Successful summer for VFW baseball teamCoach McDermott pleased with the progress of squad.
By: Tom Carothers, Woodbury Bulletin
It was a dandy summer for the Woodbury VFW baseball team as the hometown nine compiled an 18-11 record and finished second in the District 4 playoffs.
“We tried to get everyone involved,” coach Kevin McDermott said. “It’s a lot about developing players, but we played solid in the tournaments when we played to win.”
Woodbury took third at the Burnsville Tournament and placed second at the Eagan Tournament before falling to White Bear Lake in the finals of the district tourney on a walk-off home run.
The Woodbury offense was led by a number of talented hitters, including third baseman Jack Leiviska and first baseman/rightfielder/pitcher Mike Policano.
Leiviska led the club with a .409 batting average, hitting one homer, five doubles and two triples — while scoring 24 runs and driving home 21 of his teammates.
Policano was tops on the team with two home runs and 25 runs batted in, while batting .394 with nine doubles and two triples. The multi-position fielder also crossed the plate 22 times.
Leadoff hitter and shortstop Ryan Betts accounted for a .375 average with a team-best 28 runs scored, while centerfielder/pitcher Grant Swansson hit .375 with 25 runs scored and catcher Austin Fleischhacker batted .280 while backstopping 28 of 29 games for Woodbury.
“Austin is a solid catcher and did a great job working with the pitchers,” McDermott said.
The VFW pitching staff was headed up by staff ace Eric Alsides, who struck out 40 opposing batters in 49 2/3 innings of work off the rubber while compiling a 2.81 earned run average.
“When it came down to the big game, we were very confident in him,” McDermott said. “He’s a very consistent pitcher.”
Swansson tabulated a 3.95 ERA in 37 innings off the hill, as fellow starter Policano put together a 4.85 ERA while gritting out some crucial turns for Woodbury.
In the VFW bullpen, Mike Mader (3.05 ERA), Rick Garay and Sam Motzko did their best to quell the opposition. Motzko, the team’s closer, had a 2.89 ERA.
Rounding out the club were a number of skilled players in outfielders Matt McIntyre, Tom Drtina and second basemen Sean Scanlon and Tom Mohwinkel.
“There was a lot of talent on this team,” McDermott said. “It was a lot of fun to coach them.”