VFW team starts state tourney

Published 9:17 am Thursday, August 7, 2008

Albert Lea VFW Post 447 will make its first appearance since 1977 at this year’s state baseball tourney in Perham.

While it has been a long absence for the Tigers from the state tourney, Eddie Bellrichard will be making a return trip, this time as one of the assistant coaches.

Thirty some years ago, it was Ed Bellrichard, a shortstop making a trip to the VFW state tourney. This time around, coach Bellrichard will hope to see this year’s VFW team continue to play the best ball of the year.

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“It will take a total team effort throughout the lineup, not only at bat but in the field,” Bellrichard said. “Each teammate has to be there for the other. If a mistake is made, the others need to pick them up and keep their head in the game.”

Coach Bellrichard will also be watching his son, J.T. Bellrichard, start at second base as the family puts its mark on VFW baseball.

It’s about the friendships that are made playing baseball that Bellrichard most remembers from his playing days.

He looks forward to seeing the tournament through his son J.T.’s eyes. A shared memory that few families can realize.

Father-son combinations are not in short supply on this team. Pitcher/first baseman Aaron Klatt is also closely monitored by assistant coach and father Dave Klatt.

Another father-son combination on the field is led by head coach Jack Kortan.

Connor Kortan picks up duties in the outfield and Carter Kortan shores up the Tigers infield at shortstop. Coach Kortan sees the Tigers success in the tourney as a continuation of the strong play that brought the team through a tough District tourney.

Kortan plans to give Jordan Cooper the nod on the mound.

“Every pitch and every play counts,” Kortan said.

Kortan instructed his team noting that it takes more than a one game effort to become champion at the tournament.

A solid performance from the pitching staff will be key with strong supporting defense.

“I know we may not be able to play the perfect game, be we need to make the plays that need to be made,” Kortan said.

Post 447 enjoyed Wednesday night’s opening ceremony and looks to start strong against host team Perham Thursday at 10 a.m.