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Host Kimball/White Lake set for Class B VFW varsity teener tournament

WHITE LAKE--Eight teams will descend upon White Lake this weekend in search of the 2016 Class B VFW varsity teener state championship. The state tournament begins today with Platte-Geddes taking on Selby at noon. Emery takes on Baltic at 2:30 p.m...

WHITE LAKE-Eight teams will descend upon White Lake this weekend in search of the 2016 Class B VFW varsity teener state championship.

The state tournament begins today with Platte-Geddes taking on Selby at noon. Emery takes on Baltic at 2:30 p.m., Tyndall will face Leola-Frederick at 5:30 p.m., and Claremont and Kimball/White Lake play in the final first-round game at 8 p.m. The single-elimination tournament will conclude with the championship game at 6 p.m. Sunday in White Lake.

The hosts, Kimball/White Lake, have only lost one game this season, a rain-shortened game, in 17 games this season.

"Our pitching is very good," Kimball/White Lake head coach Robert Mohnen said. "We have a lot of speed and we're a very quick team. That makes us a good defensive team. We steal a lot of bases and we are smart baserunners."

Mohnen said heading into the state tournament as hosts gives his team an edge over the other seven teams competing.

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"It's a big advantage because these guys have played on this field for the last four years," Mohnen said. "They know how to read the ball on the field and they've made that throw on the field all summer. It's natural."

Mohnen added Kimball/White Lake has nine different pitchers and has players that can step up at any time. In its opening game against Claremont, Mohnen said the team will have to continue to play the way it has all season.

"The biggest thing will be error free," Mohnen said. "You have to hit the ball and play error free. When we do that, we're tough to beat."

Emery enters the Class B VFW varsity teener state tournament for the first time in town history, according to head coach Scott Schultz. Emery has a record of 12-6 and has lost two games to state tournament qualifier Tyndall this year.

"A key for any team at this level is strikes. Our pitchers have to throw strikes and let our defense help us," said Schultz, who added the team has seven pitchers. "We can't afford to put anyone on base with walks."

For the Platte-Geddes team, playing strong defense will be important.

"We lost a lot of games early in the season, but we really started gelling at the end of the year," said Platte-Geddes head coach Rob Hoffman, who added the team was fighting low numbers and had to pull up some junior teener players. "We have a good pitching staff and some good hitters, but our defense needs to sure-up if we're going to compete in this tournament. We've had too many errors all season, if we improve that, our pitching and hitting should keep us in most of the games."

Tyndall head coach Ross Kortan said his team has enjoyed a successful season thus far.

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"We've been solid all year," Kortan said. "Our pitching is pretty solid and our hitting is solid top to bottom. We've had a pretty good year."

Entering the state tournament against Leola-Frederick, Kortan said the team's starting pitching is good enough to make a run for the title.

"We need to throw strikes and play good defense," Kortan said. "I think our hitting will take care of itself."

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