The Teutopolis Post 924 Senior Legion baseball was faced with a question many teams have had to encounter in the past: How far are you willing to go to make it to the state tournament?
Teutopolis proved about a week ago they are willing to do anything it takes to get there, even if it meant crossing a sacred line. Unfortunately, there are a select few in T-Town who want nothing to do with the ramifications of what happened.
Teutopolis had to forfeit its first game at the Senior Legion Division tournament because they didn't have enough players, forcing T-Town to the losers' bracket, where they had a long road to go through to get back to the title game.
The next day, Teutopolis faced the same situation. They were short on players and a second forfeit in the Division tournament might affect the future of the program.
So Teutopolis coach Andy Borries went to extreme measures and pulled a player from Newton's Senior Legion team and listed him as Jason Kenter, who is on Teutopolis' roster. However, that player was not Kenter. According to the Effingham Daily News, that player went 2-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and a walk as Teutopolis went on to beat Sparta Post 396 10-7 to stay alive in the Division tournament.
T-Town only had a short amount of time to celebrate the news. They were not back in West Frankfort the next day because District 23 Chairman Bob Oster caught wind of what Teutopolis did. To no one's surprise, it is illegal to add players from other teams after rosters have been officially submitted for the Division tournament.
Teutopolis was swiftly disqualified from the tournament and they obviously deserved to be because of the actions of Borries.
After the game, Borries told the Effingham Daily News that was Kenter who played in the game because "he's wearing Kenter eight on the back of his jersey." Once he was caught, Borries admitted it wasn't Kenter. He told the Effingham Daily News after his team was disqualified: "It sucks not having enough players to even compete, so we did what we could to let the boys compete."
So basically, Borries taught his players that it's okay to cheat, which goes completely against the motto of American Legion Baseball, which is to promote healthy competition, sportsmanship and good citizens. Apparently some believe that teaching players to cheat is a way of being a good citizen.
Borries was a pitcher for Kaskaskia College the past two seasons and plans to go to Delta State University in the fall, according to his Twitter account.
Just think, if this was the high school season and Teutopolis took a player from Newton to compete in a regional game, there would be a huge uproar and it's almost unthinkable to do. That's exactly what Borries did.
Unfortunately, outside of the American Legion, Borries isn't being held accountable for his actions. Instead, some members of the Teutopolis Senior Legion team and some parents have blamed the person who brought it to Legion's attention that it wasn't Kenter who was in the lineup, but someone else.
That person -- EDN Sports Editor Ryan Czachorski -- is having his character questioned because of what he did. In what kind of mindset do you have to be to attack the person who was pointing it out? You would rather cheat and win a game that would push you to another elimination game? This wasn't to get to the semifinals or to the championship game, which still doesn't diminish the fact of how despicable the action was.
Instead of this being a teachable moment for a select few in Teutopolis, they have decided that cheating is just a normal way of life. They decided their priorities are more important than anyone else's and you can lie and cheat and steal to get whatever you want in life. "Be selfish" is what those select few in T-Town are teaching those players right now.
I do feel for the team if they would've had to forfeit their second game. If they did, it could've meant that Teutopolis would be forced to not field a team next season. Yes, that is painful and I don't know the reasons on why they didn't have enough players, but that's still no excuse to cheat, and now the consequences might be far greater.
Here's what should happen. This is probably not what is going to happen, but here's what should happen. Borries shouldn't be allowed to coach a Legion team, Senior or Junior, for at least 10 years. Next, not only should T-Town be forced to not have a Legion team next season, they shouldn't have a Legion team for at least 2-3 years. Heck, I would say they shouldn't have a team for the next five seasons because of the way the cheating was condoned by some.
Either way, I don't think the American Legion is going to take this lightly. As Oster told the Effingham Daily News: "This is the first time anything like this has happened to my knowledge. American Legion baseball isn’t just about winning. I believe this was not a good example to set. Coaches are suppose to be teaching values, teaching kids morals, and this is not what was done." So expect the American Legion to level some harsh sanctions against Post 924.
Maybe that will teach them that cheating is completely unacceptable.