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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Sikeston Junior Legion gearing up for new season

Friday, May 25, 2012

sports@standard-democrat.com

SIKESTON -- With a new coach and a host of experience, the Sikeston Junior Legion Auxiliary Unit 114 baseball team is ready for the 2012 summer season.

As the team's first time coach, Matt Johnson takes over the 19-man roster.

"We believe that we will be competitive," Johnson said. "We have a lot of talented kids and most of them played on a successful Sikeston jayvee team this season.

"We've going to play aggressive and have fun. Hopefully, the winning will follow."

Johnson, alongside assistant coach Craig Templeton, isn't a stranger when it comes to the players he'll have to work with this summer.

On top of taking over the junior legion squad, Johnson is also a Sikeston Junior High football and track coach.

Such players that Johnson has worked with are Nathan Hampton and Austin Brown. Hampton was Johnson's quarterback during football season and Brown ran track under Johnson just this past season.

"This group is a really good group and I really like them," Johnson said. "There's a lot of the same kids from football and track."

Most of Johnson's Unit 114 roster stems from the Sikeston junior varsity team.

Colton Hampton, Jordan Griggs, Cody Rodgers, John Foster, as well as many others, saw significant time on the junior varsity roster this spring and have spent countless seasons playing side by side over the years.

"We're really going to have some experienced players. That's going to help a ton," said Johnson. "With Legion ball, a lot of the practice time is already in. Now, it's just fine-tuning and playing ball."

Although he does have knowledge of the game, Johnson will lean on the experience of Senior Legion head coach Alan Scheeter if needed.

"I'm going to utilize my resources as far as coach Scheeter and those guys," Johnson said. "I'm going to use the knowledge that I have, but if I have any questions I know I can go to them."

The junior legion season began Thursday night as part of a tournament in Jackson.

"I'm really looking forward to it and seeing what the kids got," Johnson said. "I'm very excited and I think we're going to do alright."