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Powerful schedule will test Ploof's Post 22 team

Powerful schedule will test Ploof's Post 22 team

Powerful schedule will test Ploof's Post 22 team
Legendary Rapid City Post 22 coach Dave Ploof has the Fitzgerald Stadium stands all to to himself as he makes notes during his team's practice on Wednesday. Photo by Don Polovich

RAPID CITY - It's only April, but the Rapid City Post 22 American Legion baseball team is making its earliest start ever when they entertain Spearfish in a doubleheader at Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday.

"In the past we've started a week later, but baseball is a game you have to play a lot of to develop," said veteran Post 22 coach Dave Ploof. "Baseball is a craft; you have to work at it and learn how to play."

The Post 22 Split Squad will take on Spearfish at 1 p.m. Sunday, followed by the Post 22 Varsity against Spearfish at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Ploof has again put together an ambitious summer schedule, which features more than 70 games.

"You have to schedule and play good people," said Ploof. "You can play people who aren't competitive and you don't learn a thing. We want to give the kids the opportunity to go on and play baseball in college."

Ploof continues to schedule "name" teams, including West Warwick, R.I., from the East Coast and Spokane, Wash., from the West Coast.

Other teams coming to Rapid City this summer are Edmond, Okla., which beat national champion Enid last year; perennial Idaho power Twin Falls; and Omaha Skutt, the team Post 22 beat in the first round of last year's Central Plains Regional.

"Teams love to come to Rapid City," said Ploof. "We need to bring in top-notch teams to help our program grow. Teams come here for the competition, the beautiful ballpark - which is not maintained by taxpayer's money - and the things they can do in the area."

The three Post 22 teams will participate in eight tournaments at Fitzgerald Stadium this summer. The Varsity will also play in tournaments in Omaha, Denver and Minneapolis.

Post 22 compiled a 41-15 record a year ago, including its eighth appearance in the American Legion World Series during Ploof's 41-year tenure as head coach.

There will be a lot of offense missing from last year's squad, as such players as outfielder Shane Bray (.396), outfielder Jesse Biggins (.314), outfielder Brian Estes (.312), shortstop Erick Sykora (.347) and catcher Ryan Sayles (.371) have used up their Legion eligibility. Also missing will be pitchers Aaron Reule (11-1) and Eric Brouillette (1-2).

On paper, pitching appears to be Post 22's strong point.

Returning are Kirby Morsching (7-1, 2.29 ERA, pitched at South Dakota State this spring), Mike Robinson (9-0, 3.39 ERA), Zach Vliestra (4-2, 5.21 ERA), Nick Honke (2-3, 5.94 ERA) and Blaine Linster (0-0, 4.50 ERA).

"Pitching should be our strong point if we throw quality strikes," said Ploof. "We should have a good hitting club up and down the order because we have outstanding players coming up from the Split Squad. We should have pretty good speed, some power and we need to shore up the defense."

Also returning from last year are catcher Justin Sawyer (.174), third baseman Max Fenske (.351), pitcher-infielder Garrett Wolff (.111), second baseman Josh Nolan (.346), first baseman Linster (.316), outfielder Vliestra (.382) and pitcher Myles Huether (4-0).

Linster will probably be moved to the outfield and Fenske will be moving over to shortstop.

Moving up from the Split Squad, which Ploof says plays the second-best Legion schedule in the state, are infielder-outfielder Carey Klapperich, infielder Dustin Work, infielder Jordan Mette, pitcher Mitch Jaeger, pitcher Wade Jaeger, first baseman Nick Tolsma, first baseman Billy Wade, pitcher Tim Long, catcher-pitcher-infielder-outfielder Seth Thompson, pitcher Lee Blodgett, outfielder J.J. Martin and pitcher Curt Drake.

"There are always other kids who improve so much in one year that they move up," said Ploof. "I always write down my tournament team in an envelope before the season begins and then open it up on cutdown date (July 4). "I've never been right yet. Every kid has an opportunity to be on the tournament team."

The Post 22 coaching staff, which features more than a combined 150 years with the Post 22 team, hasn't changed much.

"All of our coaches have good credentials," said Ploof. "We would put our staff against anyone else."

