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With a plethora of players back from last season and some key newcomers, the Shelbyville American Legion Post 37 baseball team will try to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 this summer.
Post 37, which captured its sixth state championship in 2012 but went just 12-15 last year, opens its season Sunday. Shelbyville will host Rockport (Ind.) at 2 p.m. at Clear Creek Park, which is also the site of this year’s state tournament.
“What kind of team will we have? I’m not sure, but I hope we can be pretty good,” long-time Post 37 Manager Jim Wiley said. “We do have several guys back from last year [though].”
Included among those are 2013 Collins High School graduates Dan Sanders, Buddy Johnson and David Decker, all of whom were on college rosters this past spring. Johnson, a pitcher-infielder, redshirted this season for the University of Southern Indiana, which won the NCAA Division II national championship.
Also returning for Post 37 are recent CHS graduates Zac Wiley, Mason Jeffries and Paul Miller as well as Collins rising senior Alex Doyle and rising junior Will McDonald. Wiley, the co-8th Region Player of the Year who hit .500 and was 10-2 with one save and a 1.25 earned-run average on the mound this season for the Titans, has signed with Bellarmine University while Jeffries, who hit .400 and was 4-0 on the mound this spring, has signed with the University of the Cumberlands. Miller, who hit .373 and was 7-1 with a 1.92 ERA on the mound for the Titans, is undecided on his college choice. McDonald, meanwhile, hit .412 and was 4-0 on the mound for Collins, which won its second consecutive 30th District Tournament title and finished the season 28-4.
Other returnees include 2013 Trinity graduate Yancey Pritchett, recent South Oldham grads Eddie Mathis and Drew Greenwood, 2013 Spencer County graduate Lance Shelton and rising Spencer senior Nathan Conard. Shelton played at Berea College this past season.
Four key newcomers include recent Shelby County graduate Kipp Moore, SCHS rising senior Kyler Dugle (who hit .314 and was 5-1 with a 1.07 ERA this season), Collins rising senior E.J. Burk (who hit .374 this season) and recent Trinity graduate Brady Pfaadt. Moore, the co-8th Region Player of the Year with Wiley, hit .444 and went 4-1 with one save and a 1.34 ERA on the mound this season for the Rockets and has signed with Murray State.
Post 37 will almost be like Bellarmine University East as the team will feature five future Knights – Wiley, Greenwood, Mathis, Pfaadt and Pritchett. Wiley, Greenwood, Mathis and Pfaadt will be freshmen this fall, while Pritchett is transferring to Bellarmine after spending his freshman year at the University of Cincinnati.
One of Shelbyville’s strengths should be its pitching with Sanders, Wiley, Moore, Johnson, Mathis, Shelton, Pritchett and Miller to name a several.
“We’re just getting started, but with the experience I’ve had in the past, I know it takes a little while for things to come together,” Jim Wiley said.
American Legion baseball team
ROSTER (players listed with last school attended)
E.J. Burk (Collins); Nathan Conard (Spencer County); David Decker (Collins/Rend Lake College); Alex Doyle (Collins); Kyler Dugle (Shelby County); Drew Greenwood (South Oldham); Mason Jeffries (Collins); Buddy Johnson (Collins/University of Southern Indiana); Eddie Mathis (South Oldham); Will McDonald (Collins); Paul Miller (Collins); Kipp Moore (Shelby County); Brady Pfaadt (Trinity); Yancey Pritchett (Trinity/Cincinnati); Dan Sanders (Collins, Spalding); Lance Shelton (Spencer County/Berea College); Zac Wiley (Collins).
Manager: Jim Wiley.
Assistant coaches: Donnie Williams, Matt Buresh, Roy Bailey, Mike Cresap.
8 – ROCKPORT (IND.), 2 p.m.; 10 – at Campbellsville, 5:30 p.m.; 12-15 – SHELBYVILLE TOURNAMENT, TBA; 17 – at Danville, 6 p.m.; 18 – MADISON (IND.), 6 p.m.; 19 – SCOTT COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 21 – PRINCETON (IND.)-x, 1 p.m.; 22 – at Morehead, 2 p.m.; 24 – LEXINGTON, 6 p.m.; 26-29 – at Paducah Tournament, TBA.
2 – SOMERSET, 6 p.m.; 3 – METCALFE COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 5 – at Evansville (Ind.)-x, 2 p.m.; 6 – at Rockport (Ind.), 2 p.m.; 8 – at Floyds Knobs (Ind.), 6 p.m.; 10 – CAMPBELLSVILLE, 5:30 p.m.; 12 – vs. Paducah-x at the University of Kentucky, 1 p.m.; 13 – NORTHERN KENTUCKY, TBA; 15 – MADISON (IND.), 6 p.m.; 16 – DANVILLE, 6 p.m.; 17 – at Metcalfe County, 5 p.m.; 19 – EVANSVILLE (IND.); 21-25 – District Tournament at Danville, TBA; July 28-Aug. 2 – STATE TOURNAMENT.
5-9 – National Tournament at Shelby, N.C.
Home games in CAPS. x-denotes doubleheader.