Western mass american legion baseball

Western mass american legion baseball DEFAULT

Sixteen Western Massachusetts teams will take part in the 2016 American Legion's senior baseball program, which opens Friday with the Springfield 21 Eagles hosting East
Longmeadow in a 5:45 game at Forest Park.

The Springfield 21s will play again Sunday, hosting Northampton at 11 a.m. in the opener of a doubleheader at Forest Park. East Springfield Post 420, the other city team in the WMass Legion league, will meet Agawam in the second game at 2.

Post 420, a long-standing staple of Legion baseball, again will sponsor both its own team, and the Springfield 21 Eagles.

"By doing that, the Post 420 baseball committee accomplishes two worthy goals - keeping alive the memory of Post 21, and giving more city kids an opportunity to play ball," said Brian Collins, Post 420's head coach.

The original Post 21, which has a significant place in Springfield sports history, lost its charter in 2015 because of dwindling membership. Post 420 then stepped in to sponsor the team, thereby keeping "21" as a member of the local league.

Post 420 and the Springfield 21s will take a break from their local schedule June 23-26 to take part in a goodwill trip to Gastonia, North Carolina. In 1934, a Post 21 team took a memorable stand against racism by withdrawing from an eastern sectional tournament in Gastonia, upon learning that its one African-American, Bunny Taliaferro, would not be allowed on the field.

"Everything's in place for our trip," coach Collins said. "We'll each play three games, and the city of Gastonia has a reception, a barbecue and a getaway dinner planned for the teams involved."

Gastonia Post 23 made a goodwill trip to Springfield last June for a weekend of baseball. The visitors were welcomed at a City Hall reception hosted by Mayor Domenic Sarno. For the weekend, they were housed, free of charge, at Western New England University. Belmont Abbey College of North Carolina will offer similar hospitality to the visiting Springfield teams.

This will mark the 92nd season for the American Legion's baseball program, which began in 1925 in the little town of Milbank, South Dakota. Now the Legion has 5,000 teams playing in senior and junior divisions nationwide.

The Western Mass. senior Legion program includes 10 teams from Hampden County, four from Hampshire and three from Franklin. Pittsfield Post 68 is the only entry from the Berkshires.

Tom Pitoniak of Westfield serves as Legion baseball chairman for Hampden County (District 3 on the Legion baseball map.) Mike Quinlan of South Hadley chairs Berkshire-Franklin-Hampshire (Districts 1-2).

Garry Brown can be reached at [email protected]

Sours: https://www.masslive.com/sports/2016/06/post_569.html

Blanchard, Carpenter Power Sheffield Legion to Western Mass Title


By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
Print Story | Email Story

SHEFFIELD, Mass. --  A pair of Jacks handed Sheffield Post 340 a Western Massachusetts title on Thursday night.


Jackson Blanchard and Jack Carpenter combined to go 6-for-8 with two triples, two doubles and five runs scored as Sheffield’s Junior American Legion Baseball team beat East Longmeadow Post 293, 9-2, to claim the sectional crown and a berth in the state championship tournament that starts Saturday at Spec Pond in Wilbraham.


Luke Patella and Carpenter split time on the mound, striking out four and scattering four hits.


In every respect, it was a 180-degree turnaround from the teams’ meeting on Wednesday, a 15-0 East Longmeadow win that forced them to play an “if necessary” game to conclude the double-elimination tourney.


“We had one hit,” Sheffield coach Tom Fielding said of Wednesday’s loss in Chicopee. “We just couldn’t get the bat on the ball. Our No. 9 guy didn’t get up twice in the game. Of course, it was shortened to five innings. But that’s never happened to us, not getting our No. 9 guy up twice.”


What a difference 24 hours can make.


On Thursday, Sheffield had two hits -- including Carpenter’s triple -- and scored five runs in the top of the first inning.


