PARKERSBURG - The American Legion baseball season for Parkersburg Post 15 is scheduled to get under way with a 1 p.m. twinbill today versus Meigs Post 128 at City Park's Bennett Stump Field.
Seventh-year manager Jim Goodwin, who has been associated with Post 15 since 1975, is hoping his team can improve upon last year's 24-win campaign and Area 3 Tournament runner-up finish to eventual West Virginia state champion South Charleston Post 94.
"We're loaded with talent," said the skipper.
Post 15, which also has a home doubleheader slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday against Clarksburg Post 13, has five players - former Roane County teammates Cody Starcher (P) and Josh Wine (CF) and ex-Parkersburg Big Reds Greg Lough (3B/IF), Brett Burns (1B) and Kyle Haverty (IF/OF/P) - who are in their final year of eligibility.
"Defensively and offensively we should do pretty well," Goodwin added. "Our pitching is a little suspicious, but we think it will work itself around."
Starcher and Haverty will be expected to eat up innings this season along with Wes Mitchem, Eli Gray, Anthony Kist and Jacob Braniff. Haverty also can play infield and outfield, Kist could see time in the infield and Gray also will man the hot corner. Mitchem also has a more than capable glove at first.
American Legion Baseball - Parkersburg Post 15
1Clay WaltersINFParkersburg South
4Braxton JohnsonRFParkersburg South
7Jordan BraniffCParkersburg South
10Wes MitchemP/1BParkersburg South
13Jacob BraniffPParkersburg South
16Jacob WilcoxOFParkersburg South
18Greg Lough3B/INFParkersburg/West Virginia
21Brett Burns1BParkersburg/Marietta College
24Josh WineCFRoane County/Fairmont State
32Adam McCrayOF/1BParkersburg South
34Cody StarcherPRoane County/Fairmont State
5Kyle FleakAssistant coach
23Brad GossettAssistant coach
25Steve FleakAssistant coach
Jim ViersPost 15 Commander
June 2Meigs Post 128 (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 3Clarksburg Post 13 (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 7at St. Marys Post 79 (DH) 5:30 p.m.Dave Wilson Field
June 9Athens Post 21 (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 10Moundsville Post 3 (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 13St. Marys Post 79 (DH) 6 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 16at Cambridge Post 84 (DH) 1 p.m.Cambridge City Park
June 17at Clarksburg Post 13 (DH) 1 p.m.Frank Loria Field
June 20Cambridge Post 84 (DH) 6 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 23Washington County (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
June 24at Beckley Post 32 (DH) 1p.m.Woodrow Wilson High
June 27South Charleston Post 94 (DH) 6 p.m.Hank Greenburg Field
June 29vs. St. Clairsville Post 159 12:30 pm.Cambridge Tournament
June 29vs. St. Marys Post 79 3 p.m.Cambridge Tournament
June 30vs. Cambridge Post 84 10 a.m.Cambridge Tournament
June 30vs. Galion Post 243 12:30 p.m.Cambridge Tournament
July 1vs. TBA 10 a.m.Cambridge Tournament
July 1vs. TBA 12:30 p.m.Cambridge Tournament
July 1vs. TBA 3 p.m.Cambridge Tournament
July 1Championship Game, 5 p.m.Cambridge Tournament
July 4Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 1 p.m.Hank Greenburg Field
July 7at Moundsville Post 3 (DH) 1 p.m.John Marshall High
July 8at Meigs Post 128 (DH) 1 p.m.Meigs County High
July 11Gallipolis Post 27 (DH) 6 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
July 14at S. Charleston Post 94 (DH) 1 p.m.Sissonville High
July 15West Virginia Power (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
July 18at W.Va. Power (DH) 6 p.m.George Washington High
July 21at Bridgeport Post 68 (DH) 1 p.m.Bridgeport High
July 22Beckley Post 32 (DH) 1 p.m.Bennett Stump Field
July 24Area 3 TournamentTBA
Aug. 1American Legion State TournamentWheeling
The Post 15 roster is comprised of players from Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Williamstown, Roane County and Ripley. Goodwin, who is being assisted by Steve Fleak, Kyle Fleak and Brad Gossett, said they had 30 players in tryouts and kept 20.
"We did have to make some choices," he said. "Hopefully, we made the right choices, but some things we have to live with."
While Wine, who hit .420 for Post 15 last summer, is expected to patrol center most of the time, Goodwin also has the speedy Braxton Johnson penciled in for right field. A plethora of other players like Jacob Wilcox, Damon Ribeiro and Adam McCray could patrol left field. McCray also could see time at first while Ribeiro and Jonathon Murphy (IF) likely will be called upon to pitch this year as well.
"We've got speed in the outfield and we are fast. We are going to put some runs on the board," Goodwin noted.
Another position the seventh-year skipper doesn't have to worry about is at catcher. That's because Post 15 has the services of both Zane Marchal and Jordan Braniff.
"We're in great shape. They are two premier catchers," added Goodwin, who also said the team will play a few games at Hank Greenburg Field this summer.
The middle infield positions for Post 15 will be handled by Case Edgar, Clay Walters, Dustin Helmic and Lucas Goodwin, the manager's grandson.
In today's opener, coach Goodwin, who is quickly approaching 500 career wins, said Starcher is likely to get the nod in the season opener with Mitchem likely starting the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
"We're not really sure," said the manager when asked exactly who would be starting where in the field in the first game, but he added, "this is Brett Burns' fifth year for us and it will be a record for American Legion Post 15 and it also ties a state record."