Eden Post 880’s unbeaten start aided by Springville pair
Newell - Faulkner American Legion Post 880, which is 8-0, is maintaining a roster of 18 players, combining the talents of six different school districts. Post 880 also features 13 returning players from last season, among them five who are competing in the sport at the college level. The team is based in the Eden and North Collins school districts, but there are also players sprinkled in from Lake Shore, Springville, Frontier and Gowanda high schools.
Karstedt acknowledged that, as the team’s head coach, his is not an easy task. He fills out a lineup card each game and attempts to find playing time for everyone in the group, but said that he believes the players understand the dilemma and just enjoy being part of the team.
Most of the 18 players have been present throughout a season that started in early June, but just recently got very busy with five games in three days, beginning with the first of two weekend doubleheaders on June 16. The team’s latest win, 6-5 over Jaworski’s on Monday, June 18 at Eden, was its third come-from-behind victory and second in walk-off fashion.
“The team’s been resilient so far and has shown great attitudes,” Karstedt said. “They really seem to enjoy themselves, which is what it’s all about. The camaraderie is fantastic. They were all made to feel part of this team, right at the start. The turnout is also amazing. Even when our pitchers know they have no chance to play, they’ve come to be a part of it.”
During Monday’s win, Eden senior Dan Karstedt delivered a two-out, game-winning RBI-single in the seventh, scoring North Collins senior Kyle Sherman. Karstedt finished with two hits and two RBIs and Sherman scored twice. Post 880 had tied the score at six apiece on Eden senior Todd Gardner’s ground out, plating Springville’s Matt Wolcott, who started the rally, with a one-out single.
Gardner gutted out the complete-game win, pitching four scoreless innings after Jaworski’s took a 5 – 1 lead after three. Eden scored three in the fourth, to cut the Jaworski’s lead to 5 – 4. Adding to Post 880’s offense were Eden freshman Dave Baskerville, who notched two hits, and Lake Shore junior Christ Conley, who knocked home a run on a double.
Post 880 beat Fredonia 8 – 1 and 11 – 0 in a doubleheader sweep the day prior. In game one, Springville’s Drew Scharra threw a five-hitter, striking out six, and Karstedt, Gardner and Gowanda’s Ryan Boutelle each recorded two hits. In the next game, North Collins senior sidewinder Trey Bley threw five scoreless innings of three-hit ball, which included seven strikeouts, while Frontier senior Mac Zeis led the offense with three hits. ECC freshman Vinnie Sherman added two hits and Eden graduate Derek Palmerton notched a three-run single.
On June 16, Mohawk Valley Community College freshman Mitch Williams threw a two-hit shutout and Baskerville doubled home Gardner, who was 3 for 3 at the plate, for the only run to lead Eden to a 1 – 0 win in the first game against Allegheny. In winning the second game of the doubleheader, 11 – 7, Karstedt came through with a grand slam in the sixth to break a 7 – 7 tie and Gardner picked up the win in relief.
Fredonia State freshman Ben Senior, a Lake Shore High School graduate, delivered a win for the team on the mound in the opener, beating Jaworski’s 6 – 2 and then Williams, a North Collins graduate, did the same in a 6 – 1 victory over Hamburg Post 527, which is based in St. Francis High School.
Gardner delivered a walk-off, two-run single, scoring Kyle Sherman and Wolcott in an 8 – 7 comeback victory over Orchard Park on June 13 to improve to 3 – 0. The two had pulled off a double steal to get into scoring position. Bley picked up the win in relief of Scharra, who will be a junior next year at Springville.
During the game, many players shifted from their regular positions to accommodate others and garner playing time.
North Collins graduate Vinnie Sherman returned to his starting spot at shortstop, but his coach said that this student is one of four on the team who could play the position. The coach’s son, Dan Karstedt, has played mostly third and Kyle Sherman has played at second. Regularly a catcher, Conley has been at first base and in the designated hitter spot so that his bat can stay in the lineup, while Zeis, usually a shortstop, has also played some at first. Baskerville and Boutelle have done most of the catching.
Gardner has played in center field when not pitching, while Lake Shore graduate Brian Barry, a freshman hurler at ECC who is pitching in another summer league, has played left field. The Palmerton brothers, Derek and Brad, an Eden sophomore, have both moved from their natural positions in the infield to play outfield. Wolcott, a right fielder, has been a “pleasant surprise,” according to his coach.
Eden youths Carson Gill, a junior third baseman and pitcher, and Brian Losel, a sophomore first baseman and pitcher, are first-year Legion players waiting to get their chance.
“The pitching has been solid and we’ve got a lot of it, but what I’m having the most trouble with is figuring out the lineup each game because it’s such a strong team,” said Karstedt, who is being assisted by North Collins’ Robby Catalino and longtime Eden Coach Bob Burnside.
Post 880 has utilized players from Springville before, but not often. Karstedt said he was happy to receive the call from a coach who had worked with Wolcott and Scharra before and suggested that Karsted give them a look.
“It all worked out really well,” Karstedt said. “I watched them play and was impressed. I know there’s more coming down the pipeline as well, in Springville. They’ve meshed very well with the kids from North Collins and Eden.”
Among Post 880’s returning players, Dan Kardsedt is slated to play next year at Division II Mercyhurst, while Kyle Sherman will join his older brother Vinnie at ECC and Bley will also be off to the junior college power to play for the Kats.