Halverson has set tone of excellence for Patriots
An era is done for the Rochester Patriots. Slick and hugely respected shortstop Jake Halverson played his last game for the team Sunday afternoon.
An era is done for the Rochester Patriots.
Slick and hugely respected shortstop Jake Halverson played his last game for the team Sunday afternoon.
It came in the championship of the First District American Legion baseball tournament at Dale Massey Field. The opponent was No. 1 seed Austin.
Halverson, playing on a painful left knee that will undergo surgery Thursday, helped push Austin to the brink. The Patriots won the first game with Austin 15-7. But they needed to beat Austin twice to advance to the state tournament. They fell short there, losing the winner-take-all game 4-1.
"I really had hoped to get back to the state tournament, like we did (two years ago)," said Halverson, who spent four years as a Patriots starter, a rarity in any Legion program. "So it's disappointing to be done. But I've loved playing with the Patriots, and these guys."
Patriots coach Terry Heiderscheit figures many kids would have skipped playing this summer, with a knee as sore as Halverson's. But no doubt, this isn't "most kids."
"He played because he's just a 'gamer,' " said Heiderscheit, offering the ultimate compliment.
It was a stylish ending for Halverson, too. He played his usual slick shortstop and was 3-for-5 from the plate in that 4-1 season-ender.
Despite that he won't be on the roster next season, count on his impact living on.
Halverson's younger teammates looked up to him like no one else. That's a very good thing for Heiderscheit, who is also losing another excellent leader and talent in Jake Dravis. Heiderscheit has high hopes for a Patriots team that was young this season, but full of promise. That includes two of the guys who pitched in that 4-1 loss, incoming juniors Matthew Dravis and Jack Boehm.
With them watching and learning from Halverson, the tone has been set for future excellence.
"Jake (Halverson) was our leader," Matthew Dravis said. "Seeing how dedicated he was, it made us all want to play hard like he does."