June 04, 2018
From the Intermountain Newspaper:
ELKINS — When the bats start swinging today for Elkins Post 29, the team will be looking for a crack at winning the American Legion State Championship.
“The goal every year is to win the state tournament,” Post 29 manager Chris George said. “We have to win the Area 5 Championship to get there, so the first goal is to win the Area 5 Tournament. But really, the main goal is to go out there each game mentally ready to go with a purpose to win and to get better.
“We need to be a better team on July 4th than what we are on June 4th. So, our goal is to challenge ourselves with a tough schedule, get better throughout the season, win the Area 5 Tournament and get to the state tournament. Hopefully by that time, we’ll be ready to win it. I believe with the experience we have this year, we have a chance to accomplish those goals. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. It’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to respect everyone we play. It’s going to be a challenge night in and night out.”
The team consists of six college students, along with a mix of players from Elkins High School, Tygarts Valley, Philip Barbour and Tucker County. Eligible players cannot turn 20 years old before Jan. 1, 2019.
“Our pitching staff is great,” George said. “We’ve got five starters. We can roll out there with Matthew Gainer, Brett Smith, Read Schumacher, Ben Huffman and Kyle Riggleman. Most of those guys are also capable of starring in relief. We’ve got a couple of other arms, like (Shane) Liller and (Cameron) Wamsley, who can step up and give us some relief. So our pitching should be solid.”
Players on the roster include: Luke Petrice, Justin Fike, Kyle Riggleman, Ben Huffman, Troy McMillion, Matthew Gainer, Austin Simmons, Shane Liller, Ben McDonald, Brett Smith, Luke Swecker, Read Schumacher, Cameron Wamsley and J.T. Roby. Adam Riggleman is on the roster, but not expected to join the lineup until July.
“Offensively, we should be really good,” George said. “We return a lot of experience. A lot of the guys can hit the ball well. A lot of the kids have experience in college. They’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of older kids that have been there and done that. Some kids are playing in their third and fourth year.
“Our main goal is to get better defensively,” George added. “It’s another tough challenging schedule. It’s really tough and that’s what we want to do. We want to challenge them with the schedule to make them better and tougher in July,” he added.
Post 29 plays approximately 40 games during the regular season and participates in several tournaments, including the Hillbilly Hardball Classic. The season begins today and wraps up in August.
Over the years, Post 29 has enjoyed a high level of success. With George at the helm, the team captured the state title in 2012. He and his staff have 402 wins during his tenure, dating back to 2004. This year’s assistant coaches include Cole Harlan, Steve Howell, Owen Arbogast, Matt Wilson and Ron Huffman.
“We got coaching depth,” George said. “The thing about our staff is, a majority of these guys are all former players and they’re giving back. That’s what I like to do. I like to go out and get coaches that have played with us and are eager to get better and want to become coaches. The thing about our program, and all the year’s we’ve ran it, we’ve always had coaches start out here and work their way up the ladder to either be high school or college coaches in the future. That’s what we want to do. We’ve got a lot of former players that want to give back their time as coaches. A lot of these guys want to make the next step as a coach in the future.”
Elkins Post finished the 2017 campaign with 27 wins and 17 losses. The team captured its 11th straight Area 5 tourney title and earned its way into the state tournament for the 15th consecutive season.
For more information about the team call George at 304-614-7378 or visit www.elkinspost29.com for a full schedule.
The season begins today against Braxton County Post 33 at 6 p.m. at the Sue Morris Sports Complex in Glenville.