Legion Baseball: Post 87 roster loaded with talent
Champions of Area III American Legion baseball in 2011 and '12, High Point Post 87 is looking to once again get back to the state tournament.
They will have extra incentive to do it in 2014 with the event being held a short drive up Business 85 in Lexington at Holt-Moffitt Field. At the same time, it will be twice as difficult with Post 8 already securing one of the two spots available for Area III. The host team gets an automatic bid.
“The road is more difficult because Lexington is hosting it, so that leaves the only team getting to go being the Area III champion,” said seventh-year head coach Rob Shore. “We want to get there. Our last two times there we were just satisfied for making it. We have not played good once we have gotten there. I want to make sure we get back and show people that our consistency over the last five years of winning 20-plus games is not for nothing. We are here to stay and are going to be consistent every single year.”
His chances look good with a 19-player stable of quality athletes with many already having signed with college programs.
Playing from Wesleyan Christian will be Lane Kowalski, Hayden Manual and Greg White. Kowalski is a left-handed pitcher that has won both games for the Junior HiToms so far. Manual is a returning infielder that will likely hold down the leadoff spot, while White provides speed in the outfield.
High Point Christian is represented by a pair of returning players in Levi Gessell and Zach McLean. The starting center fielder, Gessell has a strong bat and will hit near the top of the order. McLean is an infielder and the main source of power. He will be counted on to drive in runs from the cleanup spot.
From Trinity are Colin Rosenbaum and Bryce Lance. The returning shortstop, Rosenbaum recently signed with Belmont Abbey and is a contact hitter. Lance is a left-handed hurler that should push for a spot in the starting rotation.
Representatives from High Point Central include Trevor Gay, Ryan Kahney and Josh Wilson. All three are pitchers with Gay and Kahney likely getting spots in the regular rotation. Wilson is a relief pitcher who could see time in the middle innings.
Four will be suiting up from Southern Guilford. Ryan Hedrick is a superb athlete and is a versatile option for Shore. He can play anywhere on the field and even pitches. Taylor Suggs is also a utility guy and may take over duties as the team closer. Evan Edwards is an infielder and Ryan Caveness will see time behind the plate as a sophomore.
From Ragsdale, Ben Fisher is an outfielder that will challenge for a spot high in the batting order. Ceasar Trejo will play the infield and Avery Hodges is a great defensive catcher.
Rounding out the team is right-handed pitcher Zack Saylor from Southwest Guilford and Adam Kirkman of Westchester. Both should see time on the hill.
“We have a lot of new faces and I think we as a staff have done a great job filling some voids from last year,” Shore said. “We have some really quality kids on the team. I am having a difficult time figuring out where to put people in the offensive lineup. That is a good problem to have because we have so many solid hitters.”
Post 87 will once again be in the extremely difficult Northeast Division. With Burlington-Graham, Eastern Randolph and Randolph County all in the same pod, it will be a battle each night. But Shore believes he has the depth and talent to be the last team standing.
“After watching us play these first two games, I am excited to see what we can do,” he said.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.