This year's returning staff includes Rich Downs, Chad Coley, Pete Melendez, Dr. Carl Stonecipher, Andy Shepherd and Lee Shepherd.

Newcomers are a pair of former Legion Players of the Year, Kyle Yamada and Bud Bartholow. Yamada was Player of the Year in 1991 and Bartholow in 1978.

"Yamada was the No. 1 instructor at the West Coast Baseball Academy and has an outstanding knowledge of the game," said Ploof. "Bartholow played at Class AA Reading, Pa., in the Phillies organization. He brings a great positive attitude and philosophy. They will both be great assets to the program."

Ploof is heading into his 42nd year as head coach and this year's goals remain the same.

"We want to be one of the eight teams left when the World Series is being played," said Ploof. "We've already talked about that, but don't preach it. We work for that goal. We had a taste of winning it all in 1993 and want to give our kids the chance again by playing the best teams in the country."

RAPID CITY POST 22 SCHEDULES

Post 22 Varsity

April

30, Spearfish, 3:30 p.m.

May

7, Spearfish, 3:30 p.m.; 11, Sturgis, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 13, at Billings, Mont., 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 14, at Billings, 10 a.m.; 18, at Sturgis, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 20, Cheyenne, Wyo., 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 21, Cheyenne, 10:30 a.m.

26-28, Spring Classic; 29, at Pierre, 1 and 3 p.m..

June

3, Greeley, Colo., 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 4, Greeley, 10 a.m.; 7, at Cheyenne, 2:30 p.m.; 8-11, Cherry Creek, Colo., Tournament; 12, Williston, N.D., 7:30 p.m.; 14, at Mitchell, 6 p.m.; 15, at Omaha, Neb., Westside, 4 p.m.; 16-18, College World Series Legion Tournament at Omaha; 20, Dickinson, N.D., 7:30 p.m.; 21, Flandreau, 7:30 p.m.; 22-26, Rich Hinseth Agency Tournament; 28, Las Vegas, Nev., 7:30 p.m.; 29-30, Elks Firecracker Tournament.

July

1-4, Elks Firecracker Tournament; 7-10, Gopher Classic in Minneapolis; 13-16, Dr. James "Pev" Evans Tournament; 18, Pierre, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 19, Colorado Springs Aces, 7:30 p.m.; 20-23, Marshall Tubbs Classic; 25-28, S.D. Regional Tournament, Fitzgerald Stadium.

August

2-6, S.D. State Tournament at Brookings; 9-13, Central Plains Regional at Aberdeen; 17-24, World Series at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Post 22 Split Squad

April

30, Spearfish, 1 p.m.

May

7, Spearfish, 1 p.m.; 13, Spearfish, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 14, Belle Fourche, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 20, Cheyenne, noon and 2:30 p.m.; 21, Cheyenne, 8 a.m.; 26-28, Spring Classic.

June

3, at Gillette, 1 and 3:30 p.m.; 4, at Sturgis, 1 and 3:30 p.m.; 5, at Sheridan, Wyo., 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 7, at Spearfish 5:30 and 8 p.m.; 9-11, Top Hitter Tournament; 12, Williston, N.D., 5 p.m.; 13, at Alliance, Neb., 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 15-18, Williston Tournament; 20, Dickinson, 5 p.m.; 21, Flandreau, 5 p.m.; 22-26, Rich Hinseth Agency Tournament; 27, at Alliance, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 29-30, Dickinson Tournament.

July

1-2, Dickinson Tournament; 5, Sheridan, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 7-9, Pierre Tournament; 11, Gillette, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 13-16, Dr. James "Pev" Evans Tournament; 18, at Sturgis, 5:30 and 8 p.m.; 19, Pierre, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; 20-23, Marshall Tubbs Classic.

August

3-6, USA Northern Regional, Fitzgerald Stadium/

Post 22 Bullets

May

7, at Sturgis, 4:30 and 7 p.m.; 14, Spearfish, 1 and 3:30 p.m.; 20, at Cheyenne, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 21, at Cheyenne, 9:30 a.m. and noon; 27, at Scottsbluff, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 28, at Scottsbluff, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; 29, at Sturgis, 1 and 3:30 p.m..