“The weird thing was, we had the game here, but we weren’t the home team,” Fielding said. “That was very confusing to all of us, how that all played out, but we were glad to be here. We thought, ‘You know what, if we’re not the home team, let’s just get some runs.


“And the boys, they did their jobs. Smart baserunning, good hitting.”


Blanchard led off the game with a single up the middle and promptly stole second.


Cooper Shepardson and John Fielding then each worked a walk to load the bases.


Blanchard scored when a ball got to the backstop for the game’s first run, and Carpenter launched a triple to right center to make it 3-0.


Joshua Hunter then walked, becoming the fifth straight player to reach base. He stole second, and an errant throw on the play allowed Carpenter to come home and make it 4-0.


Hunter stole third and scored an the inning’s second error to give Patella a five-run cushion before he threw a pitch.


East Longmeadow responded by cashing in on an error for an unearned run in the bottom of the first, but Patella bounced back, getting a strikeout and a stellar play by Blanchard at short to strand two runners.


Patella put up three scoreless innings while his teammates tacked on insurance runs in the second and fourth.


In the second, Blanchard hit a one-out triple and scored when Shepardson reached by striking out and hustling to first on a ball that got to the backstop..


In the fourth, Blanchard led off with a double and scored on a pair of wild pitches to make it 7-1.


East Longmeadow got a leadoff infield single on a comebacker to the mound to start the fifth and got a run across before Carpenter took the ball from Patella and got a grounder to Blanchard to leave the bases loaded.


“It’s a great group of ballplayers, and they’ve all contributed in different ways all year,” Tom Fielding said of his defense. “Tonight, [third baseman Hunter] was the highlight player. But different games, it’s different guys. … Every game it’s someone different.


“It’s nice to have a great group where you don’t have to rely on just a handful of guys to do well. We’ve got nine guys on the field who are always doing well. And the guys we bring in to fill in the gaps do well, too.”


A hit-batter, a walk and a couple of errors helped Sheffield score two more runs in the sixth. Carpenter closed by striking out two and allowing one baserunner in 2-⅓ innings of work.


Sheffield Post 340, which revived South County American Legion Baseball this summer, will now try to bring home a state title in year one.


“It feels awesome,” Fielding said. “And I hope that the program, because of that, people are going to say, ‘Hey, this is a legit kind of team.’ Maybe more kids will want to play in this American Legion program.


“Maybe next year we can have a Junior and a Senior Division program, really expand the program that way. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Sours: https://www.iberkshires.com/story/60514/Blanchard-Carpenter-Power-Sheffield-Legion-to-Western-Mass-Title.html?new_footer=1
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For the second time in as many American Legion seasons, the Greenfield Post 81 Senior Division club participated in a state tournament this summer. After going 0-2 back in 2019 however, Post 81 showed out in more impressive fashion this time around. After winning another Western Mass. district title, the team won two games and ultimately made it to the second-to-last day of the state event earlier this week before falling to Peabody.

Skipper Kevin Luippold said it was the first time Post 81 had won games at the state level since 2014, when he was on the squad as a player. This year’s club played its best baseball down the stretch, and they finished with a 19-5 overall mark including postseason events.

“It all started with the kids having a great turnout at tryouts,” began Luippold. “We started the year with a full roster of 18 players and it stayed that way throughout. I always think of Post 81 as an All-Star team between Franklin County teams and other schools in the area, and I do believe we have the best of the best. This summer showed that this area can fight with the best teams in the state.”

Greenfield scored state tournament wins over Bridgewater and Leominster before falling to Franklin and Peabody.

“Talking to coaches out there, they said we were among the best teams they’ve seen,” said Luippold. “So it was nice to get some recognition for Western Mass. out there.”

The first-year coach said he was confident the team would be solid this summer, but even he was impressed with the way his club performed on the field.

“Especially for my first year, I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did to be honest,” he said. “Once we hit our stride late in the season we were a really good team.”

