TGLegionBall

Totino-Grace Legion baseball players celebrate their Grand Rapids tournament victory in June. The Eagles have been soaring with a 27-2 record heading into the final weeks of the season.

Teams can’t prepare for a regular rotation when facing Fridley Eagles Post 303, Totino-Grace’s Legion baseball team.

The Eagles (27-2) rotate as many pitchers as possible throughout its game-heavy season before sub state tournament commences late in the month. Eagles coach Seth Pugh said he’s seen pitchers burn out going through a more traditional rotation during the past two summers, so he mixed things up this year.

“I want the pitchers to be very, very, very fresh for this upcoming sub state a couple weeks,” Pugh said.

He pitches them in many games but limited innings, using 2-4 pitchers per game

The Eagles already play almost 30 games in its independent schedule going into this week after completing the Karnas Classic tournament in Richfield last weekend.

Post 303 opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Holy Angels July 5 and beat Apple Valley 6-3 Minneapolis Washburn 7-2 July 6. The Eagles fell to Wayzata’s second Legion team in the championship July 7 by a 6-0 score. It gave the Eagles their second loss for the season.

“We didn’t play well,” Pugh said about the title game.

Post 303 has an experienced team with a large senior class this summer that has allowed for its success. Pugh said most of the players on the team have been playing Legion baseball for two or three years with 21 juniors and seniors alone wanting to go out for the team.

“It’s always nice to have almost the whole spring (varsity) team starting in the summer too,” Pugh said. “The past two (years), we had to start all over.”

The Eagles play in the Gopher Classic this weekend in St. Michael for pool play. The tournament concludes early next week with the championship rounds.

Post 303 has its sights set on a run to state. The Eagles reached the sub state final last year, and the spring varsity team reached the section final last year and made a deep run in the section tournament this year.

“They’ve had success coming up, and they want to figure out how to take that next step,” Pugh said.

Sub state offers a number of challenges for the Eagles with Mahtomedi, North St. Paul, Oakdale and Hamline Purple (Cretin-Derham Hall).

“It doesn’t matter who you face in that first round. Everyone’s got one really good pitcher,” Pugh said.

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