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Legion Baseball: Sacred Heart/MACCRAY declines regional invitation

Scarlets look at Waupun, Wis., tournament as an invitational

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Sacred Heart/MACCRAY's Jaxon Behm went 4 of 5 with four RBI and scored three runs to help the Scarlets defeat Tri-Town 11-0 in the 2021 Division II American Legion championship game on Sunday, August 1, 2021 at Sacred Heart Ballpark. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune.

The Division II American Legion State Champion Sacred Heart/MACCRAY baseball team announced Monday it has declined its invitation to travel to Waupun, Wisconsin, to compete in the Division II Central Plains Regional tournament.

Merely 24 hours after defeating Tri-Town 11-0 at Sacred Heart Ballpark, the Scarlets made the decision to withdraw from the regional tournament with the feeling that it was rather an invitational tournament than a regional.

The tournament will consist of four Wisconsin teams, three Minnesota teams and one team from North Dakota. In past years, teams from South Dakota, Kansas and Nevada have been in the tournament.

“If it was going to be a true regional with Nevada, Kansas, North Dakota and Wisconsin, I’d jump at it in a hurry,” Scarlet coach Steve Agre said. “But I said to them, ‘I can’t justify spending the money on getting the bus, hotel and everything for basically an invitational tournament.’

“It’s a lot of money to try and fundraise and expect people to drive that far for a tournament like that. I just couldn’t justify doing that.”

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With states such as Kansas returning to school in early August, and fall sports beginning preparation for the upcoming season, Roger Mathison, a contact for the Wisconsin American Legion Baseball League, says the slight decline in teams began prior to the COVID pandemic.

“Kansas has dropped out the past couple years because their schools start the first of August in Kansas now,” Mathison said. “So we’ve kind of gone down to Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota for this area.”

In terms of the COVID pandemic, Mathison says the tournaments have functioned as they have in past years.

“After losing [the legion tournaments] last year, it got to be a little difficult with a lot of uncertainty, so our numbers are slightly down from last year. But overall it’s been pretty good. We’re running like we normally have,” he said.

WIth Sacred Heart/MACCRAY declining the invitation, Tri-Town, the second-place team, was then invited to take its place.

Tri-Town declined.

“The three captains on the team, plus about four or five other players, and both coaches didn’t think we should go out there after how we played against Sacred Heart,” Tri-Town manager David Kingery said.

The regional tournament is scheduled to begin Friday, and concludes Sunday in Waupun, a city of about 11,000 located about 70 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

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Sacred Heart/MACCRAY coach Steve Agre hugged his players after having received his 2021 Division II American Legion Baseball state championship medal on Sunday, August 1, 2021, at Sacred Heart Ballpark. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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