut down in the next two games. In that pair of games, the Reds managed just five hits. They were shutout by Muhlenberg, 5-0, then lost to Southern Area, 8-3.
“We made uncharacteristic mistakes in the field that hadn’t happened during the regular season,” said Biehl.
It was a tough was to end a season, but there is still the 2015 season to look forward to. The team will be drastically different, with many of the key player not eligible to come back nest year.
“We will have to replace much of our pitching staff as we lose players due to age and graduation, but there will be an opportunity for the younger guys to come in and have the opportunity to play right away,” said Biehl.
It will be interesting to see how the younger player develop next year. You never know what your going to get with a team that young.