WEBSTER CITY - This isn't the first rodeo for many of the players. They've been there, done that.
Now they just want to do it a little better.
The Webster City Little League All-Stars will take part in the Junior Division State Tournament for the second straight season when play gets underway here on Saturday. Quite a few of the players took part last summer when the squad dipped to 1-3 at the state tourney when it was held in Urbandale, and volunteer head coach Chad Vogelbacher says last year's disappointment has turned into motivation.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
The Webster City Little League All-Stars will take part in the Little League Junior State Tournament, beginning on Saturday in Webster City. Team members include (front row, left to right) Riley Mishler, Landon Daniels, Ty Schnathorst, Collin Oswald, (back) Jordan Moen, Alec Fuhs, Drew Fielder, Colt Richardson, Sean Vogelbacher and Avery Fuhs. Team members not pictured include Cory Keenan and Tanner Crouch.
"The guys that are repeats, last year will help them a lot," Vogelbacher said. "Last year we made some silly mistakes and let a couple of games get away from us, so this year we're just focusing on trying to put the other team on the defensive a little more. Our guys have the confidence that they can compete and win."
Webster City, which represents District 1, will be joined in the Junior Division by teams from Dubuque (District 2), Urbandale (District 3), Indianola (District 5) and Sergeant Bluff (District 6).
Webster City will open up against Sergeant Bluff on Sunday at 6 p.m. The round-robin format will continue on Monday against Urbandale at 5:30 p.m., followed by a date with Indianola on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., and a confrontation with Dubuque on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Iowa State Little League Tournament
Saturday, July 21 through Thursday, July 26
Schedule of Games
Saturday, July 21
10 a.m. - (Senior) District 5 vs. District 3
12:30 - (Junior) District 5 vs. District 3
3:00 - (Senior) District 3 vs. District 6
5:30 - (Junior) District 2 vs. District 6
8:00 - (Senior) District 6 vs. District 5
Sunday, July 22
1:00 - (Senior) State Championship Game
*Winner moves onto the Regional Tournament in Peru Ill., Aug. 2-8
3:30 - (Junior) District 2 vs. District 5
6:00 - (Junior) District 1 (Webster City) vs. District 6
Monday, July 23
5:30 - (Junior) District 3 vs. District 1 (Webster City)
8:00 - (Junior) District 6 vs. District 5
5:30 - (Junior) District 1 (Webster City) vs. District 5
8:00 - District 3 vs. District 2
Wednesday, July 25
5:30 - (Junior) District 2 vs. District 1 (Webster City)
8:00 - (Junior) District 6 vs. District 3
Thursday, July 26
6:00 - (Junior) State Championship Game
*Winner moves onto the Regional Tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind., Aug. 3-9
The two teams with the best records will meet in the championship game Thursday evening at 6 p.m. for the right to advance to the regional tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind., Aug 3-9.
All games will take place at Lynx Field at the high school.
Webster City's roster includes a group of seventh- and eighth-graders - Riley Mishler, Ty Schnathorst, Collin Oswald, Jordan Moen, Landon Daniels, Sean Vogelbacher, Avery Fuhs, Alec Fuhs, Colt Richardson, Drew Fielder, Cory Keenan and Tanner Crouch. Chad Vogelbacher is assisted by Morrie O'Hearn.
The squad is comprised of the premier players from the local Little League. Coaches of the four teams - the Diamond Dogs, Outlaws, Rattlers and Naturals - voted players onto the team, and Vogelbacher thinks he's directing a group that has the tools necessary to compete.
"It's really exciting to host this and I think the kids are very excited to show what they can do," he said. "We have quality pitchers, we have really good fielding, and I think our hitting is outstanding. So I'm excited to see them on the field."
Webster City will use Richardson, Fielder and the Fuhs twins in starting roles on the mound during the four-game stretch. Each brings a certain skill set to the bump.
"Colt can intimidate some of the batters because he's a big guy, and he brings a nice, hard fastball that can put (hitters) on edge," Vogelbacher said. "Drew throws extremely hard, and he has a little bit of a side-arm delivery. And Alec and Avery are very traditional with what they bring. They both have good control and they're smart pitchers."
Richardson is the only southpaw on the staff.
"We have quality pitchers," Vogelbacher said. "They're four guys that can pitch whole games, and that's really key in Little League with pitch counts."
Webster City is the second-smallest community with an entrant behind Sergeant Bluff, so Vogelbacher knows his crew won't be the odds on favorite to advance. The teams from Urbandale, Indianola and Dubuque all have larger pools of players to choose from.
Also working as a bit of a disadvantage is the fact that Webster City wasn't forced to qualify for the tournament like the remainder of the field, which did so last week. Because it's hosting, Webster City was granted an automatic entry.
"They other teams got to play last week and we didn't, so we've just been working real hard this week trying to get ready," Vogelbacher said.
Webster City will also host the Senior Division State Tournament. Three teams will vie for that title on Saturday and Sunday with the winner moving on to the regional in Peru, Ill., early next month.