GETTING BACK — Moran/Sylvan Beach Justin Bristol runs back to first as Smith Post first baseman Ryan Samuels catches a pickoff throw from pitcher Derrick Miller during Friday night’s District V American Legion game in Camden. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

Legion baseball season heating up with arrival of summer

Published Jun 17, 2017 at 4:10pm

The District V American Legion baseball season is under way, and Smith Post s looking to claim another District V title.

Other area teams in contention are Love Post out of Boonville, Oriskany Post, Oneida Post, Sherrill Post and Moran/Sylvan Beach.

Lee Post has been disbanded this season, while Love Post is making a return to the circuit.

District V will be split into two divisions: Navy and Air Force. Each team will play teams within their division twice and teams in the other division once for a total of 18 regular season games.

The top four teams in each division will advance to an eight-team double elimination tourney for the District V title. The tournament begins July 16-17 at the higher seed’s home field and then moves July 18-21 at Murnane Field in Utica.

The District V winner will advance to the New York State Championship tourney that will also be hosted at Murnane Field July 25-29. New to the distrirct tournament this season is that the games will only be seven innings instead of nine.

Head coach Tony Abone Jr. returns at the helm for Smith Post 24, and he has a young team this season. Entering play today, Smith Post holds a record of 6-2.

Smith lost seven starters from last season’s squad including Holland Patent graduate and Siena College’s Nico Ramos, who joined the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Matt Zakala and Zack Cortese were also among the seven starters lost.

Returning for Smith are Bryant University-commit pitcher Tyler Schoff, catcher Gavin Chambers of Adirondack, infielders Ryan Samuels, Brett Granger, Josh Wood and Dylan Breen, outfilders Derek Switzer, Shea Simons and Preston Mecca.

Newcomers to the squad include University of Albany-bound infielder Derrick Miller along with infielder Cole Donnelly, pitchers Anthony Acosta and Tyler Samuels, catcher Ben Minicozzi and infielder Zach Taylor. “As a team, we’re inexperienced,” Abone said. “We’re young, but we just got to keep working.”

Abone talked highly of his new shortstop and pitcher Miller. “Derrick is a great athlete. He’s played a lot of ball between high school and travel ball. He and Gavin (Chambers) are kind of like the glue that will hold this team together.”

Here’s a look at other area squads, as the regular season heats up:

Love Post

Making its return to District V, Love Post 406 will compete in the Air Force Division with Utica, Sherrill, Adrean, New Hartford and Oneida.

The team will be coached by Dan Cihocki and will feature all but one player from Adirondack. Love has compiled a 3-3 record.

Love is composed of utility man Sean Banks, right fielder Zack Carpenter, first baseman Collin Chase, third baseman Maxwell Dorrity, second baseman Andrew Fauvelle, first baseman Major Gaylord, outfielder Alex Gaylord, short stop Ethan Martin, catcher/center field Mitchell Martin, right fielder Kyle Martin, pitcher Shane McConnell, third baseman Austin Olesky, pitcher Sam Woodworth and catcher Zackary Yauger.

Jason Levensailor, a junior at South Lewis, will play outfield.

Moran/Sylvan Beach Post

Making its home at Camden Yards, Moran/Sylvan Beach Post 66 will feature seven returners this season.

Moran will now compete in the Navy Division after moving from the Air Force Division last season. Ilion, Smith, Helmuth-Ingalls, Whitestown, Oriskany and Clonan make up the Navy Division and Moran has compiled a 1-5 record.

Returning to the team are head coach Chris Birmingham, pitcher/first base/utilityman Daniel Birmingham, pitcher/outfielder/utilityman Whitney Cook, first baseman/utilityman Shane Critelli, pitcher/third baseman/outfielder Josh Duncan, second baseman/shortstop Hunter Holliday, second baseman Ryan Johnson and pitcher/first baseman/third baseman/outfielder Wyatt Palmer.

There are three players from Mexico and one from Altmar-Parrish-Williamstown. The three from Mexico are second baseman Carter Aurelio, pitcher/second base/third base Seth Aurelio and pitcher/first baseman Brandon Dutcher and pitcher/outfielder Justin Bristol is from APW.

Also on the team this year is infielder Matthew Bronk, outfielder Bailey Campbell, pitcher/rightfield Dakota Deasy, catcher Connor O’Hara and right fielder Austin Reising.

Oriskany Post

Oriskany Post 1448 will return all its players from last season as they return to the Navy Division alongside Ilion, Smith, Moran/Sylvan Beach, Helmuth-Ingalls, Whitestown and Clonan.

Oriskany is 2-2 this season.

Ryan Enos, Matt Enos, Dan Hurley of Westmoreland, Kyle Liddy, Dean Mealey, Tyler Murfit, Cameren Rothdiener of Westmoreland and Solomon Stevens of Whitesboro will make up the pitching staff for Oriskany.

Ryan Enos will also play second base and shortstop, while Liddy will play third base, Murfit will play catcher/utilityman and Rothdiener will also play catcher.

Austin Knowles will play first base, while Calab Hoffman and Aaron Drake will both be second basemen. Shamis Lasher will play second base and outfield and Mitchell Fedor of Westmoreland will catch.

Eric Enos returns as the head coach for Oriskany.

Sherrill Post

Making the move into the Air Force Division, Sherrill Post 230 will feature a wealth of experience as they return 11 players from last year’s roster.

Of those returning are: outfielder Timothy Horodnick, shortstop Kevin Levatino, first baseman/designated hitter Davey Moffett, pitcher Zachary Nell, catcher Nathan Palmer, shortstop Ryan Palmer, pitcher Andrew Roden, shortstop Tyler Rotach, second baseman Dylan Shlotzhauer, pitcher Blake VanDreason and pitcher/first baseman/left fielder Connor VanDreason.

Making their debut to Sherrill this season are catcher Bryce Cousin, pitcher Anthony Farina, catcher Jacob Horodnick, catcher Alexander Kipp, pitcher Alec Musacchio and shortstop Ryan Shantal.

Sherrill will play alongside Utica, Love, Adrean, New Hartford and Oneida in the Air Force Division. So far this season, they’ve compiled a 5-0 record. Sherrill will be coached by Barry VanDreason.

Oneida Post

Oneida Post 169 will look to bring another baseball title to the city of Oneida as members from the Section III Class B title-winning team gear up for legion baseball.

Members on that winning Section III team were: utility man Lukas Albro, pitcher/catcher/right fielder Jorden Barlow, pitcher/first baseman Ryan Chevier, pitcher/second baseman James Dick, second base/third baseman Henry Froass, utility man Zach LaQuay, utility man Vin Leibl, pitcher Logan McClelland and utility man Tanner Williams.

Head coach Ryan Kramer, who was also on the Section III Class B champion team, will be at the helm for Oneida Post.

Returning to Oneida are second/third baseman Mitchell Foster and utility man John Sadowski.

Utilityman Ty D’Arcangelis, first baseman Jimmy Gallagher, outfielder Nate Jennings and outfielder Will Merrell, all of Oneida, are new to the team this season. Newcomer pitcher Sam DiGeorge joins the team from Canastota.

Like Sherrill, Oneida made the move from the Navy Division to the Air Force Division. They will play alongside Utica, Love, Adrean and New Hartford. The team has compiled a 1-3 record.