Legion Preview: Moser prepared to lead new-look Post 8 program
There is a revival going on in Davidson County but not at one of the local churches. A renewed spirit of American Legion baseball is taking place in Lexington at Holt-Moffitt Field.
With the Lexington-Davidson and Thomasville-Davidson programs taking residency in the basement of the league standings the last couple of years, there needed to be a change. That change came in the offseason when the separate posts came together to form one team under the Post 8 name. This past Saturday, the Davidson County Warriors took the field for the first time under the direction of skipper Dale Moser.
“Everybody is excited about the season,” said Moser. “With the merger it seems like the excitement is back in Davidson County.”
Whether or not the change in mood will produce wins remains to be seen, but the level of interest in Post 8 baseball is sky high. In addition to the senior legion team, there are two junior legion squads, meaning there will be nearly 60 kids on the diamond this summer. Moser will field 21 players to start the season, but must have the roster trimmed to 18 by June 15. Sometimes the number works itself out, but Moser may be tasked with trimming the team himself if there are no defections.
“They can either make it easy on me or make it hard on me,” he said. “We decided to carry a few extra because you generally lose a few. It is better to have a few extra than to need them later.”
While Moser expects the Warriors to be a team that hits for average, he knows whatever success they may have will need to come from the arms on the mound. There are 10 reliable pitchers to choose from. Avery Bowles and Braxton Shetley are coming off tremendous senior campaigns for East Davidson. They will pitch for Catawba College and UNC-Pembroke, respectively. Northern Guilford’s Matt Kaplan and Ryan Dirks come from outside the county to join the team. Dirks is bound for Louisburg College and Kaplan had a 8-1 season on the rubber. Brock Goodyear (Belmont Abbey), John Hanes (Central Davidson), Justin Freeman (West Davidson), Chandler Simerson (West Davidson), Zach Queen (West Davidson) and Tyler Sellers (Union Grove) give added depth.
“We have a lot of good pitching,” Moser said. “There are four legitimate starters, middle relievers and a closer in the mix. We are going to try not to overuse the arms.”
Around the infield, C.J. Rice (North Davidson), Jordan Lakey (Central) and Graham Shoaf (West) will split catching duties. At first base will be Chase Mitchell (North) and Freeman, with Matt Berrier (West) and Tyler Hall (Ledford) manning second base. At shortstop will be Drew Beaver (North) and Trevor Nanney (Central), while Queen, Shetley, Trevor Jones (East) and Chaz Shields (Ledford) will field third.
The outfield has a lot of speed led by former Ledford standout Matt Thorburn. Joining him in the grass will be Dirks, Austin Stilley (Ledford), Jones and Hanes.
“We know we are not loaded with a lot of college kids like some teams, but we should be competitive and stay in most games,” said Moser.
Post 8 will compete in the Area III Northwest Division with Kernersville, Western Forsyth and Winston-Salem.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.