By Tim Lima
---- — ROWLEY — Now that the ping of aluminum bats at the high schools have all but been subdued, many of the area’s best baseball players have joined together to compete as part of the summer’s Post 150 Legion Baseball team.
The opportunity gives some new graduates an opportunity to fine-tune their craft before heading to compete in college, while allowing others to prepare and improve for next year’s high school season. But the team and its season is anything but lackluster, for the level of competition and the compact schedule work to keep the baseball competitive.
“The Legion level that we play at is comparable to a Division III or a Division II college level,” said Post 150 head coach Tim Southall. “It gets the guys ready for the next step. Playing every day will only get you better, so I try to schedule as many games as we can.”
With three games — and three wins — already under its belt in the wooden bat league, the team will play 17 more before July 15: a compact schedule that leaves off days at a premium.
After opening with two games against Haverhill on consecutive days, Post 150 took an unblemished record into its contest with Danvers on Tuesday and received a strong effort from St. John’s Prep standout pitcher Evan Roberts.
Roberts has been regarded by many as the best high school pitcher in the state for his composure and relentlessness on the mound, and for the numbers he posted as a result. Though Prep lost to Bridgewater-Raynham and Braintree to be eliminated from the Super 8 baseball tournament, Roberts was its star — pitching a three-hit shutout performance in round one against Lowell.
“I expect more great things,” Southall said. “He’s a great competitor, he’s had a great high school season and I’m sure that will carry over into Legion. He pitched for us against Danvers and gave us six shutout innings and the win. We’re looking forward to more of that this summer.”
Shutout baseball is nothing new for Roberts, who took a perfect 7-0 record into the month of June after allowing just two runs on the season. After his Legion season is completed, he will be heading to Davidson to play Division I college baseball.
Southall hopes that Roberts, along with the rest of his very talented roster, will give his team a shot at competing for a World Series — though the focus still remains on the task at hand.
“We are in District 8,” Southall said. “What they do is the top four teams in D-8 are entered into a round robin tournament. One winner comes out of that and qualifies for the double-elimination state tournament, which is held in Sudbury at the end of July. The winner of that then goes to regionals, then the World Series.
“But we look to take it one step at a time,” he continued. “Every year our goal is to get in the playoffs — something we have had a lot of success with, making it the past six years. It’s quite an accomplishment with all of the competition in D-8. But goal one for us is to get in the playoffs, and goal two is to get into the state tournament. We will see what happens from there.”
Post 150 will take on Saugus at home at 6 tonight. The team plays its home games at Eiras Park in Rowley, which sits just behind the police station.
Post 150 Team Roster
Coaches: Head Coach Tim Southall, Assistant Coach Tom Cashman, Assistant Coach Ryan Browner, General Manager Mike Quinn.
Players: Bobby Barry (Pentucket), Pat Beaton (Pentucket), Justin Cashman (Triton), Tyler Chaisson (SJP), Colton Fontaine (Newburyport), Ralph Francesconi (Whittier Tech), Robert Hallowell (Pentucket), Colby Ingraham (Georgetown), Ryan Kuchar (Pentucket), Joseph Levasseur (Bishop Fenwick), Connor Macrae (Newburyport), Rosario Missiti (SJP), Evan Roberts (SJP), Daniel Rose (SJP), Patrick Slack (Georgetown), Austin Toohey (Whittier Tech), Cameron Toohey (Berwick Academy)