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VFW baseball: Coach wants mental toughness

Farmington VFW second baseman Jake Baskerville throws to first base for an out during a recent home game against Prior Lake. Post 7662 went 1-3 at the Burnsville Tournament last weekend.

Farmington VFW Post 7662 coach Jared Rowan knows his team has the talent to put together a successful season. But he said the first thing his players need to do is learn how to forget about their past failures.

Post 7662 came away with one win in four games last weekend at the Burnsville Tournament at Alimagnet Park. After opening with a competitive 5-3 loss to Eau Claire, Farmington folded early in a 16-4 loss to host Burnsville.

Post 7662 rebounded for a 10-9 victory over a talented Woodbury team Saturday night, but closed out the tournament Sunday with a 14-4 setback against Wayzata.

"I would say the biggest thing for this team -- obviously errors kill us and we need to clean those up -- is we're not mentally tough," Rowan said. "They're really talented kids -- they beat one of the most talented teams (Woodbury) in the tournament and they played Eau Claire tough -- but one bad at bat carries with them the rest of the game. They just need to have shorter memories and move on. They just need to forget the other stuff and keep playing baseball."

The pitching combination of Jack Buss and Jake Baskerville gave Post 7662 a chance against Eau Claire in the opener. Buss allowed four runs over five innings and Baskerville held Eau Claire to one run over the final two frames, but the Farmington offense couldn't muster a rally.

All three Post 7662 runs came across in the third inning. Baskerville led off by being hit by a pitch and scored the first run on a Ty Vincent double. Nate Graham followed with an RBI single and Ryan Schoening's ground out made it 3-1.

Burnsville took control early in the tournament's second game, scoring nine first-inning runs against Vincent while being hit by three pitches and drawing three walks.

Baskerville came on in relief and allowed four more runs over the next 2 2/3 innings before the game ended by 10-run rule.

Post 7662 showed some resolve in Game 3, plating four runs in the first and four more in the third to take an 8-7 lead.

Baskerville, Vincent, Graham and Buss started the game with four straight singles and Schoening and Drew Hegseth followed with run-scoring hits that made it 4-1.

Schoening and Hegseth started the third with two more singles and back-to-back errors scored two runs before Vincent's double gave Post 7662 the lead.

Farmington added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth when John Stibal drove in a run with a single and Schoening smacked an RBI ground out. The insurance runs came in handy as Woodbury plated two runs in the top of the seventh to crawl within 10-9.

Hegseth worked all seven innings and allowed nine runs (six earned) to pick up the win.

With its pitching staff depleted from the long weekend, Post 7662 allowed runs in all six innings in a 14-4 loss to Wayzata.

Buss and Stibal each had two hits.