Since 1925, The American Legion has sponsored a nationwide youth baseball program. During these past seven decades, millions of young players have enjoyed playing baseball. The American Legion and their 2.8 million members have raised millions of dollars each year for players to learn the importance of teamwork, discipline, leadership and good sportsmanship. The American Legion sponsors American Legion Baseball to give players an opportunity to develop their skills, personal fitness, leadership qualities and to have fun.
In 1935 Hayes-Velhage Post 96 began participating in American Legion Baseball and in 2019 we will mark our 74th year of this outstanding component of the Four Pillars of the American Legion. Today our program supports teams in three levels, Senior, Junior, and Prep, giving players an opportunity to participate from under 15 years of age through the Senior level of under 19 years of age.
June 29, 2018 was a very special day for Post 96 baseball as all three teams participated in a triple header at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. The opposing team was Ellington, and despite the very warm weather it was a great experience for all three Post 96 teams. We look forward to another opportunity to this year.
2018 Season Highlights
Senior Legion (19U)
The Post 96 Senior Legion 19u squad finished with an overall record of 20-8, finishing in 2nd place in Zone 7, and advanced to the Connecticut state semi-finals for only the second time since 1973, the last time Post 96 won a state championship. Post 96 lost in the state championship game in 2017, and followed up that campaign with a run to the state semi-finals in 2018.
In the state tournament, West Hartford defeated South Windsor in a 13 extra inning thriller, 1-0, behind the pitching of Luke Fox (8 shutout innings) and James Gadue (5 shutout innings). Drew Hungerford (3 for 5) drove in the game winner with a single in the bottom of the 13th. The quarterfinal round brought a match up against Niantic Post 128 in a best of three series. West Hartford bested Niantic, 2 games to none. Strong pitching from Matt Beazoglou, James Gadue, Drew Hungerford and Tim Cotter carried the day for West Hartford in game two as they won 2-1 to advance to the state semi-finals, where our boys lost to Ellington 4-2 in an elimination game. In game one, Max Main had a two-run single to put West Hartford in front and break a 3-3 tie in the 6th.
Post 96 Team members were: Patrick Baron, Matt Beazoglou, Joe Celio, Tim Cotter, Ryan Farley, Luke Fox, James Gadue, Mike Giungi, Drew Hungerford, Sean Langan, Colby Lytle, Max Main, Bryan Renker, Griffin Van Rye, Paul Wilson. Coaches: Jim Hungerford, Dave Gadue, Bill Wilson, Matt Celio.
2018 West Hartford Post 96 Junior Legion (17 U)
The 2018 Post 96 Junior Legion team had a successful 20 win regular season that saw the team go all the way to the state semifinals. Playing their regular season in a tough zone 1 helped prepare the team for their strong play-off run. The team was comprised of players from Northwest, Kingswood Oxford, Hall and Conard. The team steadily improved and at one point won 7 straight games and 11 of its last 14 games. The team was led by a strong and deep pitching staff and an aggressive offense. As the season progressed, the team’s defense steadily improved and peaked during the playoff run.
The pitching staff was led by Brian Kenna, Wesley Pierce and Drew Wendorff while the offense was led by Dylan Mallinson, Will Fox, Emmett Coco as well as Kenna and Pierce. The team placed three players on the Zone All-Star team: Mallinson, Kenna and Wendorff.
The team would like to thank all the people who helped the team have a successful season including: Post 96, Coach Hungerford, Rick Sanford, Ron Fox and all the parents.
Team Members: John Cashman (NWC), Emmett Coco (Conard), Seth Ehrlich (Hall), Will Fox (Hall), Ryan Howe (Hall), Brian Kenna (Conard), Liam Langan (NWC), Chris Maglio (Conard), Dylan Mallinson (Conard), Jack McGovern (Conard), Wes Pierce (KO), Robert Schunder (Hall), Liam Stone (Hall), Brady Tober (Hall), Drew Wendorf (NWC). Head Coach - Brian Coco, Asst. Coaches - Rob Howe, Avi Ehrlich, John Cotter
2018 West Hartford Post 96 Prep Legion (15 U)
The 2018 West Hartford 15U Legion Prep season was one marked by the development of brotherhood, character, heart, and commitment. 15U Legion is the first experience for the players to play at an accelerated level of competition amongst the best players at their level in the state. The 2018 legion team, featuring the upper-echelon of 8th and 9th graders in town, took the challenge in stride and came out ready to go with an 8-2 start in the month of June. It was clear from the start that this collection of boys was special and they were going to be the team feared in Zone C.
Moving into July, injury woes and fatigue set in as the prep team hit a bit of a rough patch to open up the month. As the month moved on they regained their strength come playoff time and came up one out short of the Zone title at Avon on July 21, 2018. Despite moving into the playoffs as the 5th overall seed due to tiebreakers, it was still well known that when West Hartford put it all together. They were a team to be reckoned with to win the North Division Title. After putting together one of their best games of the season in a 13-1 mercy-victory over Windsor Locks in the first round, it was off to a rematch in the second round with number one seed Ellington. In a game where both teams knew the winner would hold the control in the North Division, Ellington came out swinging taking an early 6-0 lead and extending that to 9-1 after the 4th. With their backs against the wall, West Hartford showed their trademark heart and overpowering will and stormed back with 6 in the 5th. After getting back a few of their own in the 5th and 6th, Ellington entered the 7th confident with their 4-run lead. However, West Hartford was not done. With patience and poise, they loaded the bases yet again and began to claw their way back. After getting one more on the board, Ellington was finally able to close the door on West Hartford and propel themselves to being the eventual North Division Champions. Emotionally drained of the heartbreaking loss, West Hartford’s season came to an end the next day at home to RCP.
2018 West Hartford Post 96 Prep Legion Baseball Support
Foodshare CEO Jason Jakubowski, (Center) surrounded by Post 96 Legion Prep Baseball Team.
The Post 96 Legion Baseball Prep team spent a day volunteering at Foodshare. Under the supervision of Coaches Jack LaBranch, Brendan Smith, and Brandon Harris, the team volunteered for three hours and showed their muscle by sorting over 5000 lbs. of meat. It was definitely a team effort and every member of Hayes-Velhage Post 96 thanks them for volunteering.