Seniors come back for one more legion season of baseball
Back in May, two East Ridge and three Woodbury legion baseball players ended their high school years by accepting their diplomas and graduating. Even though their high school years ended, their high school baseball years haven't.
The players had different reasons for joining the two teams, but in the end they wanted one more season to play for their local legion team during the summer.
"It's a great chance to play with your friends and teammates one last time before high school is over," said Woodbury's Jack Horman. "I'm just glad I get to spend one more summer with these guys."
For Horman, he joined this team because he'll be playing at St. Scholastica next year. This legion season gives him the opportunity to continue playing in live games before he goes into college workouts in the fall.
Though he's looking forward to college baseball, he's also going to miss the players that he was fortunate to play alongside.
As for Horman's teammate, Sam Wondrasch, he decided to join the team as a fun opportunity to play the sport he enjoys. Wondrasch has been a friend and neighbor of Horman's throughout their childhood.
Horman asked Wondrasch if he was interested in joining the team since the team had a couple spots left on the roster. Wondrasch thought it would be fun to play and enjoy a summer of meeting new people and playing baseball.
Wondrasch didn't graduate from Woodbury. Instead, he graduated from St. Croix Lutheran High School, but became a Royal for the summer and really enjoyed his time on this team.
"I've made some great friends on this team," Wondrasch said. "It seems like one big family and it's fun to be a part of this team."
East Ridge's Noah Thomas has a similar mindset as Horman as he will be playing at Augsburg next spring and wanted to stay in shape for the baseball practices and workouts in the fall.
He also knew that senior leadership is an important aspect to a legion team and Thomas wanted to provide that for these younger players that will be playing varsity as a Raptor.
"I learned many things from the seniors before me, so being able to teach some of these players was great," Thomas said. "Plus, it's been a great summer playing with my varsity teammates one last time before college."
Leadership is an important skill to have on the legion team and both coaches, Josh Sharp for Woodbury and Aaron Rau from East Ridge, appreciate some of these seniors coming back and showing that leadership.
Danny Amundson from Woodbury and Austin Spude from East Ridge were also two seniors on each of the teams, but couldn't comment due to being away from the team for vacations and such.
"It's a great help for us coaches to have these seniors because they can help these younger players go through the legion season," Rau said. "Noah and Austin have been a huge help both on and off the field for this East Ridge legion team."
These five seniors were able to experience different weekend tournaments, three or four games a week and the chance to play at sub-state playoffs. For Woodbury, these three seniors were also able to experience winning sub-state and playing in the state tournament.
Horman said these players have the opportunity to win these tournaments and gain not only experience, but confidence heading into the spring varsity season.
As for the future of these two teams, each senior thinks it looks bright. They're excited to see what each player can bring to the varsity team next year and look forward to coming back next spring and seeing each baseball program grow with each season.
Sharp and Rau agreed they will not only miss these seniors on the legion team, but also on the upcoming varsity team. They know these five will have a great future, but they understand that this isn't the end and these players will come back and help other younger players.
"I'm excited to see where these players go and what they do in the future," Rau said. "They're great baseball players, but they're also great people. That will allow them to do so much in college and in life later on down the road.
"I just need to say thank you to the seniors for their help this legion season, but also for their time in the baseball program throughout high school."