Post 13 returns experienced group for 2018 season

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BENNINGTON — The Post 13 American Legion baseball team is determined to bring its team back to the level of success it once had and coach Scott Buck thinks the 2018 incarnation of the team has the pieces to take them there.

Post 13 returns nine players from last year's squad that finished below .500.

With the team returning most of its major pieces and adding some major parts, Post 13 expects to be competitive this summer.

Post 13 has six players who are entering their last year of Legion eligibility, with the 19-year old cutoff in place.

"We've got some kids who are here for the last hurrah with their last year of high-level, organized sport they'll play and they're here to enjoy themselves doing it," said Buck, who is also an assistant for the Mount Anthony baseball team in the spring. "I think that's going to be a high point in the season. Those guys are going to do their best to put on a good show."

Those six players are Brian Grace, James Reilly, Ryan O'Neill, Liam Center, Evan Crumb and Cooper Weir. Buck made sure to point out those six will all have a spot on the field and he'll fill in the other spots around them.

Post 13 has some intriguing younger additions that figure to make a major impact early on. Burr and Burton's Chandler Pouk and Joey McCoy, who just came off a successful run with the Bulldogs, both are joining the team this year. Hoosick Falls' Brandon Decker recently finished up his senior season and he'll play for Post 13 as well.

Buck likes the versatility of the group he has and expects to have players moving around to different positions a lot throughout the season.

A new addition that figures to be a contributor on the base paths will be Guy Milliman, who played basketball and lacrosse at Hoosick Falls. A speedy and shifty athlete, Buck expects to use Milliman's speed a lot in baserunning situations.

The team returns a battle-tested pitching staff with a group of guys who have experience pitching at the Legion level.

Pitchers who saw action last year like Arlington's Jack Lane, Mount Anthony's Cole Bushee and Hoosick Falls' Andrew Stevens, among others, all return to contribute this season.

Having an experienced pitching staff figures to be a major advantage for Post 13.

"We have some experienced arms this year, which is a little bit different than the past," Buck said. "They have experience pitching at this level, which is above a high school level, so that's going to be big for us."

Post 13 has seven current or former MAU players, five BBA players, three Hoosick Falls players, two Arlington players and one Long Trail player.

When it comes to playing Legion ball, there is a sacrifice involved. Most players who make up the team are used to being starters on their respective varsity squads. Having the team buy into the group concept is a major key to success.

"To get to this level, they're all pretty well-skilled and well-coached. I'm not going to tinker with that," Buck said. "We'll guide them and put them where we need and let them play hard. They know what they're doing."

Buck, who played Legion ball himself when he was younger, knows what it takes to buy into that mentality and his focus is just to make sure every player is keeping the team mindset prevalent. He wants to make sure his team has a great experience just like he did.

"My toughest job with a group of guys that all start on somebody's varsity is to make sure they check their egos at the door and realize I can only put nine out there at one time," Buck said. "It's very humbling, but what an experience. I wouldn't trade it for my life, ever."

The current roster has 18 guys and Buck likes to keep that number high, knowing that players have a lot of different things going on in the summer and won't always be able make every game.

In terms of returning Post 13 to its winning ways, Buck is hopeful.

"I'm hopeful we are more successful this year than we were in the past," Buck said. "I'm looking forward to these guys coming together as a team."

Roster: Will Buck, Liam Center, Andrew Stevens, Chandler Pouk, Guy Milliman, Joey McCoy, Ryan O'Neill, James Reilly, Tanner King, Dom Testo, Brian Grace, Bailey Cross, Evan Crumb, Beckett Weir, Brandon Decker, Cooper Weir, Jack Lane, Cole Bushee.

Post 13 Schedule:

DH = doubleheader

6/13 - at Bellows Falls, 7 p.m.

6/14 - vs Brattleboro, 5:30 p.m.

6/17 - vs Randolph (DH), 12, 3 p.m.

6/19 - at Lakes Region, 5:30 p.m.

6/21 - at Brattleboro, 5:30 p.m.

6/23 - vs Lakes Region (DH), 12, 3 p.m. (at SVC)

6/24 - vs Ludlow, 12 p.m.

6/26 - at Bellows Falls, 7 p.m.

6/28 - vs Ludlow, 5:30 p.m.

6/30 - vs WRJ (DH), 12, 3 p.m.

7/1 - at Ludlow, 12 p.m.

7/3 - at WRJ, 7 p.m.

7/5 - at Rutland, 5:30 p.m.

7/10 - at Randolph, 5:30 p.m.

7/12 - vs Rutland, 5:30 p.m.

7/17 - vs Rutland, 5:30 p.m.

7/19 - vs Bellows Falls, 5:30 p.m.

7/25 - at Brattleboro, 5:30 p.m.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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