Ed Zirngible has discovered in his first season as head coach of the Brainerd Red Dogs Legion baseball team what many high school coaches have known for years.
Priorities have changed, particularly in the summer, when work commitments and entertainment activities often come before baseball.
But that fact hasn't discouraged Zirngible on the eve of the District 6 tournament that will be played Thursday through Sunday at Adamson and Mills fields in Brainerd. If the majority of his roster shows up this week, Zirngible believes Brainerd has a shot to earn a trip to the state tournament in Rochester next week.
"If we can get them all out there I think we will be a team to be reckoned with," Zirngible said. "I hate to blow smoke, but the potential definitely is there."
The Red Dogs haven't played up to their potential. They have compiled a 9-11 record while scrambling to write a consistent lineup in the scorebook.
"If we could have 100 percent of the kids it would have been a total improvement," Zirngible said of his team's record. "I'm satisfied with where we're at. Our younger kids have come along well. They're all great kids. I have had a lot of fun with them."
Brainerd opens 1:30 p.m. Thursday against Sauk Rapids at Adamson Field. If the Red Dogs lose they play 5 p.m. Thursday at Mills. If they win they play 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mills Field.
"I have no idea (about Sauk Rapids)," Zirngible said. "It's a poke in the dark. If we can get all the boys together we will be all right."
If Zirngible has his entire pitching staff together the Red Dogs will be all right. The staff at times this summer has included Matt Means, Adam Hardy, Ryan Browning, Kevin Potvin, Ben Winterfeld and Nick Weiland.
"Pitching should be our strong suit," Zirngible said. "I'm very optimistic, if we can get these guys out there, which has been a real chore."
District 6 Tournament
Adamson and Mills fields, Brainerd
Game 2: Little Falls vs. Waite Park, Adamson Field, 11 a.m.
Game 3: Bemidji vs. Cold Spring, Mills Field, 11 a.m.
Game 4: Brainerd vs. Sauk Rapids, Adamson Field, 1:30 p.m.
Game 5: St. Cloud Chutes vs. Melrose, Mills Field, 1:30 p.m.
Game 6: Loser Game 2 vs. loser Game 3, Adamson, 5 p.m.
Game 7: Loser Game 4 vs. loser Game 5, Mills Field, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Winner Game 2 vs. winner Game 3, Adamson, 7:30 p.m.
Game 9: Winner Game 4 vs. winner Game 5, Mills, 7:30 p.m.
Game 10: Winner Game 6 vs. loser Game 8, 11 a.m.
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. loser Game 9, 1:30 p.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. winner Game 9, 5 p.m.
Game 13: Winner Game 10 vs. winner Game 11, 7:30 p.m.
Adamson Field, Brainerd
Game 14: Winner Game 13 vs. loser Game 12, 5 p.m.
Game 15: Winner Game 12 vs. winner Game 14, 7:30 p.m.
Adamson or Mills field, Brainerd
Game 16: Game 15 winner vs. Game 15 loser, if necessary, 1 p.m.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.