The American Legion team from Omaha South already has gotten good use out of its new artificial-turf infield at Brown Park.
But with temperatures soaring near 100 degrees this week, that turf is going to be a hot topic as the Legion Area tournaments begin Friday.
“Overall, it’s been a great thing for us," South coach Gene Felise said. “But this weekend we’re just hoping our cleats don’t melt."
Jordan’s Studio Post 331 (South) will be one of seven host teams for the Class A Area tournaments. The Packers are the third seed in the six-team A-3 tourney that begins Friday.
Felise is doing what he can to prepare for the toasty conditions. He recently purchased fans for both dugouts and has talked to his team about staying hydrated.
“They say the temperature is 10 to 12 degrees hotter on the artificial turf," he said. “We’ll just have to deal with it the best we can."
The Packers have had a successful summer season, going 24-18. But Felise said his team, which was 20-6 at one time, needs to improve if it hopes to qualify for the state tournament.
“That No. 3 seed is the highest we’ve had in the five years I’ve been here," he said. “But we need to play better than we have lately."
Felise said he had one final word of advice for his team to avoid the heat this weekend.
“Play good defense," he said. “And get back into the shade of the dugout as quickly as possible."
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There is good news in the forecast. After very hot days Friday and Saturday, the projected high temperature Sunday is 82 degrees.
The installation of the artificial turf at historic Brown Park was completed in late spring. The Packers played a few varsity games on it before getting full use of it this summer.
“It’s been awesome, because we’ve played a lot of games when other teams were getting rained out," Felise said. “It’s also nice for the players, who don’t have to stay and work the field after games."
The Brown Park outfield also is scheduled for an artificial-turf makeover that will begin shortly after the completion of the area tournament.
The Packers will open the tourney with a 3 p.m. game against fourth-seeded Medicine Man Pharmacy (Omaha Skutt). The other A-3 games Friday will be Woodhouse Post 211 Navy (Elkhorn South) vs. the Mack Brothers Huskies (Omaha Northwest) at 5:30 and C&H Construction (Omaha Burke) vs. SOS Heating & Cooling (Ralston) at 8.
The other metro-area sites for Friday’s tourneys are Seymour Smith Park, Millard South and Papillion-La Vista South. The other three Class A Area tournaments will be held at Lincoln’s Sherman Field, Columbus and North Platte.
The champion and the runner-up from each of the seven Class A Area tourneys will advance to state. Omaha Creighton Prep and Kearney, the host teams for state, are automatic qualifiers.
The Class B and Class C Area Legion tournaments also begin Friday at several sites. Like Class A, most of the tournaments will run through Tuesday.
The Class B state tournament will be held in Gering, and the Class C state tourney will be played in Syracuse. All state tournaments will run July 27-31.
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Left to right, sitting: Tony Martin, Omaha Burke; Tyler Goodro, Omaha Creighton Prep; Scott Kaskie, Papillion-La Vista; Sam Merrill, Millard North; Connor O'Neill, Omaha Westside; Kevin Dooley, Papillion-La Vista; Matt Bowers, Omaha Roncalli; Dustin Koca, Omaha Westside. Kneeling: Jared Erspamer, Millard South; Tim Huber, Omaha Creighton Prep; Ryan Wehrle, Papillion-La Vista. Standing: Drew Schwab, Omaha Westside; Steve Winkelmann, Omaha Gross.
Clockwise from upper left: Omaha Westside's Tyler Knust, Omaha Burke's Tony Martin, Omaha Burke's Erik Bird, Millard South's Derrick Kendrick, Millard North's Robbie Knight, Millard North's Conor Gillaspie, Omaha Central's David Cleveland, Millard North's Jason Jewell, Millard West's Jon Reed, Omaha Westside's Darin Ruf, Millard North's Sam Merrill, Omaha Westside's Sam Murphy, Bellevue East's Tyler Cloyd and Omaha Skutt's Zach Herr.
