ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: 19U Eau Claire Pizza Hut Legion team

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Each and every summer the 19-under Eau Claire Pizza Hut Legion team is one of the favorites to bring home a state title, and with a 15-3 record, that expectation is no different this summer. But how do they keep having success year after year?

You know being able to come together in the summer is defenitely something to look forward to," Eau Claire Regis' Paul Petit said. "While we may be opponents in the spring, we all like to come together."

"It's great to see these best guys from all the teams around Eau Claire playing their best ball with you," Eau Claire Memorial's Lukas Gobrecht added.

"To be on a team that's looked at as highly as we are, it means a lot that we can come out and put on a show every weekend," Elk Mound's Trey Mohr said.

Pitching, hitting, defense; it's the baseball trifecta and Eau Claire is loaded with talent at each point.

"Knowing that if you're hitting in a slump or if you're not having your best outing on the mound that there's a guy behind you who's just as capable of doing the same thing," Petit explained.

"Oh definitely, it's a lot of fun knowing that there are players can go out every single day and do what you do," Eau Claire North's Zac Stange said. "They can match what you do and pick you up when you don't have your best games."

"No matter who your pitching, no matter who's up to bat, you know they can get the job done on any given night," Mohr added.

Combining the talent from the Eau Claire area means blending a roster filled with rivalry; North vs. Memorial for instance. But If you think that affects the kids, think again.

Gobrecht said, "The rivalry just goes away during the summer because we just want to have fun and play the best ball you can with your teammates that are now with you and not against you."

"Overall it's a good time, and we know that what we have is pretty special so we don't really want to ruin that," Stange said.

"I mean growing up in little league, you weren't playing for Memorial, North, or Regis, you were playing for your town, for Eau Claire," Petit added.

Even those from the smaller schools have made an impact, like Immanuel's Levi Schaller and Elk Mound's Mohr.

"Well, it feels like you have something to prove right from the start but the players and coaches are all so accepting," Mohr said. "It's great because the relationships you make with these kids last for years."

"It's really cool because they're guys that we wouldn't build relationships with if it wasn't for baseball," Stange added. "It brings us together."

This group won the 17-under state title two years ago, and now in their final year, they have just one task left to accomplish.

"Being able to cap it off with another state championship at 19U legion would definitely be something special," Petit concluded.

Eau Claire will compete in the Class AAA regional next week in La Crosse.

Reporting in Eau Claire, Chance Dickman for SportScene 13.



 
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