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Lombard Ready For Stan Musial North Central Regional

August 5, 2010

Some of the best amateur baseball talent in the Midwest will descend upon Battle Creek as the Stan Musial North Central Regional kicks off today and runs through Sunday at Bailey Park.

Wisconsin State League

The road to the Stan Musial World Series in Houston, Texas is paved with corn flakes.

Some of the best amateur baseball talent in the Midwest will descend upon Battle Creek as the Stan Musial North Central Regional kicks off today and runs through Sunday at Bailey Park.

Director of baseball operations for Battle Creek Parks and Recreation Terry Newton lauded the talented field of teams in the tournament.

“We’re very happy for the field of teams in the 76th North Central Regional,” Newton said. “Hopefully fans will come out and enjoy some great baseball.”

The tournament begins with four games tonight, starting at 6 p.m.

As for local teams, Behnke’s and the B.C. Merchants will be back in action as they face each other in a first-round game tonight at 8:15 p.m. at Nichols Field.

Behnke’s qualified for the tournament by winning the Stan Musial division city tournament, sweeping the Merchants in a best-of-3 playoff.

“Our expectations are to win every tournament,” Behnke’s coach Dave Larson said. “We’ve just got to get through the first game and hopefully we’ll make it to the end.”

Behnke’s tuned up for the regional by winning the World Baseball Congress Nationals in Portland, Indiana this past weekend.

“Timely hits, good defense and good pitching win ball games,” Larson said. “We’re good ballplayers, we’re veterans and we’ve got a good group of kids. I’m hoping that we’re where we need to be.”

The journey for the B.C. Merchants, who finished second in the Musial city playoffs, has been slightly different as they had to qualify in the Musial state tournament in Battle Creek last weekend.

Merchants coach Jack McCulley is happy to have qualified for the regional, but expects for the level of competition to be stiff.

“This is a real tough tournament,” McCulley said. “Everybody is going to give their best effort to try and turn in a great performance. We’re just going to take it one out at a time; one inning at a time.”

Also qualifying for the regional are the Michigan Area Braves from Saginaw, Flint Borden’s Pharmacy, Peanut Barrell of East Lansing, the Kalamazoo Mariners, Vee Pak Hawks (Wisconsin) and the three-time defending North Central Regional champion Lombard Orioles (Illinois).

“We’ve been doing this for about 20 years,” Vukovich said. “We don’t have quite the Lombard rock em’, sock em’ rotation that we’ve had in the past, but this is one of the better offensive teams I’ve had.”

The Michigan Braves will be playing in their first regional tournament and Coach Jim Kosmerick is hoping that his team can grapple with some of the more experienced teams in the tournament.

“We’re looking to come out and compete and stay in the game,” Kosmerick said. “Sometimes it just takes a little luck.”

Newton encourages fans to come out to the ballpark to take in some of the best premier talent that amateur baseball has to offer.

“It’s a real balanced field of teams,” Newton said. “Hopefully fans will come out and enjoy great baseball.”

Story by: Battle Creek Enquirer

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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