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Legion baseball swings into new season
May 30, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photo by Elizabeth Gross/Gering Citizen - The 2013 Gering Senior Legion Baseball team front row from left: Dalton Scott, Trace Fulk, Brent Barge, Chris Palamo, Dylan Radzymski, Travis Trauernicht, Austin Abbott; second row from left: Logan Conn, Brenden Brester, Quentin Timblin, Austin Reynolds, Anthony Ramirez; back row from left: Nic Bibb, Esai Hernandez, Walker Britsch, Bret Orozco, Gage Winkler, Taylor Winkler.

One home tournament is already in the books and the Gering American Legion Post 36 baseball team is ready to take on the long season ahead.

The Platte Valley Companies Senior Team, last year’s state Class B champs, have also played away games at Wheatland, Wyo. and Chadron prior to the Hershland Tournament, coming up this weekend in Hershey, Neb.

The team also has a new head coach this year – Rick Kinnaman. He’s been involved in Gering High School sports and in Legion baseball for a number of years, so he’s already coached many of the team members in other sports. Kinnaman takes over from Doug Jones, who resigned last February after three years of coaching the team.

Last season’s state championship was the first for Gering in 30 years. And while his team is defending the title, Kinnaman realized this is a new and different season.

“We don’t have a lot of extra numbers, so everyone is going to play,” he said. “This is a young team, but I’m sure they will learn quickly.”

He added there are a lot of perennially tough teams on the schedule for the 2013 campaign, including Alliance, Westco from Scottsbluff, and Class A North Platte.

“I hope to be fundamentally sound by the end of the season,” Kinnaman said. “It’s some of the little things like backing up the right bases that we’re still working on.”

A number of players on the roster have moved up from the Junior Team this year. There are also three returning players from last year’s championship team.

Assisting Kinnaman this season will by Danny O’Boyle, who was a standout shortstop on last years state championship team. He’s currently playing football at Chadron State College.

And for the first time, Gering will host the state Class B senior tournament July 27 – 31 in Oregon Trail Park.

Former coach Doug Jones, who was instrumental in getting the tournament to come to Gering, said at the time it was a big deal and a lot of work would be involved in hosting a good state tournament.

Jones added the tournament would be a good opportunity to showcase Gering and show players from back east there’s a lot more to Nebraska than just east of Kearney.

See inside for a story on the first week’s action.
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