Post 15 opens season Sunday
Mike Goodwin at helm of the team
PARKERSBURG — With eight returners from last year as well an abundance of 10 pitchers, first-time head coach Mike Goodwin feels well equipped to field an American Legion baseball team this summer for Parkersburg Post 15 that his dad Jim would like and be proud of.
Jim Goodwin was the Post 15 head coach/manager in two stints covering 31years until he died this spring after a five-year battle with cancer.
“Toward the end of his struggle, he asked me if I would please help him this summer to coach Legion,” related Mike Goodwin. “How could I say ‘no’ to a man who’s my dad that’s been an icon for the area as far as baseball goes for all those years. I was honored when he asked me, but knew he was really struggling just to live. When he passed, I wanted him to at least know I was going to take care of the kids (Post 15 players) for him.
“And that was really kind of where it started. Plus, my youngest son Kyle just graduated from PHS and I had been an assistant baseball coach at PHS for 22 years, so this was the right time to do this in dedication to my dad.”
For Mike Goodwin, who “did help dad coach Legion the summers I was in college before PHS,” his assistant coaches will be former Roane County High School head coach Jeff Thompson and former Post 15 player Joe Riley, now a college assistant at Fairmont State. “I feel really lucky to have Jeff and Joe on the staff; the kids have really responded to them.”
The 2017 Post 15 baseball team, which will open the season Sunday at home in City Park with a 1 p.m. doubleheader versus Cambridge Post 84, sports 18 players from five counties — Wood, Wirt, Pleasants, Roane and Jackson.
Starting with the outfield, “we have five or six kids who are going to see playing time there,” noted Mike Goodwin. They are returnee Josh Stephens from Williamstown High School, now at Marshall; Blake Casto and Hayden Morris, both from PHS; Ian Smith from Wirt County High School; and Cullen Cutright, also from Williamstown.
Anchoring the infield for Post 15 will be fourth-year player Kyle Goodwin at shortstop with returnee Ty Flowers from St. Marys High School at second base, backed up by Nate Suprano from Williamstown and returnee Jack Haldey from St. Marys. Rounding out the infield at the corners will be returnee Kam Mace from PHS at third base and either Max Anderson from PHS or returnee Nick Wright from Parkersburg South at first base.
But “probably what I’m most excited about is the pitching,” said Mike Goodwin. “I don’t know we’ve had this deep of a pitching staff in a while. But we’ve got five kids that are just rock solid.”
In that mound mix are what Mike Goodwin sees as “everyday starters in kind of a rotation” in returnee Wade Garrett from PHS who just finished up his freshman year at OVU, Ben Mack from Ripley High School, Cutright, Ravenwood High School’s Nathan Curtis and Stan Kinder from Roane.
And behind the plate catching will be returnee Hunter Thompson from Roane as well as St. Marys’ Jacob Hoyt.
“If practice is any indication of how our attitude is and how our commitment is, I’m really optimistic we’re going to have a good year,” said Mike Goodwin.
“I really like the depth of our pitching, and although we’re not big-time power hitters, I see speed, singles and doubles, stolen bases, small-ball opportunities and lots of bunting — the kind of ball that dad would like to play.”
As always, Post 15 will have a ceremonial color guard at City Park Sunday before the first game starts for the National Anthem. Jim Goodwin’s wife Debbie, who is Mike Goodwin’s stepmother, will throw out the first pitch, “and it’s only right,” said Mike.
POST 15 ROSTER
#1 Hayden Morris (PHS) OF
#2 Nate Suprano (Wtown) INF, C
#3 Jacob Hoyt (St. Marys), OF, C
#4 Kyle Goodwin (PHS) INF, P
#5 Max Anderson (PHS) INF, P
#7 Ty Flowers (St. Marys) INF, P
#10 Hunter Thompson (Roane Co.) C, P
#12 Kam Mace (PHS) INF
#13 Jack Hadley (St. Marys) INF, P
#14 Ian Smith (Wirt Co.) OF
#15 Blake Casto (PHS) OF
#16 Stan Kinder (Roane Co.) INF, P
#17 Nathan Curtis (Ravenswood) P
#18 Ben Mack (Ripley) P, INF
#20 Nick Wright (Park. South) INF
#22 Cullen Cutright (Wtown) P, OF
#29 Josh Stephens (Wtown/Marshall) OF, C
#39 Wade Garrett (PHS/OVU) P, INF