Legion Baseball

Post 72 stays unbeaten, takes down defending state champs


LINDEN ­— The end of the spring sports season means American Legion baseball season is here. The 2024 edition of Crawfordsville’s Byron Cox Post 72 team is off to another strong start. Through three games, Post 72 is 3-0 and faced their stiffest challenge yet Thursday night in the form of the defending state champions in Lafayette Post 11, Post 72 weathered the storm to ultimately come away with a 10-8 win.

Monday the team opened its season with a 4-0 win over Watseka, IL Post 23 and turned right back around to defeat Rantoul, IL 4-2 on Tuesday.

In the game against Lafayette, Post 72 took advantage of the Lafayette pitchers not being sharp with their command. Post 72 drew 15 walks in the game and jumped out to a  6-2 lead after three innings. With things looking good, the script would get flipped upside down in the fifth inning. Post 72 committed five errors and Lafayette added three hits to take an 8-6 lead. However, Post 72 stayed calm and poised and responded immediately in the bottom of the inning with four runs of their own to take the lead and hold on for the win.

“We don’t win this kind of game last year,” Post 72 head coach Kyle Proctor said. “Last year we would’ve folded and felt sorry for ourselves and it would’ve carried over, but tonight these guys just kept plugging away. We had some timely hits and our base running was really good tonight with us being able to take extra bases. I’m proud of the guys for putting that bad inning behind them very quickly. Our pitchers battled even through those errors. (Jackson) Grimes had to work a little extra hard to get out of that inning and the big picture we got the win over the defending state champions.”

This year’s Post 72 squad has some familiar faces with some new players who are still meshing with the returning players. Recent North Montgomery grads Jarrod Kirsch, Roman Utterback along with the Chargers Cade Cole are three local players while other Sagamore Conference players include the likes of Corbin Wells from Lebanon, Frankfort’s Oscar and Carlos Lopez and Hot Dog grad and current Franklin University Grizzly Quentcy Perry. Seeger has a trio of players on this year’s team that include Christian Holland, Luke Pluimer, and Hunter Albertson. WeBo’s Jackson Grimes and Cole Wiley, West Lafayette’s Camden Proctor, along with Crawfordsville’s Bryce Dowell and Matt Miller are other local names. Former Tri-West Bruin Reid Benner, Central Catholic’s Lucas Gerky, and Center Grove’s Connor Liford round out the full roster.

Holland and Benner combined for six of the seven hits for Post 72 as they each had three in Thursday’s win. Perry laced a 2-RBI single also.

Wells got the start and in four innings was able to strike out five and just allow two un-earned runs. Utterback came in to pitch the final two innings to secure the win and allowed just one hit while striking out three.

The busy opening week continues for the team as they ‘re right back in action at North Montgomery tonight as they host West Terre Haute before traveling to Muncie for a double-header on Saturday as it’ll be six games in seven days for the team.

“We try to play a lot early just to get us going and see where we’re at and where we need to shift some things around,” Proctor said. “We’re still without three of our guys (Miller, Dowell, and Gerky) who are playing in the semi-state. Terre Haute always has great players down there and Muncie is in our Regional so these next three games will just be another chance for us to go out and see good teams.”

The summer slate is a busy one for Post 72 as they’ll continue their season next week with a three-day tournament down in Terre Haute. Their next scheduled home game after Friday is Saturday, June 22 which will be a double-header against Clay County.