The turning point came after Greenfield lost in the first Western Mass. tournament last month. Since the season began later than usual with a long-running high school season, in order for Massachusetts to keep up with the rest of the country’s American Legion programs, they wound up holding two state tournaments – the first one sending the Commonwealth’s representative to the regional tournament. In that opening event, Post 81 fell to Belchertown in the semifinals. Westfield ultimately won and secured the area’s berth to the state tourney, where it lost both games.

“We talked a lot after that Belchertown loss about how the season’s not over. There were still some regular season games left and a whole other (Western Mass.) tournament,” Luippold said. “Everyone did their part from there on out. We had a different lineup every game the rest of the way and really everyone contributed.”

On the mound, Greenfield relied on a dominant staff that ultimately posted a 2.23 ERA entering the state tournament. Led by ace David Carey of Greenfield (0.83 ERA in 34 innings during the regular season), as well as Frontier’s Tyler Baranowski and the likes of Shawn Davenport, Cam Lococo, Michael Bassett, Jacob Quinn, Brody Baird and others, the club posted shutouts in elimination games against Westfield to advance to the second state tournament.

“There were a few kids that I knew were going to be dominant for us and they proved that in the beginning of the year,” said Luippold. “Then a few kids stepped up as the year went along to give us a nice balance. It made it easy to coach when you had pitchers like that on the mound.”

At the plate, Luippold pointed to Smith Academy’s Michael Bassett as a real bright spot. Bassett began the year down in the order, but worked his way up into the No. 2 hole, where he ultimately batted a whopping .486.

“He was a sparkplug for us,” Luippold said of Bassett. “His competitive nature is insane.”

Shortstop Kyle Barnes, who keyed the team’s defensive effort with an outstanding season in an integral position, batted .382 at the top of the Post 81 lineup, including a .461 clip in four state tournament games. Carey moved to the No. 3 spot thanks to the emergence of Bassett and batted .391 with a slugging percentage of .717. That included six triples and three doubles.

There were contributions throughout the lineup, though perhaps no more evident than Jake Sak, who batted ninth. The Greenfield alum, who will play football at Plymouth State this fall, batted .342 in the No. 9 spot, and Luippold said he simply found a way to get on base time and time again.

Frontier’s Dylan Martin secured his spot behind the plate and handled the catching duties down the stretch.

Luippold said just two players on his roster are aging out for next year. Jacob Quinn, who attends Franklin Pierce, locked himself into the No. 4 spot with a stellar stretch run, and he batted .450 throughout the six-game Western Mass. tournament. Davenport did the bulk of his work on the mound and logged a lot of important innings. The Mohawk Trail alum was also Greenfield’s best arm in the outfield and filled in at first base when called upon.

With many players still eligible next season, and plenty of Junior Division contributors ready to make the step up to the big club, the future is certainly bright for Luippold and Post 81 in 2022.

“If all goes well and the kids progress like they have the ability to, I think we could be even better next summer,” the coach said. “I think we exceeded a lot of expectations this year but next year, people are going to be coming for us. They’re going to throw their best pitchers against us so we are going to have to bring it again.”

Sours: https://www.recorder.com/
The history of American Legion Baseball

Baseball has been a staple of the local summer scene for ages. From Little League to the college baseball leagues, evenings in the summer are spent on the diamond.

In recent years, however, there has been a decline in participation at the upper levels of youth baseball.

The American Legion has sponsored a baseball league across the nation since 1925 and has been a home for players during the summer.

Massachusetts is tied with Illinois for the fifth most Legion teams in the country with 137. They trail only Minnesota (366), Nebraska (271), Pennsylvania (253) and Wisconsin (217).

Not long ago, Hampshire County was home to South Hadley Post 260, Amherst Post 148, Belchertown Post 239, Northampton Post 28 and Easthampton Post 224. This summer, only Belchertown and Northampton had teams.

Amherst last fielded a team in 2015. South Hadley’s last team played in 2016. This was the first summer Easthampton did not have a team.

