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P-31 seniors look to find key blend

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Legion baseball

By Robert Howey

The 2012 Lancaster American Legion Post 31 senior baseball team will look to blend returnees along with a host of newcomers this season.

The P-31 team, in its 69th season of Legion baseball, will be led by first-year head coach Quinton Rodgers, who has moved up from the junior team where he was an assistant last season.

The six returnees are back from the 5-10 senior team which was in the running for a postesason berth a year ago before hitting a tough slide to cap the 2011 season.

The P-31 junior team won the League V title and earned a bid to the state tournament where it finished 16-5.

The senior team returnees include Tyler Rodgers, Colt Ellis, Brien Clyburn, Jonah Crenshaw, Bobby Delly and Adam Eubanks.

Ellis, the former Buford High star who now plays at USC Lancaster, earned the Mr. Post 31 senior team award. Ellis will pitch and play third base.

Delly, who earned the Defensive Award, will play center field. Crenshaw is slated to be in left field.

Tyler Rodgers will be at first base, while Clyburn will pitch and work at third base and shortstop. Eubanks is expected to pitch and play right field.

The junior team members moving up are Kendall Knight, Chandler Neal,

Chandler Gardner, Brando Cato, Cody Cooper, Sid Watson, Tripp Wright, Seth Graves and Trey Payne.

Payne, who will catch, play third and work in the outfield, reaped the Mr. Post 31 junior team award last season.

Knight, a co-recipient of the junior team Defensive Award, is slated to work at second, third and the mound. Neal, the junior team Offensive Award winner, is set to see action at short, second and pitch.

Gardner will work at first and draw time on the mound. Cato will be in right field, while Cooper will also play in right field and see pitching duties.

Watson is set to play in left field, with Wright to handle the catching duties. Graves will also be behind the plate.

Tripp Rollings, who played with the junior team a couple of seasons back, will work at first, third and see some time on the mound. Devin Rodgers, who played at USCL this spring, will be at second base.

“Pitching will be a key factor in our season,” Rodgers said. “We have some young pitchers.

“Tripp Rollings is rehabbing from surgery and we have to bring him along slowly, but we’re hoping he can help us as the season moves on,” Rodgers said. “I feel good about our hitting because we’re pretty solid at the plate.”

Rodgers added he knows little about Fort Nill and Rock Hill.

“Fort Mill will be strong because their high school team in Class AAA played for the state title and Rock Hill is tough with quality teams on the Class AAAA level,”  Rodgers said. “I don’t know much more about the rest of the league, but I know we have to be ready each night.”

Rodgers will be assisted by Jeff Segee, Todd Ellis and Brant Barnes.

Scott Cato is the P-31 athletic officer.

 “We appreciate the support and work from Scott which helps us in a big way during the season,” Rodgers said. “He does his best to help us keep a competitive edge in Legion baseball.”