Legion teams get into swing of a new season

By Julia Green
Local baseball players didn’t get much of a break when the school baseball season came to a close recently, as the Legion baseball season is already in full swing.
“It’s an easy continuation of the high school season,” said Rick Funck, who coaches the Margaretville Legion team. Funck’s squad features 10 players from his MCS varsity squad, as well as five players from the school’s modified program. Two players from Onteora and one first-time player round out the roster to its maximum of 18 players.
“Our strengths are obviously having a number of guys who played varsity ball this spring,” Funck said on Monday. “They know what I expect, they know the signs – it’s just an easy continuation for them, and having that number of kids that played varsity ball, that’s a great advantage for us.
“The biggest challenge is to try to get 18 guys in the ball game,” he added. “I tried doing that tonight and even in a close ball game you kind of get torn between ‘we’re in a one-run ball game here’ and then trying to get everybody in the game. This is the first game that I wasn’t able to get everybody in the game in some way, shape or form.”
With three games under their belt, Funck said the Margaretville squad is playing well. They currently hold a 2-1 record, having lost to Stamford on Monday night. In their first game of the season last week, Margaretville jumped out to an early lead over Roxbury, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings to carry them to a 15-5 victory. They followed that win with a 7-2 win at Delhi last Thursday.
“It’s kind of a quirky schedule,” Funck said, adding that out of nine games on the schedule, only three of them will be played at home. “There are four teams on this side of the league, and we’re scheduled to play each team three times, so it’s a nine-game schedule and then we get into playoffs the second week in July.”
One focus that Funck is working on is the Margaretville pitching.
“Patrick O’Connell is kind of a known commodity, so I’ve been trying to get some of the guys who didn’t pitch much this year some experience on the mound, because they’re going to need it next year at the varsity level,” he said. Two Margaretville players who have already seen time on the mound are Ian Williams and Jon Fairbairn, both of whom were on the MCS varsity squad this spring. Williams started on the mound for Margaretville in last week’s match-up at Roxbury while Fairbairn entered the game in relief. On Monday, Fairbairn started on the mound at Stamford.
“Obviously, you’d like to win every game you play, but I think the emphasis in the summer is to get everyone in when you can and keep it kind of equal,” Funck said, adding that the teams across the league are pretty evenly matched. “I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of blow away games.”
Margaretville will travel to Roxbury again tomorrow and will face Delhi at home on Monday. Next Thursday’s home game against Stamford was moved up to Wednesday, June 24.