“There’s lots of competition out there not only within baseball,” South Hadley Recreation Director and former Legion District 2 chairman Andy Rodgers said. “Baseball participation, particularly in the summer, has gone down.”

The “competition” refers to a lot of different things.

Rodgers noted the difficulty in getting 18 and 19 year olds to commit to playing a busy and condensed schedule during the summer.

“Sport numbers in general have been down, baseball numbers are down and it was kind of impossible to field enough kids on a yearly basis to make it work,” Rodgers said. “When kids can go play summer soccer or seven-on-seven football or get a job or go to the beach with their friends you run into all sorts of variables there and for our baseball committee it became real hard. They were spending more time begging kids to come to games than actually focusing on baseball.”

District 1 Chairman Dennis St. Pierre has been involved with Legion baseball for two decades.

“At one time we had seven teams in District 1 and slowly but surely the different Legions had trouble fielding a team. We were always short-handed and there were a lot of forfeits for all the teams,” St. Pierre said. “It’s different nowadays. A lot of these kids today they’ve got girlfriends, they’ve got cars, it’s hard. It’s not the way it used to be. At one time it was actually an honor to play Legion baseball.”

District 1 covers Berkshire County and only Pittsfield Post 68 remains. Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden Counties now combine for 13 teams.

Belchertown, which was unable to put together a team from 2016 to 2018, returned to the Senior Legion level this year. Post 239 had a roster that included players from Granby and Amherst.

“The last year we had a Senior Legion team was the first year we had a Junior Legion team,” said Craig French, who has been running the Belchertown program since 2013. “We had been kind of looking at the future trying to get the younger kids involved so we could eventually have a pipeline of kids coming up through the program. So through that we kind of kept interest in Legion baseball with the Junior Legion team and then last year we really started reaching out to the surrounding towns around us. We reached out to the coaches and parents and really started recruiting kids to get them into the Legion program.”

More opportunities for kids hurt the Belchertown program.

“There’s just a lot of things pulling on kids these days,” French said. “There’s AAU and all these other leagues these days that pull on kids, but Belchertown particularly it was just a small bubble of kids.”

Both French and Rodgers added that there is sort of a cyclical nature to the change in participation rates when it comes to youth sports, not just baseball.

“The year my oldest son graduated high school there were seven or eight seniors on the baseball team,” French said. “Last year when my middle son graduated there were two so there weren’t a lot of kids to draw from to begin with.”

Rodgers has seen the ebbs and flows in participation from his experience as a recreation director.

“When our football numbers are way up, our soccer numbers are way down,” Rodgers said. “And vice versa.”

The only program in Hampshire County that has consistently put a team on the field has been Northampton Post 28.

“I think partly what it is is the parents and (manager) Mike Noonan and the coaching staff making an environment that kids are really excited about,” Post 28 coach Chuck Holt said. “We’re making it feel like it’s really important and we’re promoting the fact that it’s a really high level of baseball.”

Easthampton didn’t have a problem with the number of players, but rather issues filling the coaching position.

Post 224 didn’t field a team this year because it was unable to find a coach in time after Kevin Wilby left the program.

According to Max Weir, who is working to get Easthampton back on the field in 2020, Post 224 was unable to find a replacement before the registration deadline and that is what kept them out of the league this year.

Weir, an alumnus of Post 224 and volunteer coach at AIC, is confident they will be back on the field next June.

“I’m not worried about getting the guys, the numbers, the quality, anything like that,” Weir said. “I know that will fill itself out.”

The prospect of Easthampton rejoining the scene is a reason for optimism when it comes to the Legion landscape.

“If the Legion as a league can evolve to create an easier system for teams to be a part of a league and create something that feels like it’s really developmental and allows for exposure and gives kids something that is really important, I think that will create a resurgence,” Holt said. “But it’s really hard to say.”

