THE FRONT ROW with JASON ELLIOTT June 23, 2012 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Sports

THE FRONT ROW with JASON ELLIOTT June 23, 2012

No getting around the numbers

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Posted: Saturday, June 23, 2012 12:00 am

There's no getting around it.

To be successful in baseball, you need to put the work in.

Whether fielding, hitting or pitching - to be one of the best, it takes a full-time commitment to be among the best.

IF YOU haven't seen an American Legion baseball game, do yourself a favor and make sure to check one out at either McEuen Field or Post Falls High.

The Coeur d'Alene Lumbermen are comprised of players from Coeur d'Alene and Lake City high schools, and the Prairie Cardinals are made up of players from Post Falls, Lakeland and Timberlake high schools.

This past spring, three of those five schools advanced to their respective state tournaments and both Legion teams have played well at the start of the season.

Coeur d'Alene and Prairie both advanced to the state "AA" tournament last year and this year's Lumbermen team includes a group of players that made it all the way to the the class "A" regionals last year in Oregon.

I've seen the game at plenty of stadiums, and there's no place like McEuen for an evening game.

Trees, lights and the water nearby, I can't think of a better surrounding than a field on a lake.

Fans will get a heavy dose of baseball in the area with the final rounds of the Best of the Northwest tournament scheduled today at McEuen, as well as the annual Spokane/Coeur d'Alene 4th of July Wood Bat Classic in a little under two weeks.

Teams in the North Idaho League will conclude the season at McEuen for the Area AA District A tournament July 26-29.

THE SAME won't be said for the Silver Valley Legion baseball team this year.

After failing to get enough players from the three feeder schools - Wallace, Mullan and Kellogg - the team had to cancel its season before it even started.

Two years ago, while in the midst of some budget shortfalls, it was discussed the possibility of dropping the baseball program at Kellogg High, as well as other sports in an effort to save some money.

It also wasn't that long ago when the Wallace High baseball team didn't have enough players to field a varsity team, but now, when the valley pulls from all three schools, there's nothing.

The program needed at least 12 players for the roster, and could only come up with 11 players.

Some players have to work during the summer, which I understand.

But I've seen players that want to commit their summer to both, and have success doing so.

COMPARING THE two situations is difficult. With more players competing in the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls area, it's easier to find enough players to fill up to six teams.

And at end of the day, players are going to play - no matter what else gets in the way.

There's a good reason why teams have success in the spring and summer.

Because they've got the guys that want to.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d'Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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