Fourth-year Ashland Post 76 coach Mike Delaney said this year’s group could be one of the best by the end of the year.
So far, the Sixers are 11-4-2 on the season, and Delaney said he’s a little surprised that the team’s record is so good.
He hasn’t quite had a complete roster to start the year because of vacations, jobs and various All-Star games.
“But we battle that every year,” Delaney said. “We have a different look about every night. But the way we have started out has been surprising. Once we get everyone out, we’ll have a pretty good club.”
This year’s version of the Sixers features seven members of The Independent’s All-Area Team, including two-time Player of the Year Logan Salow.
Other Post 76 players who earned All-Area honors include Morehead State-bound Seth Boyle, Campbellsville signee Zach Hutchinson, Lewis County’s Sammy Holder and Nick Thompson, Russell’s J.D. Pridemore and Ashland’s Aaron Elam.
After watching a ton of baseball during the high school season, Delaney said the Sixers could be looking at an exceptional summer.
“I’m really excited about this bunch,” Delaney said. “We got out and watched about 40 to 45 high school baseball games this year. And fortunately we convinced a few guys to come out and play for us. So far we’ve been pretty good.”
Other area players for the Sixers include Ashland’s Cameron Fritz, Evan Yongue, Jared Slone and Robert Griffith, Greenup County’s J.B. Brown and former East Carter standout Connor Robinson, who now plays at Lincoln Trail College.
Post 76 also features a group of kids who travel good distances to make it to games, even home contests at Ashland’s Central Park.
Prestonsburg’s Jarrin Hall and Bryson Williams, Belfry’s Keaton Taylor, Huntington High’s Kris Van Camp and Isaiah Settle and Fairland, Ohio’s Luke Farrar round out the Sixers roster.
It’s not unusual to see players from outside the normal local areas to join Post 76, said the coach.
“These kids have been driving down every time we play,” Delaney said. “That’s a little tough on them, but it’s the only place they can play and really advance their game. At Post 76 there is a lot of history here and we play a lot of games.
“The best thing about these boys is they just love to play the game.”
The Sixers still have 26 games left on their summer schedule, including the 14-team Cliff Webb Memorial Tournament that takes place on Fourth of July weekend both at Boyd County High School and Ernie Chattin Field at Central Park.
Legion teams from Portsmouth, Ironton, South Charleston, West Jessamine and Somerset will travel to Ashland to be part of the annual tournament.
“It’s (Cliff Webb Memorial Tournament) been going on a long time,” Delaney said. “We look forward to it every year, especially playing on our home field."
The district tournament starts July 23 at Central Park.
To advance to the Kentucky State Tournament, Post 76 will have to finish in the top two of its district.
“It’s a lot better to play those teams on your own field,” Delaney said. “And we play some real good competition. We’ve played the very best traveling teams as well as the best Legion teams in the area.”
The Kentucky State Legion Tournament will be played at Campbellsville University starting Aug. 4.
“I think this team has the possibility to be the best we’ve had,” Delaney said. “We have the potential to be better at the end, we just have to work at getting them to gel and become a team.
“They’re talented and I do like their attitude. They are all baseball kids and they love to play the game.”
Post 76 will be in action today in a doubleheader against Shelbyville Post 38 at Central Park with the first game scheduled for 1 p.m.
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606)326-2658.
Ashland Post 76 Roster
Aaron Elam Ashland
Bryson Williams Prestonsburg
Cameron Fritz Ashland
Connor Robinson Lincoln Trail
Evan Yongue Ashland
Isaiah Settle Huntington
J.D. Pridemore Russell
Jarrin Hall Presonsburg
J.B. Brown Greenup County
Keaton Taylor Belfry
Kris Van Camp Huntington
Logan Salow Ashland
Luke Farrar Fairland, Ohio
Nick Thompson Lewis County
Robert Griffith Ashland
Sammy Holder Lewis County
Seth Boyle Greenup County
Zach Hutchinson Greenup County