Sours: https://www.gazettenet.com/

Mass legion western baseball american


Team Name School Post District Head Coach/GMAbington Abington High School 112 10 Tom Carroll Acushnet Greater N. Bedford Reg. Voc/Tech HS 265 9 Michael DesrosiersAgawam Agawam High School 185 2-3   Amherst Amherst-Pelham Regional H.S. 148 2-3   Andover Town of Andover 8 8 Joe IarrobinoArlingtonArlington High School 39 5 Joe SancinitoAshlandAshland High School 77 5 Dennis BakerAuburn Auburn High School 279 4  BarnstableBarnstable High School 206 10 Sean Walsh Belchertown Belchertown High School 239 2-3  Berkley Apponequet Regional High School 121 9 Ken Lalli Beverly Beverly High School 331 8 Doug VigliottaBillericaBillerica High School 268 5 Richard GearinBraintree Braintree High School 86 6  Bridgewater Bridgewater-Raynham Regional H.S. 203 10 Tim Fitzgibbons  BrocktonBrockton High School 35 10 David Seropian  Brockton (Hawkeye AC) Cardinal Spellman High School O/S 10 Rich Cogliano Cambridge (Knights) Buckingham Brown & Nichols O/S 5 Ed Bourget Canton Canton High School 24 6  ChicopeeChicopee High School 452 2-3 Bob DziedzicChicopee (Aldenville) Chicopee Comprehensive High School 337 2-3  Clinton Clinton High School 50 4  Cohasset Cohasset High School 118 6  Concord Concord-Carlisle High School 158 5 Charlie BlairDalton Wahconah Regional High School 155 1  Danvers St. John's Preparatory School 180 8 Ben KeenanDedham Dedham High School 18 6  Dennis-Yarmouth Dennis-Yarmouth Regional H.S. 488 10 Paul Funk  Duxbury Duxbury High School 223 10  East Longmeadow East Longmeadow High School 293 2-3  East Springfield Central High School 420 2-3  EasthamptonEasthampton High School 224 2-3 Joe DushaneEaston Oliver Ames High School 7 9 Tom Maloof FairhavenFairhaven High School 166 9 Steve DoonanFall River Durfee High School 314 9 Norm YelleFoxboro Mansfield High School 93 6  Framingham Framingham High School 74 4  Franklin Franklin High School 75 6  Gardner (North County) Gardner High School 129 4  Gloucester Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester & Essex 3 8 David QuinnGreenfield Greenfield High School 81 2-3  Hanover Hanover High School 149 10 Steve Kirby Haverhill Haverhill High School 4 8 Larry O'BrienHingham Towns of Hingham & Hull 120 10 Vin Murray  Holbrook Holbrook High School 137 6  Holden Wachusett Regional High School 42 4  Holyoke Holyoke High School 325 2-3  Hudson Hudson High School 100 5 Blair BrissetteHyde Park Catholic Memorial High School 78 6  Jamaica Plain Boston English High School 76 6  Kingston Kingston, Halifax, Plympton & Carver 387 10 John Seip Lawrence Central Catholic High School 15 8 Paul SartoriLenoxdale Lenox Memorial High School 274 1  Leominister Leominster High School 151 4  Longmeadow Longmeadow High School O/S 2-3  Lowell Lowell High School 87 5 Scott JaraczLudlow Ludlow High School 52 2-3  Lynn St. Mary's Regional High School 6 8 Tim FilaLynn (Gautreau) Lynn English High School O/S 8 Chris TgettisMalden Malden High School 69 5 Kenny MazonsonMarblehead Marblehead High School 32 8 Nick BondolaMarlborough Marlborough High School 132 4  Medfield Medfield High School 110 6  Medford Medford High School 45 5 Paul GrandeMethuen Methuen High School 122 8 David MosherMiddleboroMiddleboro High School 64 10 Tony DeSilva Middleton Masconomet High School 227 8 Steve CocoMilford Milford High School 59 4  Milton Milton High School 114 6  Natick