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Larned Legion faces early test
larned team1
Larned's American Legion baseball team.


WAUPUN, Wis. — An 11 a.m. baseball game after a 820-mile journey is a challenging combination.
The odds are stacked against Class AA state champion Larned (18-11) against Wisconsin runner-up Viroqua (31-18) at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Central Plains Class AA Baseball Regional. Viroqua’s trip is much shorter — 130 miles.
Viroqua defeated Wisconsin champion Waupun 3-0, but lost to Waupaun 4-2 and 12-7 in the Wisconsin championship games at Prairie Du Chien, Wis.
Larned coach Chad Erway said he has no guess how his team will perform after spending two days in a vehicle.
“It’s a major challenge. When everyone’s on their own and stagnant for two days, you know you’ll have to fight that feeling of being lethargic,” Erway said. “You’ve love to bottle that energy. Fortunately, we’re not playing ice hockey. We’re playing baseball.”
Larned has won nine consecutive games, rallying in the late innings in several games.
“Our recent history tells me this baseball team has the right mix to do what it takes to win games,” he said. “We’ve played in big baseball games and enjoyed success.”
Ace pitcher Isiah Perez will start the opener, likely followed by crafty Landon Erway.
“It usually comes down to good pitching, and I know Izzy will keep us in the ballgame,” he said. “I expect a low-scoring game.”
Erway has spent time in making sure everyone had transportation and wanted parents and relatives to make a safe journey.
“The community’s support has been unbelievable,” he said. “That’s been the best part.”
Larned captured the Class AA Central Plains Regional in 1999, beating Nekoosa, Wis. 7-3 in the finals. Larned beat Nashwuk-Keewatin, Minn. 14-4, Pratt 4-3 and Lincoln County 8-0 to reach the finals. Nekoosa defeated Larned 16-12 in their first meeting. Larned coach David Brown led a team featuring Rusty Brown, Kevin Smith, Nick Perez, Tim Walker, Lance Schartz, Mark Damm and Casey Morrison.
Larned finished as 1999 Class AA state runner-up to Pratt, losing 11-3 and 13-11 in the championship games.
Larned finished with a 3-2 regional record in 2000 and a 4-2 record in 2008. Ottawa won the 2002 regional. Baxter Springs won the regional titles in 2003 and 2004.

11 a.m.—Larned (18-11) vs. Viroqua, Wis. (31-18)

1:30 p.m.—Glenwood-Lowry, Minn. (18-3) vs. Southern Nevada Blue Sox (23-12)
4 p.m.—Minneapolis Giant Valley, Minn. (16-7) vs. Menesha, Wis. (27-4)
7:30 p.m.—Wapaun, Wis. (24-6) vs. Valley City, N.D. (20-25)


LARNED (18-11)—Larned 8-1 Beloit; Larned 8-0 Concordia; Larned 11-0 Russell; Larned 4-3 Marysville; Larned 10-0 Goodland; Larned 7-6 Doniphan County; Larned 14-3 Russell
VIROQUA, WIS. (31-18)—Viroqua 11-3 Westby Viroqua 8-1 Bi-State; Viroqua 4-2 Prairie Du Chien; Viroqua 11-4 Prairie Du Chien; Virogua 3-0 Waupun; Virogua 5-1 West Salem; Viroqua 6-0 Prairie Du Chien; Wapaun 4-2 Viroqua; Waupun Waupun 12-7 Viroqua
GLENWOOD LOWRY, MINN.—Glenwood-Lowry 2-0 Pilworth; Glenwood-Lowry 1-0 Pierz; Glenwood-Lowry 8-3 Pierz; Giant valley 3-2 Glenwood-Lowry
Larned at Class AA Regional
SOUTHERN NEVADA BLUE SOX (23-12)—Blue Sox 12, Desert Oasis; Blue Sox 4, Sierra Vista; Blue Sox 7-1 Desert Oasis
MINNEAPOLIS GIANT VALLEY—Giant Valley 6-1 Adrian; Giant Valley 10-2 Waterton; Giant Valley 11-1 LeSueur-Henderson; Giant Valley 3-2 Glenwood-Lowry
MENASHA, WIS. (27-4)—Menasha 8-0 New London; Menasha 9-1 Hortonville; Menasha 10-1 Hortonville; Menasha 7-0 Wisconsin Dells; Menasha 5-1 Waterford; Menasha 13-5 Antigo; Wisconsin Dells 9-6 Menasha
Menasha 6-4 Waterford
WAUPUN, WIS. (24-6)—Viroqua 3-0 Waupun; Waupun 10-7 Oconto Falls; Waupun 4-3 Altoona; Waupun 4-2 Viroqua; Waupun 4-3 Prairie De Chien; Waupun 12-7 Viroqua
VALLEY CITY, N.D. (20-25)—Valley City 3-0 Velva; Valley City 3-0, Bismarck; Valley City 7, Wahpeton; Valley City 7-5 Buelah; Valley City 5-4 Wahpeton
SOUTHERN NEVADA BLUE SOX (23-12)—Blue Sox 12, Desert Oasis; Blue Sox 4, Sierra Vista; Blue Sox 7-1 Desert Oasis

1999—4-1; Central Plains Regional champion

MINNESOTA—Sacred Heart 2000; Jordan 2005, 2006, 2007; Eden Valley-Watkins 2011; Lacrescent 2013, plato 2014, Foley 2015
KANSAS—Larned 1999; Ottawa, 2002, Baxter Springs 2003, 2004
Nevada—Las Vegas Legacy, 2008; Faith Lutheran, 2009, 2010
WISCONSIN—Berlin, 2001
NORTH DAKOTA—Wahpeton, 2012
Home team winners—Ottawa, 2002; Wahpeton, 2012
2002—Ottawa beat Scott City in finals

WISCONSIN—Nekoosa 1999; Ripon, 2000; Manawa 2003; Denmark, 2006; Clintonville, 2007; Waupun, 2013, 2014; Wisconsin Dells, 2015
MINNESOTA—Morris 2001, Sebeka, 2004; Jordan, 2008; Ely, 2012
KANSAS—Scott City, 2002; Silver Lake, 2005; Pratt, 2010
NEVADA—Las Vegas Pahrump Valley, 2011
NORTH DAKOTA—Lamoure, 2009