Photo by Bill Roseberry
Twin City’s Logan Reardon connects with a pitch at Babe Champion Field in Granite City against the Warriors’ SLABA team. Twin City went a whopping 27-3 during a solid campaign.
Manager Dave Ufert saw it early on; he knew his Twin City baseball team was going to be good, but when he first saw them together on the field for a game, he knew he had a special group.
That special group finished with a 27-3 record and only lost in tournament championship games over the summer. Twin City played as an independent American Legion team, garnering sponsorship from South Roxana American Legion Post 1167.
“The boys had a good year. We had a lot of fun,” Ufert said. “We lost a lot of games due to rain, but were still able to get 30 in. The boys had a good summer, up and down every one of them had a good year.
“It started with our first game when we had everybody there. When all the players on the team were there, after that first game we were thinking, ‘Wow, we could have a pretty special summer this year.’ The Southwestern boys missed our first game of the year because they were still playing in the sectional. Once we got them there, we played our first 10 games and we were 9-1 and our only loss was to New Baden in a one-run, 10-inning game. We knew we were going to be pretty special and had a chance to have a good run.”
That run started with solid pitching, which formed a foundation to build on for Twin City. Led by 2014 Roxana grad Nelson Martz, 2015 Roxana grad Logan Reardon and ‘15 Southwestern product Spencer Heineman, they were a force to be reckoned with.
Heineman was 7-0 in a team-high 52 innings pitched with minuscule 0.36 ERA, 65 strikeouts and just five walks. Reardon was 6-0 in 42 innings pitched to accompany a 1.21 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 10 walks. Martz went 5-0 in 29 innings, produced a 1.51 ERA and fanned 30 while walking six.
“It all starts with pitching and that’s pretty much with every team,” Ufert said. “If you don’t have good pitching, it’s going to be a long summer. We were fortunate to have those three at the top. We had (Andrew) Fry and (Blake) Marks also throwing and Tanner Davis and Josh Rudd helped us out quite a bit this summer.”
While the arms were solid, the bats and the defense weren’t too shabby either. A slew of solid outfielders, including Blake Vandiver anchoring center field, tracked balls down while second baseman Randy Skiff, shortstop Blake Lawson and third baseman Blake Marks vacuumed up grounders on the infield.
“We had five, six solid outfielders and then Marks is a shortstop at Wood River, but he’s a heck of a third baseman. He does a great job over there and has good range,” Ufert said. “You couldn’t ask for a better shortstop in Lawson. We really improved at that position picking him up. Randy Skiff at second, he made one error all year and that was in the third-to-last game of the season.”
At the plate Marks was fantastic, leading the team in batting average (.435), doubles (10) and RBIs (30). He also had three triples, nine stolen bases and 18 runs scored.
Joining the soon-to-be senior at East Alton-Wood River as key contributors to the lineup were: Vandiver (.361, seven 2Bs, three 3Bs, 14 SBs, 29 runs,), Skiff (.355, seven 2Bs, 21 RBIs, seven SBs, 26 runs), Lawson (.388, nine 2Bs, two 3Bs, 25 RBIs, seven SBs, 26 runs), Heineman (.350, eight 2Bs, four 3Bs, nine SBs), Reardon (.341, seven 2Bs, two 3Bs, 16 RBIs, 12 SBs), Adam Moore (.290, three 2Bs, 14 RBIs), Andrew Fry (.328, three 2Bs, 10 RBIs), Tanner Davis (.333, five 2Bs, 11 RBIs) and Blake Weishaupt (.315, three 2Bs, 15 RBIs).
Weishaupt, an EA-WR player, handled the grueling duties behind the plate for the summer.
“Blake Weishaupt caught every inning but two this summer,” Ufert said. “He did a fantastic job with our pitching staff.”
Ufert was ecstatic with the team he was able to put on the field. Even though rivalries between EA-WR, Roxana and Southwestern can get heated during the prep season, the summer saw a team overflowing with chemistry and camaraderie.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better group of hard-working boys,” Ufert said. “Every player showed up every day ready to play and do what was necessary to make us successful. There were some hot and wet days out there this summer and our players were ready no matter what the weather was doing.”
With the ages of the players, Twin City looks to find even more success next year. Ufert said they will be back at it next summer after the respective prep and college seasons with a lot of the same faces.
“We will be a 19U team next year like the senior legion teams are,” Ufert said. “We were awfully young for a senior legion team. The only 19-year-old we had was Nelly Martz, so everybody is able to come back next year except him. We plan on playing some legion tournaments and there are some 19U tournaments in St. Louis and Kansas City that we’ll travel to and we’ll still schedule all the legion teams we can in the area from District 22 and 23.”
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