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Bellevue West's Legion team has had an 'outstanding summer' — but it can still get better
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Bellevue West's Legion team has had an 'outstanding summer' — but it can still get better

A 49-2 record in American Legion play this summer can’t be ignored, but DC Electric coach Jason Shockey says it’s time to hit the reset button.

The team from Bellevue West has had one of its most successful Legion seasons to this point, but a new season starts Saturday. That’s when the 16-team Class A state tournament begins at two sites — Omaha Westside and Lincoln’s Den Hartog Field.

“It’s been a great summer so far,” Shockey said. “But we’re looking at the task at hand and how we still have some goals we want to achieve.”

The Thunderbirds, competing in the American Division at Westside, will begin play in the double-elimination event at 4 p.m. against Gretna. It will be the third of four first-round games Saturday.

Four National Division games will be contested Saturday at Den Hartog.

DC Electric returned almost its entire roster from the spring, when Bellevue West finished third at state. The Thunderbirds lost 6-5 in the semifinals against Millard South, which won the championship.

“There’s definitely some motivation there,” Shockey said. “Some of these guys have been in our program since they were freshmen so they want this season to be special.”

It’s already been a special summer. The lone setbacks for the Thunderbirds were an early-season loss against the 52's Patriots (Millard South) and a late-season loss against Pinnacle Bank (Papillion-La Vista).

DC Electric refocused to go 4-0 in the A-1 area tournament to earn a ticket to state.

Much like in the spring, a strong pitching staff has been a key to success. Returning starters Jaxon Jelkin, Dane Toman and Jack Bland are a combined 23-1.

Robert Wood, Ryan Sullivan, Daniel Lester and Tyler Kephart also have made solid contributions on the mound.

Offensively, the Thunderbirds are hitting .370 as a team. Leading the way are Connor Schneider (.440) and Carson Wright (.420), while three others — Gage Allen, Cam Madsen and Tyler Vanderwerken — aren’t far behind.

“Across the board it’s been an outstanding summer,” Shockey said. “But we don’t talk too much about the record. We just go out and try to take care of business.”

The coach also talked about the strength of the 16-team state tourney field. Among the squads that came up short were Millard South, Millard North, Elkhorn South, Ralston, Elkhorn, Lincoln Pius X, Lincoln Southwest, Grand Island Home Federal and Kearney Runza.

“A lot of solid teams didn’t make it,” Shockey said. “That shows the quality of play here in Nebraska.”

The other first-round games at Westside on Saturday are JC Brager (Lincoln Southeast) vs. Prime Time Sporting Goods (Omaha Burke), 10 a.m.; Hastings Five Points Bank vs. Omaha Five Points Bank (Creighton Prep), 1 p.m.; and KB Building Services (Westside) vs. Papillion-La Vista South, 7 p.m.

The division finals of the double-elimination tourneys will be played Wednesday, with the winners advancing to the best-of-three state final. That champion will move on to the Mid-South Regional in Hastings.

“Everybody will be starting out even on Saturday,” Shockey said. “It’s a cliché, but you just need to take them one game at a time.”

The schedules

American Division (at Omaha Westside)

Saturday: JC Brager (Lincoln Southeast) vs. Prime Time Sporting Goods (Omaha Burke), 10 a.m.; Hastings Five Points Bank vs. Omaha Five Points Bank (Creighton Prep), 1 p.m.; DC Electric (Bellevue West) vs. Gretna, 4 p.m.; KB Building Services (Westside) vs. Papillion-La Vista South, 7 p.m.

Sunday: Losers bracket games at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; winners bracket games at 4 and 7.

Monday: Losers bracket games at 1 p.m. and 4; winners bracket game at 7.

Tuesday: Games at 4 p.m. and 7.

Wednesday: Championship, 5 p.m. (a second game to follow, if necessary).

National Division (at Den Hartog, Lincoln)

Saturday: Carpet Land (Lincoln East) vs. Pinnacle Bank (Papillion-La Vista), 10 a.m.; North Platte First National Bank vs. Arbor Bank (Omaha Skutt), 1 p.m.; Millard Sox Black vs. Fremont First State Bank, 4; Anderson Ford (Lincoln North Star) vs. Wolfe Electric (Millard West), 7.

Sunday: Losers bracket games at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; winners bracket games at 4 and 7.

Monday: Losers bracket games at 1 p.m. and 4; winners bracket game at 7.

Tuesday: Games at 4 p.m. and 7.

Wednesday: Championship, 4 p.m. (a second game to follow, if necessary).


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Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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