Front row (from left), Bobby Lackovic, Omaha Skutt; Bryant Cotton, Omaha Central; Shaun Hoover, Millard West; Sam Murphy, Omaha Westside; Marcus Palimenio, Omaha Westside; Mark Waldron, Omaha Creighton Prep. Back row, Charlie Shaver, Elkhorn; Ian Dike, Lincoln Southwest; Kent Urban, Lincoln Northeast; Danny Hunter, Papillion-La Vista; Casey Hauptman, Millard South; Wyatt Kirwan, Omaha Westside; Pat Krebs, Omaha Creighton Prep. Not pictured, Brandon Kirsch, Papillion-La Vista South.
Standing (left to right, clockwise), John Reiss, Papillion-La Vista; Mark Waldron, Omaha Creighton Prep; Casey Hauptman, Millard South; David Hulsebus, Millard West; Ben Kline, Omaha Central; Kent Urban, Lincoln Northeast; Ty Kildow, Millard South; Kash Kalkowski, Grand Island; Jonas Dufek, Millard West; and Matt Freeman, Elkhorn. Sitting (left to right, clockwise) are Zach Willand, Papillion-La Vista South; Travis Parker, Lincoln Northeast; Drew Daubman, Omaha Westside; and Taylor Weisbeck, Papillion-La Vista.
First row, from left: Millard West's Steve Jensen, Omaha Gross' Brandon Winkelmann, Millard South's Ty Kildow, Grand Island's Kash Kalkowski, Millard North's Brett Koehn, Millard North's Blake Brisson and Lincoln North Star's Jake Benne. Second Row, from left: Ralston's Derek Landis, Omaha Creighton Prep's Derek Nelson, Omaha Creighton Prep's Joe Holtmeyer, Omaha Creighton Prep's Zane Hinkel, Papillion-La Vista South's Kendall Wehrle, Lincoln Southeast's Jake Kuebler and Lincoln Southeast's Josh Scheffert.
Back row from left, are Millard West's Brandon Bass, Millard West's Tyler Niederklein, Omaha Westside's Chris Williams, Columbus' Kurt Farmer, Lincoln Southeast's Josh Scheffert, Lincoln Southwest's Adam Peters, and Omaha Bryan's Aaron Beil. Front row from left are Creighton Prep's Mike Pritchard, Omaha Creighton Prep's Ryan Briggs, Nebraska City's Logan Ehlers, Omaha Westside's Jory Goldstrom, Millard South's Ty Kildow, Omaha Northwest's Kyle Kinman, and Papillion-La Vista South's Brian Donohoe.
Kneeling, left to right: Reed Svoboda, Lincoln Northeast; Kyle Kruger, Millard West; Mike Siwa, Om. Burke; Albert Johnson, Papillion-La Vista South; Cody Kottich, Om. Bryan; Brett Bass, Millard West. Standing left to right: Logan Ehlers, Nebraska City; Mike Pritchard, Om. Creighton Prep; A.J. Ladwig, Millard West; Caleb Palensky, Papillion-La Vista South; John Sorensen, Papillion-La Vista; Brad McKewon, Millard South; Joey Jones, Papillion-La Vista; Paul Rosales, Om. Gross.
From left top row: Justin Paul, Papillion-La Vista South, Albert Johnson, Papillion-La Vista South, Kyle Kubat, Om. Creighton Prep, Nate Griep, Millard West, Tanner Lubach, Lincoln Southwest, A.J. Ladwig, Millard West, Tyler Lane, Papillion-La Vista South, Casey Gillaspie, Millard North, Adam Morey, Millard West. Bottom row from left: Blake Headley, Millard South, Taylor Doggett, Lincoln Southeast and Quentin Urban, Millard South.
Back row, left to right: Jordan Schroer, Lincoln Northeast; Taylor Elman, Omaha Creighton Prep; Nate Griep, Millard West; Casey Sayles, Omaha North. Second row: Matt Warren, Omaha Skutt; Brayden Young, Lincoln Southwest; Marcus Ethen, Millard West. Third row: Danny Regan, Millard South; Kevin Connolly, Omaha Creighton Prep; Jack Wilson, Millard North; Jake Placzek, Papillion-La Vista. Front row: Austin Groth, South Sioux City; Danny Suiter, Lincoln Southwest; Colby McPike, Lincoln Northeast.
