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Important Community Project Faces Setback

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 18:08 AYBA
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If you are reading this article, you are probably among the thousands of community members and out-of-town guests who enjoy Ashland area high school and summer baseball and softball leagues – either as a player, a coach or a fan. You were probably delighted to see the construction beginning on the long-awaited fan plaza at Jack Anderson Ball Park. Like you, we were thrilled to see this important community project start taking shape.

Unfortunately, the city identified a potential problem with the site elevations that needed to be corrected. Despite their best effort, City personnel were unsuccessful in finding a resolution with the construction company and engineers. The city had no choice but to halt the project completely in October.

Members of the Ashland Youth Ball Association board attended the Jan. 8 Ashland City Council meeting to learn what was being done to resolve the issues. We were disheartened to learn that the City had essentially reached a stalemate with the engineering firm. We posed several solutions and offered to work with the City and the engineers to find alternatives in the coming weeks.

The Ashland Gazette published an article reporting on the discussion at the City Council meeting; we share our perspective on a few issues in 'Clarifications to Jan. 15 Ashland Gazette Article'.

As you sort through this information, please bear in mind the following facts: AYBA is a volunteer organization that operates summer ball programs for over 250 Ashland kids each year. In order to improve the quality of the programs, AYBA has led the fundraising for the four-phase ballpark redevelopment project, which seeks to bring the fields and facilities located at the City of Ashland's Jack Anderson Ball Park to current standards for communities of Ashland's size. Under a Letter of Understanding, AYBA collaborates with the City and School District to maintain the facilities at the park, assist with fundraising, and operate the youth ball program. Separately, an Interlocal Agreement defines the "operation, maintenance and development" of the ball fields as being solely the responsibility of the City and the School District. Importantly, while AYBA provides input on project requirements, and has through a group of affiliated volunteers provided fundraising toward improvement of the park, the organization is not an official party to construction or engineering contracts, and it is in fact required by the Letter of Understanding to transfer all funds raised to the City "prior to any work beginning on approved projects."

After researching construction alternatives, we do remain optimistic that all the partners on this project will be able to find a path forward that restarts construction, so the fan plaza is ready for summer leagues, if not for spring baseball. A path that demonstrates our collective, positive stewardship of our taxpayer and philanthropic dollars.

* an earlier version used the phrase "ballpark facilities and capital improvements;" that has been replaced with a direct quotation from the Interlocal Agreement.


State Tourney: Season Ends as Bennington Beats Pats 4-3

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2014 Platte Valley Patriots Senior Legion huddles under trees after being eliminated at state tournament in Blair
Platte Valley Patriots players huddle with coach Chris Williams after their state tournament exit on Monday afternoon in Blair.

The 2014 Senior Legion season ended short of the ultimate goal on Monday afternoon as the Platte Valley Patriots lost a hard-fought elimination game to Bennington by a final score of 4-3 at the Class B State American Legion tourney in Blair.

The Patriots were close all game, pulling out to a 3-1 lead by the top of the fourth. But the Pats did not score after that, while Bennington added one run each in the bottom halves of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to notch the final score.

Despite the loss, the Patriots are in good shape for next season. Pitching depth will be the question mark as both Jared Novotny and Nate Fisher have exhausted their Legion eligibility, along with Gavin Heusinkvelt. But the team returns a solid core in Luke Breitenfeldt, Bryce Chudomelka, Sam Crisler, Brody Elliot, Cody Feist, Zac Jones, Christian Kazos, Collin Lewis, Brandon O’Hara, Peyton Pearce, Jeb Vavak, Connor Worden and Wyatt Zaugg. The Patriots Legion program, like the school-season co-op, consists of players from Yutan, Mead and Ashland-Greenwood.

NOTE: In only its second year, the Platte Valley Patriots co-op Legion program won its district and played in the state tournament, while moving up to Class B. Yutan won the Class C state Legion championship in 2009. This season marked the first time in nearly 40 years that young men from Ashland competed in the state Legion tournament.

Monday's game stats on iScore.



State Tourney: Crete Beats Patriots 5-3

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The Platte Valley Patriots went up against a strong Crete team in the second round of the state Senior Legion tournament in Blair on Sunday evening, and came out on the short end, 5-3.

The Patriots will face Bennington at 2pm Monday at Veterans' Memorial Field in Blair. Bennington eliminated the tournament host Blair earlier on Sunday.

Sunday's game stats on iScore.



State Tourney: Patriots Open with 5-4 Win Over Albion

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The Platte Valley Patriots defeated a talented Albion squad in the first round of the state Senior Legion baseball tournament at Veterans' Memorial Stadium in Blair on Saturday.

The game was state tourney-worthy, with two good teams hitting the ball and making plays throughout. After yet another solid outing on the mound, Jared Novotny was relieved in the top of the seventh by Luke Breitenfelt, who pitched a scoreless final inning in a deadlocked game. With the game still tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh and with one out, Nate Fisher grounded toward short for what turned out to be a single after he won the race on a close play at first. Connor Worden was next up, and on the second pitch blasted a hard liner to deep center. Fisher hustled around the bags and after the dust cleared at home plate it was a 5-4 Patriot victory.

The Patriots will face Crete in the second round, at 5pm Sunday at Veterans' Memorial Field in Blair. Crete defeated Alliance 4-3 in nine innings in the second game of the tournament Saturday.

Relive Saturday's action and statistics on iScore.



Platte Valley Patriots Win Sr. Legion Area Championship

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2014 Platte Valley Patriots Senior Legion team photo after area championship win in Plattsmouth

The Platte Valley Patriots Senior team won the American Legion area championship on Tuesday night behind a strong pitching performance from Zac Jones and several innings of solid relief from Jared Novotny, defeating the host Plattsmouth Blue Devils by a final score of 3-1.

The Patriots once again relied on crisp defense to keep the competition at bay. Solid glove work in the infield and outfield contributed to the Patriots allowing just one run on a smattering of five Plattsmouth hits.

Throughout the tournament, opposing pitching and defense were stout, but the Patriots put up just enough offense to counter. Results of other tournament games in which the Patriots played, in order: 2-1 over Plattsmouth (Novotny one-hitter and Worden HR); loss to Concordia (Omaha) by score of 6-1; 3-1 over Wahoo (Feist scored all three runs); 2-1 over Concordia (Novotny complete game, seven strikeouts).

The season will be capped off, win or lose, in the state tournament in Blair next weekend. The Patriots play Albion in the opening game at 11am Saturday, July 25. Download your own copy of the brackets.

The Patriots roster consists of: Luke Breitenfeldt, Bryce Chudomelka, Sam Crisler, Brody Elliot, Cody Feist, Nate Fisher, Gavin Heusinkvelt, Zac Jones, Christian Kazos, Collin Lewis, Jared Novotny, Brandon O’Hara, Peyton Pearce, Jeb Vavak, Connor Worden and Wyatt Zaugg.

The Platte Valley Patriots are led by Head Coach Chris Williams and assistants Dillon Campbell and Kole Liermann.



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