Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley left no doubt about what the best American Legion Class C juniors team is in the state this summer.
PWG captured the Class C state title on Thursday to complete a postseason during which it went 9-0 and outscored its opponents 101-17.
“They’ve just been, since Day 1, a group of kids who knew how to be successful,” PWG coach Brad Reimers said. “They all clicked. They got together and they decided that they wanted to win a state title, and I was determined that I wanted to win a state title.”
PWG lived up to its own high expectations while compiling a 34-6 record. Its schedule helped prepare the team for postseason challenges.
Playing in the Mid-Nebraska League included games against Central City/Fullerton — which finished second in Class B — and fellow Class C state tournament qualifier Shelton-Gibbon.
“I’ve always wanted to challenge these kids,” Reimers said. “We played in a tournament down in Kansas and played six games in two days. That was exhausting, but it helped us get prepared for the postseason.”
As expected from a state championship team with an .850 winning percentage, PWG didn’t have many weaknesses.
“Our pitching, hitting and defense were all strengths,” Reimers said. “We were pretty well rounded. Our pitching was great all year and our defense was great all year.
“Our hitting had a little slump mid-season, but everybody goes through that.”
The bats were alive and well by the time the postseason, and the result was PWG mowing through the competition to claim its first juniors state title since 2001.
“This was pretty special for me since I’ve got two boys and a nephew on the team,” Reimers said. “It was a fun time for me as a parent and a fun time for me as a coach.”
The team reaching its season-long goal was also a special moment to share with the communities that have shown PWG baseball plenty of support.
“I can’t say enough about the group of people who followed not only these guys but the teams before this one,” Reimers said. “When we played (at the state tournament), we always had more people there than the other team. I was at almost every game, and nobody else had as much support as we did. It makes the boys feel special when they have that many people following them.”
Most of the team will move up to the seniors level next year with four eligible to stay at the juniors level.
Whatever happens in the future, this team will forever have the bond of having won a state championship together.
“They’re gamers,” Reimers said. “If they set their mind on something, they did it.”
The team roster is Gunner Reimers, Roy Guzman, Ruger Reimers, Ty Nekoliczak, Morgan Behnk, Jackson McIntyre, Kade Caspersen, Gale Treat, Karsen Reimers, Kyle Oakley, Kyle Nekoliczak, Karson Mings, Tyler Beaty and Trevor Cargill.