The Twin City Senior Legion baseball team left St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis on June 5 all smiles.
Twin City, which is sponsored by South Roxana American Legion Post 1167 began its season by winning the 19-and-under division championship of the Greater Midwest Baseball School’s Out Bash. The squad played four games in one day and finished with a 3-0-1 record, including a 7-0 win over the Chatham Warriors in the championship game.
“It was pretty tiring, but you can’t get enough of the love of baseball,” said Blake Marks, a East Alton-Wood River High grad and one of Twin City’s players. “It was a pretty fun day all in all.”
Now, Twin City looks to finish with another strong season. The team returns most of its players from last year’s squad that finished 28-3.
“Our team is going to do pretty well,” said Marks, who has been playing with Twin City for three years. “Last year, we did fantastic. This year, we had the mindset that we’re all going to come out and win. Starting out and winning that tournament, I think we have high hopes for our team and we’re just going to keep winning.”
Twin City also had a 10-0 win over Kirkwood on June 6 at home.
Twin City finished with a 2-1 record and placed second to Salem in pool play in the Wooden Bat Tournament at New Baden on June 10-11. Twin City had wins over Belleville and Mount Vernon and lost to Aviston. Against Mount Vernon on Saturday, Marks delivered a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lead Twin City to a 4-3 win.
Twin City will now be competing in the Greater Midwest Baseball Regional Championship tournament, which is scheduled from Friday through Sunday at Bridgeton, Mo.
Twin City’s roster is comprised of players from East Alton-Wood River, Roxana and Southwestern. Marks, Blake Weisaupt and Hunter Hall are from EA-WR, Randy Skiff, Logan Reardon, Blake Vandiver, Tanner Davis and Josh Rudd are from Roxana and Blake Lawson, Zack Seymour, Alex Baldwin, Spencer Heinemann and Andrew Fry are from Southwestern High.
“This is the most unselfish group of players you could ever have,” Twin City coach David Ufert said. “Each and every one of them puts the team first. They sacrifice for each other and that’s what makes them so special.”
Rounding out the team are Howie Fisher from Rochester and Trent Jones from Granite City.
Jones is in his first summer playing with the Twin City baseball team. He led the Warriors in victories on the mound with three this spring.
”He came to a tryout for us,” Ufert said. “He threw the ball really well and we picked him up.”
This spring, Marks, Weisaupt and Hall helped EA-WR win a share of the South Central Conference championship with Nokomis with a 4-1 league record. Marks was the Oilers’ top hitter with a .515 batting average.
Vandiver was Roxana’s top hitter at .389 and Davis led the Shells in RBIs with 22. Skiff, Reardon and Rudd graduated from Roxana in 2015.
Seymour helped Southwestern finish with a 23-10 and win a Class 2A regional title. He hit .321 with a home run and 15 RBIs, earned first-team South Central Conference honors and plans to continue his baseball career at Illinois College next year.
Lawson, Heinemann, Fry and Baldwin graduated from Southwestern last year.
Marks was Twin City’s leading hitter last summer, batting .435 with 10 doubles and 30 RBIs. Vandiver, Skiff, Heinemann, Lawson, Reardon, Fry, Davis and Weishaupt hit over .300.
On the mound, Heinemann was 7-0 with a 0.36 ERA and Reardon was 6-0 with a 1.21 ERA.
Twin City has won 115 games in the last four seasons.
“We had a pretty good run,” Ufert said. “When you combine these two small schools, we put out a pretty good team. We’ve got a lot of good ballplayers out there. We’re playing big tournaments and a lot of bigger schools and we’re tiny compared to everybody else. For us to be able to compete and win the way we do is pretty impressive.”
Ufert said he was thrilled to see his team start the season with a tournament championship.
“They love playing,” the Twin City coach said. “We have fun. They have a good time. They’re hard-nosed kids who just want to play baseball and want to go out there and win baseball games. They’ve been playing together for a long time.”
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