Margaretville, Roxbury into swing of Legion baseball season
By Julia Green
The Margaretville Junior Legion baseball team began its season last week, opening against Stamford on Friday, June 11, and facing Delhi and Hancock on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
Under the guidance of veteran Margaretville baseball coach Rick Funck, the Margaretville squad, which has 15 players in grades seven through 11, fell to Stamford and Delhi before earning a win over Hancock.
“It’s really exciting to have enough guys here to field a team, and to have the participation we’ve had,” said Funck, whose entire roster is comprised of Margaretville Central School students. “They’ve been very committed; the participation and attendance at practice has been very good and I’m trying to get all 15 guys a somewhat equal amount of playing time.”
The Margaretville squad fell behind 12-4 in its opener against Stamford, but battled back to a 12-10 final result. In the next game against Delhi, it was the opposite situation: Margaretville jumped out to an early eight-run lead, but committed five errors in the fifth inning to give Stamford five runs and allow them to tie the game at 8-8. A new pitcher on the mound for Stamford tallied 11 strikeouts and shut down the Margaretville offense, and Funck’s squad fell 11-8.
They earned their first win of the summer on Thursday against Hancock. Margaret-ville pitcher Patrick O’Connell pitched three innings and left after the third with a 1-0 lead; Cody Fronckowiak entered the game in relief in the fourth inning with a 4-0 lead and gave up only one run as Margaretville earned a 9-1 win.
This year’s legion schedule is somewhat different than in past years, as the league has only six teams and all six will automatically qualify for the playoffs following the 10-game “regular season” schedule.
“What I’m going to do when the 10-game schedule is over, I’m going to give them each a piece of paper and let them decide if they want to play it the same way we’ve been playing it, where everybody plays, or say, ‘Hey, it’s the playoffs now and we’re going to try to pick up a trophy and put the best nine guys out there,’” Funck said. “So I’m going to leave it up to them; I’m not going to make that decision.”
Despite having a young squad, Roxbury Junior Legion baseball coach Greg Funck was impressed by his team’s hitting ability in its first three games last week. The Roxbury boys jumped out to an early lead in all three games, beginning with Hancock on June 10.
“They had a good team, a solid, well-rounded team, and we stayed right in it, but they outmatched us,” said Funck, whose team got on the board in the top of the first inning. “We scored three or four in the first inning, but they 10-runned us in five innings.”
The Roxbury squad then faced Delhi on Thursday and worked up to a 7-0 lead going into the third inning.
“We hit the ball well and scored runs, but they chipped away and then came out and scored eight runs in the sixth inning and ended up beating us 10-8,” Funck said.
It was a similar situation on Monday night, when Roxbury hosted visiting Stamford. They jumped out to an early lead to take a 5-0 lead and enjoyed solid pitching from Andy Bird, but were unable to hang on for the win.
“We’ve jumped out to an early lead every game, then just went to sleep,” said Funck, whose team fell to Stamford 11-8 Monday night.
The Roxbury team is comprised of 13 players, 10 of whom are Roxbury students and three of whom are from Gilboa.
“I’ve got all kids that enjoy the game of baseball, and I’ve had an enjoyable summer so far with them,” Funck said. “We all want to win, but I’m here to get them all some playing time. We’re real young, but it’s a good group of well-rounded young kids that are here to learn, and each game I see improvement.”
Roxbury will face off with Margaretville in a double-header on Thursday beginning at 3:30 p.m.