Natick High School 107 5 Bill FlutieNeedham Needham High School 14 6  New Bedford New Bedford High School 1 9 Manny LimaNewburyport Town of Newburyport 150 8 Tim SouthallNewton Newton North High School 440 5 Manny ConnerneyNorfolkKing Philip Regional High School 335 6 Mark GafurNorth Adams Drury High School 125 1  North Andover North Andover High School 219 8 Scott RinglandNorth Chelmsford Chelmsford High School 313 5 Jon MorrisNorthampton Northampton High School 28 2-3  Northboro Algonquin Regional High School 234 4  Northbridge Northbridge High School 343 4  Norton Norton High School 222 9 David BashawNorwell Norwell High School 192 10 Skip Ellender  NorwoodNorwood High School 70 6 Paul SamargedlisOrange Mahar Regional High School 172 2-3  Palmer Palmer High School 130 2-3  Peabody Peabody High School 153 8 Lou KargerPembrokePembroke High School 143 10 Peter Plant Pepperell Groton-Dunstable High School 213 5 Richard FotinoPittsfield Taconic High School 68 1  Pittsfield (Tyler Aces) Pittsfield High School O/S 1  Plymouth Plymouth North High School 40 10 Paul Coffin Quincy Quincy High School 95 6  Quincy (Morrisette) North Quincy High School 294 6  Reading Reading High School 62 5 Steve O'LearyRevereRevere High School 61 8 Gordon DanieliRochdale (Shannon Davis) Leicester High School 205 4  RocklandRockland High School 147 10 Thom RoacheSalemSalem High School 238Tom RemonSandwichSandwich High School 188 10 Bob Corradi Saugus Saugus High School 210 8 Leonard FerrariSeekonkSeekonk High School 311 9 Jose DemeloSheffield Monument Mt. Regional High School 340 1  Shirley Ayer High School 183 5 Joe HawthorneShrewsbury Shrewsbury High School 397 4  Somerset Somerset High School 228 9 Tom SantosSomerville Somerville High School 19 5 Jim McCuneSouth Attleboro Bishop Feehan High School 312 9 Gary MiddletonSouth Hadley South Hadley High School 260 2-3  Stoughton Stoughton High School 89 6  Sturbridge Tantasqua Regional High School 109 4  Sudbury Lincoln-Sudbury High School 191 5 Len NoceSwampscott Swampscott High School 57 8 Jeff NewhallSwansea Joseph Case High School 303 9 Dan StoreyTaunton Taunton High School 103 9 Steve HigginbothamTewksbury Tewksbury Memorial High School O/S 5 Jim DragonWakefield Wakefield High School 63 5 Bob RomanoWalpole Walpole High School 104 6  WarehamWareham High School 220 10 James MuldoonWayland Wayland High School O/S 5 Joseph RegonlinskyWebster-Dudley Shepard Hill High School 184 4  West Boylston St. John's High School 204 4  West Springfield West Springfield High School 207 2-3  Westfield Westfield High School 124 2-3  Weston Weston High School O/S 5 Justin MillerWestport Westport High School 145 9 Jay BarresiWestwood Xaverian Brothers High School 320 6  WeymouthWeymouth High School 79 6 Tim DaleyWhitmanWhitman-Hansen Regional H.S. 22 10 Chuck Adams Wilbraham Minnechaug Regional High School O/S 2-3  Winthrop Winthrop High School 146 8 Bill MooreWorcester (East Side)St. Peter-Marian Central Cath. H.S. 201 4 Mark Peters Worcester (Grafton Hill) Holy Name Central Cath. HS 323 4  Worcester (Main Street) Doherty Memorial High School 341 4  

Notes: O/S denotes team is not sponsored by an American Legion Post; District 7 has no program for 2009.

Sours: http://www.bostonbaseball.com/american_legion.php
Pittsfield celebrates its Western Mass American Legion championship over Aldenville.

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