June

5, at Spearfish, 5:30 and 8 p.m.; 7, Belle Fourche, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 9-11, Top Hitter Tournament; 14, Sturgis, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 15, Independence, Mo., 7:30 p.m.; 16-18, Big Stick Tournament; 20, at Allliance, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 22, at Belle Fourche, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 24, at Pierre, 4:30 and 7 p.m.; 25, at Pierre, noon and 2:30 p.m.; 27, Spearfish, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 28, at Sturgis, 5:30 and 8 p.m.; 30, Cheyenne Tournament.

July

1-2, Cheyenne Tournament; 6, Belle Fourche, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 8, Pierre, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 9, Pierre, 1 and 3:30 p.m.; 13, at Alliance, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 15, at Denver, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 16, at Denver, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; 17, Belle Fourche, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; 19, at Spearfish, 5:30 and 8 p.m; 20-23, Marshall Tubbs Classic.

August

3-6, USA Northern Regional, Fitzgerald Stadium.

Post 22 tourney play

Spring Classic

Friday, May 26: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Denver Playball Sports, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Denver Playball Sports, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 27: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Denver Playball Spoorts, 9:30 a.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Denver Playball Sports, noon; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Scottsbluff-Gering, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Scottsbluff-Gering, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 28: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Scottsbluff-Gering, noon; R.C. Post 22 vs. Scottsbluff-Gering, 2:30 p.m.

Top Hitter

Friday, June 9: Spearfish vs. Sturgis, noon; Post 22 Bullets vs. Denver, 2:30 p.m.; Pierre vs. Cheyenne, 5 p.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Cheyenne, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 10: Post 22 Bullets vs. Sturgis, 9:30 a.m.; Pierree vs. Sturgis, noon; Spearfish vs. Cheyenne, 2:30 p.m.; Spearfish vs. Denver, 5 p.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Denver, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 11: Post 22 Bullets vs. Cheyenne, 9:30 a.m.; Sturgis vs. Denver, noon; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Spearfish, 2:30 p.m.; Post 22 Bullets vs. Pierre, 5 p.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Pierre, 7:30 p.m.

Big Stick

Friday, June 16: Post 22 Bullets vs. Alliance, noon; Sturgis vs. Alliance, 2:30 p.m.; Fort Morgan, Colo., vs. Dickinson, 5 p.m.; Post 22 Bullets vs. Aurora, Colo., 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 17: Dickinson vs. Aurora, noon; Dickinson vs. Sturgis, 2:30 p.m.; Alliance vs. Fort Morgan, 5 p.m.; Post 22 Bullets vs. Fort Morgan, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 18: Aurora vs. Alliance, 9:30 a.m.; Aurora vs. Sturgis, noon; Fort Morgan vs. Sturgis, 2:30 p.m.; Post 22 Bullets vs. Dickinson, 5 p.m.

Rich Hinseth Agency

Thursday, June 22: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Watertown, S.D., 9:30 a.m.; Cherry Creek vs. Helena, Mont., noon; Coon Rapids, Minn., vs. Helena, 2:30 p.m.; Coon Rapids vs. Denver Playball Sports, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Denver Playball Sports, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 23: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Helena, 9:30 a.m.; Cherry Creek vs. Watertown, noon; Billings Scarlets vs. Denver Playball Sports, 2:30 p.m.; Bozeman, Mont., vs. Twin Falls, Idaho, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Coon Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 24: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Twin Falls, 7:30 a.m.; Bozeman vs. Cherry Crrek, 10 a.m.; Bozeman vs. Watertown, 12:30 p.m.; Denver Playball Sports vs. Watertown, 3 p.m.; Billings Scarlets vs. Coon Rapids, 5:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Helena, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 25: Helena vs. Watertown, 9:30 a.m.; Bozeman vs. Denver Playball Sports, noon; Coon Rapids vs. Twin Falls, 2:30 p.m.; Billings Scarlets vs. Cheyenne Creek, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Cherry Creek, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, June 26: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Bozeman, noon; R.C. Post 22 vs. Billings Scarlets, 2:30 p.m.; Twin Falls vs. Billings Scarlets, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Twin Falls, 7:30 p.m.

