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New season for Legion Post 102

AHOSKIE – Coming off their best year since reforming, the Ahoskie American Legion Post 102 Senior Team will open its 2005 baseball season here at 7 p.m. Saturday night.

Post 102 remains under the direction of Randy Whitaker for the fourth consecutive year. The Senior Team qualified for the playoffs for the third year in a row last season.

In 2004, Post 102 lost to Wilson County in the eastern championship series after upsetting Rocky Mount in the first round of the playoffs.

This season, Whitaker and second-year assistant Robert Kravitz hope to put together another post-season run.

Whitaker said 11 of the 16 players on the Post 102 roster could see action on the mound, giving the team a deep pitching squad.

&uot;Pitching should be our strong point,&uot; the coach insisted. &uot;I feel very confident that they can get the job done.&uot;

Heath Britt, William Barmer and Brandon Matthews of Hertford County will all see action on the mound as will Dustin Briggs of Gates County.

Corey Castelloe, Matthew Schwab and Lance Thomas of Bertie will also bring their arms to the team.

Lawrence Academy standouts Judd Whitehead, Andrew Barber, Dusty Todd and Chad Simmons will also see time on the hill.

Post 102 also has talent at the catcher spot where Barmer, Schwab and Daniel Waters of Lawrence will all see time at that post.

Manning positions in the infield will be first basemen Castelloe, Britt and Barber and second baseman Jacob Harrell of Lawrence, Ben Bright of Gates County and Todd.

Seeing time at third base will be Austin Lawrence of Bertie, Matthews and Whitehead while as shortstop will be Todd, Bright and Britt.

Roaming the outfield for Post 102 will be Ryan Simmons of Hertford County, Briggs, Britt, Schwab, C. Simmons, Thomas and Matthews.

&uot;This is a very versatile team,&uot; Whitaker said. &uot;We have so many players that can play and play well at different positions.

&uot;We are going to be real young this season,&uot; he continued. &uot;We only have four players coming back from last year’s team.&uot;

While pitching and defense should prove to be Post 102’s mainstays, Whitaker is also pleased with the way the team swings the bat.

&uot;We have some guys who can hit consistently,&uot; noted Whitaker. &uot;Most of our players had solid seasons at the plate during the high school and college year.

&uot;We’ve got the capability to score runs and, if our defense will play solidly behind our good pitching, we have the opportunity to have a good season,&uot; he added.

This year the area will be an 11-team conference with the top eight advancing to the double-elimination American Legion playoffs.

Included in Post 102’s conference will be Edenton, Beaufort County, Snow Hill, Wayne County, Wilson County, Rocky Mount, Kinston, New Bern, Pitt County and Southern Pitt.

Ahoskie will play each team in the league twice for 20 conference games.

&uot;This is a tough conference,&uot; Whitaker admitted. &uot;Our work will be cut out for us. We will be playing good teams every night.

&uot;I think the team, after we get a couple of games under our belt, will work well together,&uot; he continued. &uot;Our main goal is to finish in the top eight in the conference.&uot;

The coach said if a team makes the playoffs, good things can happen for them.

&uot;We were fortunate enough to make the playoffs last year and made a good run,&uot; he said. &uot;Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.&uot;

Whitaker expressed thanks to the American Legion Post 102 and said he was excited about having fans support the team.

&uot;I hope the local baseball fans in our area will come out and support us,&uot; he said. &uot;I would like to thank (Post 102 Athletic Director) Wayne Meeks for making Legion baseball possible in our area. It provides something for our young men to do over the summer.&uot;

The Senior Team will host Beaufort County Saturday night before welcoming Snow Hill at 7 p.m. on Monday.