Post 26's boys of summer return to the field

·5 min read

Jun. 5—One of the area's favorite rites of summer is returning this week after a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

American Legion baseball is back, and Aiken Post 26 is fielding three teams under manager David Savage for a regular season that begins Monday.

The 19-and-under seniors and 17-and-under juniors are back for another summer, and now there's a 15-and-under squad that's been added to the mix.

That means a busy summer of baseball in the area as the locals take on some high-level competition throughout the state.

"It gives the kids an opportunity to play American Legion," said Savage. "... They get to play other communities. They get to go to North Augusta, Strom Thurmond, Camden, Newberry. We go all over the place playing. It's always fun to represent Aiken playing these other communities."

The teams have a new home for the summer as Aiken High undergoes field maintenance. Savage said Bob Polewski and Michael Baker stepped up to the plate and made available South Aiken's Lumber Yard for the senior and junior teams, and Jessica Campbell and Jeff Metz "bent over backwards" to offer a field at Citizens Park for the 15-and-unders.

Savage also needed to find some coaches, so he reached out to a player he used to coach when he was a pre-teen — former South Aiken great Andrew Faulker, who played for the Texas Rangers in 2015-16. He agreed, and he requested his former high school coach Polewski as his assistant.

"He fine-tunes them," Savage explained. "These kids already can play. They know the game, but he teaches them the finer points of what to expect at the next level.

"I actually had two pitchers that were not going to play this summer, but when they heard Andrew was coaching they came up and signed up. They wanted Andrew to work with them, because you know he's a Major League Baseball pitcher so of course they wanted that. Having Coach Polewski being a legend at South Aiken on that older team, that drew kids as well."

T-Breds head coach Baker will coach the juniors on his home field, with Tim Roberts as his assistant.

The new 15-and-under team is already a hit, with so many kids showing up for the tryout that they couldn't keep them all for the 18-player roster. Savage attributed a lot of that to them wanting to play for head coach Richard Abney. He'll be assisted by Clay Whitt, Zach Holley and Kyle Blum as they groom what Savage hopes will be a group that plays Legion ball all the way through to the senior roster.

"What we're trying to do is get these kids involved in Legion at an early age so they continue to play as they get older," he said. "Get them hooked early so they see the value in playing other communities and other competition. They're going to find out real quick when they go to these other cities that the competition gets pretty stiff, especially the older you get."

The teams wrapped up their preseason preparations with games this weekend, and the five-week season begins in earnest this week. All three teams begin regular season play Tuesday. The playoffs are scheduled to begin in mid-July.

Schedules/Rosters

Post 26 Seniors

all home games scheduled for 7 p.m. at South Aiken

June 8 — at Lexington

June 9 — vs. Lexington

June 14 — at West Columbia

June 16 — vs. West Columbia

June 18 — vs. Evans

June 22 — at Chapin Newberry

June 23 — vs. Williamson, at SRP Park

June 25 — at Chapin Newberry

June 28 — at Evans

June 29 — vs. Camden

July 1 — at Camden

July 5 — vs. Richland

July 7 — at Richland

Player Name, School

Emmett Adams, Fox Creek

Caleb Baynham, Fox Creek

Peyton Boozer, South Aiken

Rushton Bowles, USC Salkehatchie (Aiken)

Charles Herring, USC Lancaster (Aiken)

Christopher Holley, Claflin (Silver Bluff)

Kenny Miller, Fox Creek

Austin Paradise, Columbia International (Midland Valley)

Ethan Power, Midland Valley

Joshua Quill, South Aiken

Jalen Raysor, South Aiken

Jacob Rushton, Strom Thurmond

Luke Stringfield, Aiken

Levi Taylor, Strom Thurmond

Hunter Thomas, Silver Bluff

Post 26 Juniors

all home games are scheduled for 7 p.m. at South Aiken

June 8 — at Edgefield

June 9 — vs. Gray

June 15 — vs. Northside

June 17 — at North Augusta

June 21 — vs. Irmo

June 22 — vs. North Augusta

June 24 — vs. Evans, at SRP Park

June 29 — vs. North Augusta

July 1 — at Edgefield

July 5 — at Richland

July 6 — vs. Edgefield

July 8 — at Lexington

Player Name, School

Justin Acord, Midland Valley

Christopher Atkinson, South Aiken

Jayden Baker, Midland Valley

Jacob Butler, South Aiken

Cameron Davis, Aiken

Jameson Finney, South Aiken

Jordan Gibson, Ridge Spring-Monetta

Jackson Hammett, South Aiken

Cody Hutto, Midland Valley

Preston McNair, Midland Valley

Caleb Miller, South Aiken

Dylan Miller, Fox Creek

Austin Verant, Midland Valley

Post 26 Junior 15u

all home games are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Citizens Park

June 2 — at Batesburg-Leesville

June 3 — vs. North Augusta

June 8 — at North Augusta

June 10 — vs. North Augusta

June 15 — vs. Ninety Six

June 17 — at Ninety Six

June 18 — at Lexington

June 21 — vs. Gray

June 23 — vs. Richland

June 25 — vs. Lexington

June 28 — at Gray

June 29 — at Greenwood

July 1 — vs. Greenwood

July 6 — at Emerald

July 8 — vs. Emerald

Player Name, School

Curtis B. Anderson, P-27

Thomas Baker, South Aiken

Ethan Bentley, South Aiken

Tucker Bryan, South Aiken

Jaxon Flowers, Aiken

Will Haltiwanger, South Aiken

William Hicks, Midland Valley

Chris Kinard, South Aiken

Landen Kirkbride, Horse Creek Academy

Andruw Kirkland, South Aiken

Stephen Platte, Horse Creek Academy

Audyn Randall, Midland Valley

Duncan Staniszewski, Aiken

Carver Vaughn, Aiken

Chance Weathersbee, Midland Valley

Jackson Wright, Midland Valley

Cross Yarborough, Aiken

Watson Youmans, South Aiken

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