Elks Firecracker

Thursday, June 29: West Warwick, R.I., vs. Edmond, Okla., 7:30 a.m.; West Warwick vs. Missoula, Mont., 10 a.m.; Boulder, Colo., vs. Missoula, 12:30 p.m.; Boulder vs. De Pere, Wis., 3 p.m.; Las Vegas vs. Spokane, Wash., 5:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Spokane, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 30: Las Vegas vs. De Pere, 7:30 a.m.; Las Vegas vs. West Warwick, 10 a.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Boulder, 12:30 p.m.; Edmond vs. Missoula, 3 p.m.; Edmond vs. Spokane, 5:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. De Pere, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 1: Spokane vs. West Warwick, 9:30 a.m.; Spokane vs. Boulder, noon; Missoula vs. Las Vegas, 2:30 p.m.; De Pere vs. Edmond, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22. vs. Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 2: Boulder vs. Las Vegas, 7:30 a.m.; Boulder vs. Edmond, 10 a.m.; De Pere vs. West Warwick, 12:30 p.m.; De Pere vs. Spokane, 3 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Missoula, 5:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Edmond, 8 p.m.

Monday, July 3: Spokane vs. Missoula, 9 a.m.; De Pere vs. Missoula, 11:30 a.m.; Boulder vs. West Warwick, 2 p.m.; Las Vegas vs. Edmond, 4:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. West Warwick, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 4: Seventh place, noon; Fifth place, 2:30 p.m.; Third place, 5 p.m.; Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. James "Pev" Evans

Thursday, July 13: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Alliance, 7:30 a.m.; Yankton vs. Alliance, 10 a.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Yankton, 12:30 p.m.; Minot vs. Laramaie, 3 p.m.; Omaha Skutt vs. Excelsior, Minn., 5:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Aurora, Colo., 8 p.m.

Friday, July 14: Excelsior vs. Laramie, 7:30 a.m.; Excelsior vs. Minot, 10 a.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Yankton, 12:30 p.m.; Aurora vs. Alliance, 3 p.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Omaha Skutt, 5:30 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Omaha Skutt, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 15: Laramie vs. Alliance, 9:30 a.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Aurora, noon; Yankton vs. Aurora, 2:30 p.m.; Minot vs. Omaha Skutt, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Excelsior, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 16: Excelsior vs. Aurora, 9:30 a.m.; Omaha Skutt vs. Laramie, noon; Yankton vs. Laramie, 2:30 p.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Minot, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Minot, 7:30 p.m.

Marshall Tubbs Classic

Thursday, July 20: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Spearfish, 9:30 a.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Aberdeen, noon; Casper vs. Colorado Springs Aces, 2:30 p.m.; Mitchell vs. Helena, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Helena, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 21: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Colorado Springs Aces, 9:30 a.m.; Mitchell vs. Colorado Springs Aces, noon; Helena vs. Spearfish, 2:30 p.m.; Aberdeen vs. Casper, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Casper, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 22: Post 22 Split Squad vs. Casper, 9:30 a.m.; Helena vs. Colorado Springs Aces, noon; Mitchell vs. Spearfish, 2:30 p.m.; Spearfish vs. Aberdeen, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Aberdeen, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 23: Helena vs. Aberdeen, 9:30 a.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Colorado Springs Aces, noon; Casper vs. Spearfish, 2:30 p.m.; Post 22 Split Squad vs. Mitchell, 5 p.m.; R.C. Post 22 vs. Mitchell, 7:30 p.m.

ALL-TIME R.C. POST 22 RECORDS

SINGLE SEASON

Team Hitting

Games played-99, 2002.

At bats-2,794, 2002.

Runs scored-948, 1998.

Average runs per game-11.0, 1998.

Runs batted in-822, 1998.

Base hits-1,070, 2002.

Doubles-234, 1998.

Triples-71, 1998.

Home runs-68, 1998.

Total bases-1,540, 1998.

Stolen bases-180, 1993.

Sacrifice hits-100, 1996.

Sacrifice flies-53, 1994.

Batting average-.395, 1998.

