Two years ago American Legion Byron Cox Post 72 baseball were the runners up in the state tournament. Last summer it was a small step backwards for the team after posting a 13-17 record. Now with a lot of returning players who are older and a wave of new talent, Post 72 looks to make some more noise when they begin their summer season on Sunday at North Montgomery with a double-header against Danville, IN.
Kyle Proctor returns for his 6th season as coach of Post 72. The team is full with 17 players and most of them, local baseball fans will know pretty well. The team features five North Montgomery players in Jarrod Kirsch, Ross Dyson, Roman Utterback, Dylan Braun, and Brookes Walters. A trio of Crawfordsville Athenians in Bryce Dowell, Kaiden Underwood and AJ Hall are also on the squad. A total of five Frankfort players join Post 72 for their first seasons with the team. Ace Jose Lopez along with Oscar Lopez, and Quentcy Perry join former Hot Dog players Deacon Spencer (currently in the transfer portal) and Jayden Skinner (William Cary College). Fountain Central’s Lukas MIller, Covington’s Karver Fye, West Lafayette’s Camden Proctor round out the high school players for the team. Two more college players round out the 17-man roster as former Greencastle Tiger Cub Keifer Wilson (Olney Central) and Wabash’s Will McKinzie (Brownsburg) provide Post 72 with some experience.
“Last year we had a lot of 16-year old kids playing against mostly 19 year olds and that’s hard to do,” Proctor said of last summer. “You add in some injuries we had to deal with and we were a little disappointed with how things went. Six of those guys from last year’s team are back and we got three college kids this year which makes us a much more experienced team than last year.”
Another added benefit to this year’s Post 72 squad is that they will be loaded with pitching depth. Lopez and Kirsch are both First-Team All-Sagamore Conference performers from this spring. Dowell once he was back from injury was an All-SAC 2nd team player as well. Miller was Fountain Central’s No.1 on the mound this spring and Utterback gave the Chargers some good innings as well. That’s just the tip of the iceberg according to Proctor.
“12 of our 17 guys can be used on the mound,” Proctor added. “We’ll figure out our rotation as it goes along but it’s a very good problem to have. Jarrod had an amazing junior year so I think he’ll be our No. 1 for the time being. Keifer Wilson was one heck of a player for Greencastle then you throw in Dowell, Miller, Deacon Spencer and more guys and the good old saying is you can never have too much pitching especially when you play the amount of games we do in a short amount of time.”
The schedule for Post 72 is busy as usual. It’ll feature six home games which will all be played at North Montgomery again this summer. The June slate will be highlighted with Post 72’s home tournament June 22-25 when they welcome Rantoul, IL, Crown Point, and Madisonville, KY. June 15-18 they’ll head down to Terre Haute for a tournament with teams from Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois. June 28-July 2 they’ll travel over to Lancaster, OH for one final tournament before begin to ramp up for the post-season.
This year Post 72 will have the luxury of hosting the Regional tournament which takes place July 13-16. The winners of each Regional tournament then move on to the State Tournament.
“Getting to host the Regional is huge for us for a variety of reasons,” Proctor said. “We’d travel to Terre Haute and back all one in day then have to do it again the very next day. It’s big for our program too because in order to host the state tournament you have to host a regional.”
With a much older team this summer, Post 72 has their eyes set on big things and a much improved 2023 season.
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