Post 29’s winning formula
The success of any athletic program is usually based on wins and losses.
But in the case of the Elkins Post 29 American Legion team, there’s more to the story.
Over the past 10 years Post 29, under the direction of Chris George, has not only been a consistent winner, but produced multiple collegiate players – on and off the field.
George, who has served as the team’s general manager since 2004, has maintained a successful program with hard work, dedication and surrounding himself with good baseball minds.
Several coaches from the squad have moved on to the college ranks, including Brett Ripley, who served as West Virginia Wesleyan’s manager this past spring, and Mike Miller, the current interim head man for Davis &?Elkins College.
George’s 2014 assistants – Trevor Mouser, Shane Snyder and Christian Scott – also hope to land coaching jobs once their playing days are over.
“We’ve been pretty blessed over the years to have great coaches,” George said. “Having college players assisting with the team shows our team what it will be like at the (college) level in regards to preparation and what is expected.”
This years’ squad will look to continue the winning tradition, which has resulted in 10 straight state tournament appearances, including a title in 2012 and a pair of runner-up finishes in 2010-11.
Post 29 won its 300th game under George’s leadership in Tuesday’s victory at Grantsville, Md.
With a veteran group, along with some talented youngsters, another deep run in the postseason is expected from Elkins, which is comprised of players from Elkins High, Philip Barbour, Tygarts Valley, Tucker County and Pocahontas County.
“Having so many high schools represented on this team is very important,” George said. “To draw from five different schools is something we strive to do.
“We want to go out and get players from all around the region, and that’s something we’ve been able to do over the past several years.”
Post 29 will once again play a competitive schedule this summer, going against a majority of the other Legion teams in the state.
The 24th annual Pizza Hut Hillbilly Hardball Classic is another highlight for area baseball fans, as 30 teams from West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida battle for four days.
The tournament has featured several future Major League players over the years, including current San Diego second baseman Jedd Gyorko and former Tampa Bay pitcher Travis Harper to name just a few.
Elkins Post 29 will return to the field at 7 p.m. today at Morgantown before facing Berkeley County and Jefferson County Saturday at Musselman High School.
Post 29 will not play a home game until the start of the Hillbilly Hardball Classic next Thursday.
– Sports Editor Joey Kittle can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.