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Sioux County Index-Reporter
Hull, Iowa
August 7, 2013     Sioux County Index-Reporter
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August 7, 2013

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Got a tip or story idea? Please contact us Jordan Harmelink J Sports Editor, 712.472.2525 or 800.621.0801 Twitter." @NCP_Sports Sports photos available for purchase at Sioux County Index-Reporter Page 10 Wednesday, August 7, 2013 e. Team keeps memento of missing teammate during tourney games SPENCER - Athletic tape normally helps an athlete prevent an injury to a weak area like a wrist or ankle. This time, the tape had a different meaning. For the Western Christian baseball team, it helped remind them of a teammate -- a team- mate who wanted to be there but was not able to because of extenuating circumstances. During all three of Western Christian's post- season games, pieces of tape formed the number six atop the dugout. That's the number Ryan Le Loux wore for the Wolfpack. Le Loux left the team in early July to serve his country in the Marines. "It was really nice to see that they appreci- ated his ability to be part of the team" said Ryan's father Evan. Le Loux was a key component in coach Brent Van Maanen's lineup. He was second on the team with a .319 batting average, contrib- uting 22 hits, 14 RBIs and five stolen bases out of his shortstop position Even though he wasn't occupying his defen- sive position on the left side of the Wolfpack infield or at the top of their lineup, Le Loux was in their minds. "The guys wanted to have a reminder we're still playing for Ryan" said Western Christian coach Brent Van Maanen. Le Loux and six other seniors -- Cody Van Ginkel, Tyler Van Engen, Ross Te Slaa, Grant Van Bemmel, Jordan Van Maanen and Bran- don Vander Stoep -- helped propel Western Christian to three straight substate appear- ances. "He really wanted to make it to state his se- nior year"Van Mannen said. Le Loux always wanted to be a United States Marine. The 2013 Western Christian High School graduate planned on leaving for basic training in October, well after this summer's baseball season ended. But plans changed. Word came from the Marines. They no lon- ger wanted him to report to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in October, but instead on July 15 -- a day before Western Christian opened Class 2A District Tournament play against arch rival Unity Christian. Another call came -- they wanted him even earlier, on July 8. Instead of playing out the season, Le Loux had to leave just as the Wolfpack was prepar- ing to play in the postseason. "It was a tough decision for him when he had to leave, but it was the right one for his career"Van Maanen said. "We're just really proud of him:' "It was OK" Evan said. "He didn't like to, but when it's your time to go, you go. "It's what he wanted to do" Right now, the only communication between Evan and Rhonda and Ryan is by old-fashioned mail letter. Other than a letter, the only other time they communi- cated so far wasa brief phone call. Even then, he was asking how his teammates were do- ing in the letter he sent to Evan and Rhonda. "He was hoping it was going well for them;' Evan said. Rhonda was already excited to tell him what hap- pened, particularly during the two district games in Sioux Center. "He's going to be glad that they were district champi- ons" Rhonda said. Even though he left the team earlier than planned, his Western Christian's Ryan Le Loux shares a fist bump with head coach Brent Van Maanen after an inning during a game earlier this season. (Submitted photo) teammates realize what Ryan's doing is greater than just playing baseball. "We're just really proud of him"Van Maanen said. Ryan's parents looked on from the bleachers through- out the tournament run. They were there when Western came from behind to knock off Unity and when they thumped Sioux Center in the district title game. They were there in Spencer to support his friends in the sub- state game against Spirit Lake. Evan and Rhonda were there to dish out hugs of com- fort to Ryan's friends after Spirit Lake dashed Western Christian's bid to play in the state tournament. The loss could not hide the pride Ryan's parents had for his teammates. "Everybody was disappointed, but they're just a really good group of kids," Rhonda said. "They had fun" Index-Reporter editor Ryan Kronberg can be reached at Western Christian's baseball team taped the number six to the dugout during all three of its postseason games in honor of Ryan Le Loux. (Ryan Kronbergllndex-Reporter) 2O8338 your Bundle Internet and Phone at with a 2 mo year agreement Plus choose FREE featuresl 1.866.HICKORY I Responsive Local Committed ~ HickoryTech. Pricing shown does not include regulated fees and taxes, Services may not be available In all areas. Other restrictions may apply. ADVO40-IA-RV <