American Legion baseball established the rule that a game is concluded if a team has a 10-run lead after five innings of play. It was designed to be merciful to teams that are considered unable to return from such a deficit. It almost appears for the Hazen Astros team, however, to be more of a goal than a merciful concession.
Justin Heldstab is in his final year of eligibility for American Legion baseball. The former Mandan player has led the Hazen team as their number two pitcher in the rotation this season. But his younger brother Jeremy is looking to keep the Heldstab tradition strong in the Astros bullpen.
Over the course of a season, coaches try to ingrain habits into their players so their body is ready to just instinctively react when a situation calls for it. Unfortunately for the Hazen American Legion baseball team, bad habits are learned the same way – and often are much more difficult to break.
The third annual Jeff Gustafson Memorial Hockey Camp attracted 75 players to the Hazen All-Seasons Arena last week. But besides lacing up their skates and scoring goals, campers were reminded of the man who gave his passion and smile to continuing the support of hockey in the community.
Baseball is a daily game. Each inning can change, every pitch could be different than the last. That’s what head coach Mike Lorenzano is banking on as the Hazen American Legion team needs to make a few adjustments. After a little schedule rearranging last week, the Astros move their record to 1-5, after dropping a pair at home to Washburn last Thursday.
Last year Mike Lorenzano faced several headaches in his first year as head coach of the Hazen American legion team. Short on available players, the Astros were forced to forfeit a few too many games coming down to the end of the regular season because their roster was stretched too thin between legion and Babe Ruth leagues.
Brothers Brent and Brian Sorensen are creatures of the same habits. When it comes to track the pair run almost identical patterns, from the way they warm up to the way they cross the finish line. But now the younger sibling can finally have his name one place higher in the school record books. Brian, who graduated in 2008, set the 400-meter dash record for Hazen High School during his senior season as he crossed the finish line in 50.13 seconds. Last Saturday, with near perfect sprinting conditions, Brent thrust his chest over the finish line one-tenth of a second faster than his brother to set a new standard for Bison sprinters. The new record to beat in the 400 is 50.03.
The first year Leland Opp was the head track and field coach in Hazen he learned a tough lesson as the Bison took second in the region in 1990. He didn’t care much for the taste of defeat. Nineteen years later, Opp hasn’t been reminded of that day as the Lady Bison claimed their 19th Region 5 team championship last Saturday.
Weather and injuries have plagued the already worn nerves of the Beulah-Hazen baseball team this spring. Their greatest enemy however, has not been the team in the different colored jerseys, but that elusive strike zone. With a depleted pitching staff of mostly first-timers, the Miners haven’t found much consistency in the strike column.