By Chris Richard
Essex had an outstanding season this year in the American Legion league as Post 91 finished the season with a 28-14 record, were crowned Vermont State Champions, and finished sixth in the Northeast and roughly 36th in the country out of 3,400 teams. Post 91 is mostly fielded by students out of Essex, with a couple players from Lamoille Union H.S. and one from Mt Mansfield Union H.S. During a season that began in June, P91 co-hosted a tournament that brought in out of state teams and a few from Canada. They also competed in a Firecracker Baseball tournament, the 2018 All American Lighthouse Showcase, which had teams from all over the Northeast.
During the postseason, Post 91 went undefeated in the Vermont State Tournament at Castleton University. They went on to the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., where they opened with a 4-1 win over the Conn. state champs, Southington Post 72. In the next game, P91 was winning 2-1 over Braintree, Mass. in the seventh inning, but with two out and two strikes on the batter, he hit a fly ball that was just out of the reach of our left fielder to score three runs for the opposition. P91 ended up losing that game 4-2 to a Braintree squad that went on undefeated at regionals and represented the Northeast at the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C. this week. Post 91 was then eliminated from the regional by Shrewsbury Post 397 (the 2017 Regional Champion) in a game that was a lot closer than the score suggests. The game was 4-0 until Shrewsbury scored seven in the seventh to break the game open. Not a great way to end, but the Post 91 guys battled in every inning, every game until the last.
The Post 91 team got to experience what legion baseball is all about. Since the regional tournament, they have had a few college coaches calling in about players, they have been invited to tournaments in Missouri, Tennessee, Army West Point and also by teams competing at the regionals that want to get a crack at Post 91 on the schedule next year.
Of the players on the roster, the following players will be attending college in the fall: Nick Fitzgerald, Penn State Harrisburg; Nicholas DiLello, SUNY Cortland; Tyler Roberge, Lyndon State; Abe Koval, Lyndon State; Maverick King, New England College; Garrett Somerset, Castleton University; Ryder Thorton, Lyndon State; and Ryan Young, Williams College.