Front row, from left: Papillion-La Vista South's Josh Kiger; Millard West's Ryan Merrill; Millard South's Jake Huscroft; Lincoln North Star's Tyler Coufal; Wahoo's Quinn McGill; Omaha North's Brendan Jensen; Omaha Creighton Prep's Jeff Albrecht. Back row, from left: Omaha Westside's Mike Waldron; Norris' Jakson Reetz; Lincoln East's Jake Hohensee; Waverly's Sam Tewes; Lincoln Southwest's Brayden Young; Norris' Byron Hood; Omaha Westside's Jake Meyers.
Clockwise from left: Omaha Skutt's Jake Barton, Papillion-La Vista South's Grant Suponchick, Norris' Byron Hood, Omaha Creighton Prep's Dillon O'Doherty, Omaha Westside's Mike Waldron, Omaha Roncalli's Alec Bohm, Lincoln Pius X's Michael Helman, Omaha Westside's Devin Stueck, Bellevue West's Cole Patterson, Lincoln North Star's Brook Bolles, Norris' Jakson Reetz, Millard West's Logan Jacik, Omaha Westside's Jake Meyers and Omaha Westside's Drew Fitzmorris.
From left, Seward’s Ben Klenke, Papillion-La Vista’s Jack Kalina, Papillion-La Vista South’s Grant Suponchick, Papillion-La Vista’s Grant Van Scoy, Lincoln Pius X’s Michael Helman, Omaha Westside’s Matt Waldron, Southwest’s Logan Foster, Omaha Westside’s Mike Waldron, Millard West’s Cole Stobbe, Omaha Westside’s Alex Nielsen, Millard North’s Bryce Rogokos, Elkhorn’s Drew Smith and Millard South’s Nate Mallott.
Back row (left to right): Brett Vosik, Creighton Prep; Cole Stobbe, Millard West; Brandon Bena, Creighton Prep; Spencer Lear, Millard West; Zach Argo, Norris; Joey Machado, Creighton Prep; Nick Nelsen, Blair. Front row: Calvin Rudolph, Millard South; Wyatt Divis, Lincoln Northeast; Jacob Uhing, Elkhorn; Logan Foster, Lincoln Southwest; Jonah Ulane, Millard South; Mojo Hagge, Omaha Skutt; Drew Smith, Elkhorn.
Front row, from left: Austin Schultz, Norris; Shay Schanaman, Grand Island; Dylan Phillips, Creighton Prep; Drew Gilin, Millard South; Josh Culliver, Creighton Prep; and Isaiah Peterson, Lincoln Southwest. Back row, from left: Perry, Millard South; Max McGuire, Lincoln Southwest; Joe Roecker, Elkhorn; Cam Taylor, Bellevue West; Colby Gomes, Millard West; Noah Sacco, Millard North; Nick Henrichs, Omaha Westside; Garrett Kocis, Millard West.
From left: Lincoln Southeast's Logan Van Treeck, Roncalli's Alex Rodgers, Omaha Burke's Hunter Waugh, Creighton Prep's Dylan Phillips, Millard West's Colby Gomes, Creighton Prep's Owen Richter, Millard South's Kyle Perry, Creighton Prep's Evan Laney, Elkhorn South's Will Reetz, Norris' Zach Argo, Grand Island's Shay Schanaman, Norris' Austin Schultz, Grand Island Cole Evans and Millard South's Drew Gilin.
From left: Max Anderson of Millard West, Austin Callahan of Fremont Bergan, Cole Evans of Grand Island, Caleb Riedel of Millard West, Alex Wize of Omaha Burke, Cooper Prososki of Bennington, Sam Wibbels of Hastings, Tyson Gerdes of Millard South, Drew Wessel of Millard South, Sayer Diederich of Elkhorn South, Noah Greise of Millard South, Cam Frederick of Lincoln Southwest, Connor Barnett of Papillion-La Vista, and Noah Olson of Omaha Burke.