Slugging percentage-.634, 1998.

Hits per game-11.16, 1998.

Double plays-79, 2002.

Winning streak-26, 2002.

Victories-85, 2002.

Team Pitching

Complete games-65, 1993.

Innings pitched-646-1/3, 2002.

Fewest hits-287, 1997.

Fewest hits per game-4.04, 1997.

Fewest runs-195, 1993.

Fewest runs per game-2.11, 1978.

Fewest walks-147, 1993.

Fewest walks per game-2.08, 1997.

Strikeouts-588, 1983.

Strikeouts per game-7.54, 1980.

Earned run average-2.56, 1993.

INDIVIDUAL

Hitting

Games played-Spencer Ingaldson, 94, 2002.

At bats-Pat Moran, 326, 2002.

Runs scored-Pat Moran, 133, 2002.

Base hits-Pat Moran, 154, 2002.

Doubles-Pat Moran, 44, 2002.

Triples-Ryan Hansen, 17, 1998.

Home runs-Colin Hofer, 20, 1997.

Total bases-Ryan Hansen, 234, 1998.

Runs batted in-Ryan Hansen, 121, 1998.

Sacrfice hits-Chris Kilpatrick, 16, 1989.

Sacrifice flies-Gary Walz, 11, 2002.

Batting average-Casey Klapperich, .496, 2003.

Slugging percentage-Ben Thomas, .846. 2000.

Stolen bases-Ryan Merritt, 62, 1993.

Hitting streak-Ben Thomas, 36, 1994.

Pitching

Games-Chad Coley, 27, 1989.

Games started-Pete Torgerson, 18, 1984; Matt Robinson, 18, 2002.

Complete games-Jeff Andrews, 15, 1977.

Wins-Jeff Andrews, 18, 1977.

Earned run average-Ben Thomas, 0.65, 1993.

Innings pitched-Jeff Andrews, 129, 1977.

Strikeouts-Gary L. Larson, 216, 1966.

Most strikeouts, seven-inning game-Steve Selberg, 20, 1980.

CAREER

Hitting

Games-Pat Moran, 301, 1999-2003.

At bats-Pat Moran, 941, 1999-2003.

Runs scored-Pat Moran, 329, 1999-2003.

Hits-Pat Moran, 383, 1999-2003.

Doubles-Pat Moran, 108, 1999-2003.

Triples-Dave Collins, 45, 1968-71.

Home runs-Ryan Hansen, 29, 1996-99.

Stolen bases-Jason Wolff, 103, 1981-84.

Total bases-Pat Moran, 571, 1999-2003.

Runs batted in-Ben Thomas, 263, 1998-00.

Stolen bases-Jason Wolff, 103, 1981-84.

Sacrifice hits-Luke Wheeler, 28, 1994-96.

Sacrifice flies-Mark Ellis, 1992-95, 19.

Slugging percentage (at least 400 at bats)-Ryan Hansen, .787, 1996-99.

Batting average (at least 400 at bats)-Casey Klapperich, .451, 2001-04.

Pitching

Games-Jeff Andrews, 67, 1974-77.

Games started-Les Reiners, 51, 1980-83.

Complete games-Jeff Andrews, 39, 1974-77.

Innings pitched-Jeff Andrews, 399-1/3, 1974-77.

Wins-Jeff Andrews, 51, 1974-77.

Strikeouts-Roger Lewis, 370, 1978-80.

ERA-Roger Lewis, 1.71, 1978-1980.

WORLD SERIES APPEARANCES

1977-At Manchester, N.H., 1-2 record.

1979-At Greenville, Miss., 0-2.

1984-At New Orleans, 2-2, third place.

1993-At Roseburg, Ore., 4-1, national champions

1995-At Fargo, N.D., 1-2, fifth place

1996-At Roseburg, Ore., 1-2, fifth place

2002-At Danville, Va., 2-2, third place

2005-At Rapid City, S.D., 0-2, seventh place

DAVE PLOOF'S WON-LOSS RECORD

2,170-681 going into 2006 season, .761 winning percentage.

Contact Toland at 394-8430 or at roger.toland@rapidcityjournal.com

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