Full American Legion baseball season begins
The first night of full-league play for the Second Coulee Region American Legion Baseball League season will occur this Monday, with 16 of the league’s 19 varsity teams and all 16 of the league’s 16 Junior Legion teams in action.
League play has already begun, with the first night of full-league play for the Junior Legion Division occurring this past Thursday.
Nineteen teams will play in two varsity divisions. The Jim Mason Division, named after the former longtime Viroqua coach and 1986 inductee to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame who passed away in the fall of 2011, will include 10 teams, Bi-State (Luther HS players), Gays Mills (North Crawford HS players), Genoa-De Soto-Stoddard, La Crescent, Minn., the La Crosse A’s (underclassmen from Aquinas), the La Crosse North Stars (primarily Logan players), the La Crosse Raiders (primarily underclassmen from Central), Prairie du Chien, Westby and Viroqua. The Don Halverson Division, named after the former longtime Black River Falls coach, will include Arcadia, Bangor, Cochrane-Fountain City, Black River Falls, Holmen, Onalaska, Sparta, Tomah and West Salem.
Bi-State has been moved from the Halverson Division to the Mason Division this season. The La Crosse A’s are fielding both varsity and Junior Legion teams this year after having just a Junior Legion team last season. Cochrane-Fountain City will play in the varsity division this year after having just a Junior Legion team last season. Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau was unable to get enough players to have both a varsity and Junior Legion team this season; they’ll play only at the Junior Legion level this season. Their scheduled varsity opponents will receive a forfeit for league standing purposes.
The league also features a Junior Legion Division of 16 teams. Each of the varsity teams listed above will also have junior teams, other than Arcadia, Bangor, Cochrane-Fountain City, Gays Mills and Genoa-De Soto-Stoddard. Cashton and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau will play in the Junior Legion division only.
The varsity divisions will play each team in their own 10-team division for nine games, along with three crossover games against teams from the other division, with all 12 games counting in the league standings. The Junior Legion divisions will play each team in their own division for seven games, along with four crossover games against teams from the other division, with all 11 games counting in the league standings. Westby is the defending Mason Division champion. Holmen is the defending Halverson Division champion. West Salem is the defending Junior Legion champion.
The Junior Legion divisions are new this year due to having an even number of teams. The Junior Legion divisions have been named after Ken Trott and Chuck Hockenbery. Trott is a former longtime Westby coach and 1983 inductee into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame who is still an assistant regional director in Legion ball. Hockenbery began Onalaska’s program in 1990 and coached there for 11 seasons, leading the program to a state championship in 1991, state championship games in 1992 and 1994, and a state third-place finish in 1998. He pitched for the California Angels in 1975 and still resides in Onalaska.
Teams were welcome to add a second game to their scheduled league dates to create a doubleheader. If a second game is being played, only the first game of the two will count in the league standings.
There will be web pages dedicated to the league on the Mississippi Valley Conference website at http://www.gomvc.org/CouleeRegionLegion.htm. There will also be a league Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CouleeRegionLegion. The web pages contain composite schedules for all four divisions, complete team schedules including non-league and tournament games for those programs that submitted them, a directory of league coaching and administrative personnel, field locations/directions for each of the league teams and a set of league rules.