The Warriors of American Legion Post 28 had an up-and-down battle this week, as they failed to clench a consistent streak. Come-from-behind wins on the part of Delaware Post 1 posed problems for the Warriors as they slipped in Saturday’s doubleheader at McKean High School. The Warriors didn’t settle, though, as they turned around on Sunday with commanding wins, 10-1 and 16-3, over VFW Post 3420.
This past Tuesday, the Warriors fell shy of a win, 0-1, after the match-up against Seaford Post 6 was postponed and rescheduled from the week before, due to inadequate lighting. The two went straight into another divisional face-off, and the Seaford gang came out ahead again, courtesy of Matt Parker and Steve Sharff.
Warrior pitcher Cameron Travalini allowed two runs on five hits and caught seven strikeouts in the subsequent 0-2 loss. Korey Hearn and lefty closer Zach Adkins combined on the mound for Post 6’s win.
The Warriors, now 8-11 on the season and 4-5 in the division, sit in third place among four teams in the South region, substantially behind Fox Post 2 (6-1-1) and the Seaford Patriots (6-3). On Thursday, July 17, (after Coastal Point press time), Post 28 was to be offered the chance to make up some ground as they faced the Milford Post 3 team, bringing up the tail end of the south.
“These are the games you really want to win,” said Warriors’ head coach Mike Casale on Tuesday. “[Seaford’s] in our own division, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t have walked away with this game today. Seaford had a good pitcher, but we really should have been hitting him after what we showed on Sunday.”
Saturday’s shaky finishes brought some frustration to the team, although Casale noted he was pleased in the team’s performance, considering five players were displaying their skills at a showcase in Georgia rather than with the Warriors on a local field.
On Sunday, said Casale, “the team came back like a firecracker. I didn’t have them for Saturday, but they came out to play.”
He noted that he has been very pleased with what Travalini has brought to the team, despite Saturday’s finishes.
“I have no doubt that, when he’s on, Cameron’s probably best pitcher in state, as well as the league,” said Casale. “He said he seemed like he was getting tight, and he didn’t get them all in that one inning [against Post 1], but he’s doing a phenomenal job. He’s really a great player.”
Casale took responsibility for not taking action earlier on Saturday.
“I blame myself for the first game,” he said. “I probably should have made a move earlier.”
In preparation for Milford and the rest of their schedule, Casale is looking to one thing in particular to turn his squad around.
“We’ve got to stop swinging for the wall, and just make base hits and send it up the middle,” he said. “I’m not worried about our pitching, and we have all-stars working he corners. C.J. [Bell] is our MVP, but he’s the only one who’s really hitting the ball. We’re getting anxious and popping the ball up. We can’t be swinging at balls that are up too high.”
As for defense, Casale said he is confident with what his team brings in the outfield.
“We just have to hit the ball,” he said. “Fielding-wise, I have no problem with the team. A couple of them are a little down on themselves for not hitting, but when we get in the groove, we can’t be touched. Baseball is made up of great pitching, solid up the middle and getting the hits. We just need that third one. When you combine the talent we have from River, Central and now Cape, we’re unstoppable.” Cape Henlopen’s Steven Walker pitched six innings this weekend, despite a stress fracture in his back.
“It’s great to have that kind of heart and determination on the team,” said Casale. “He’s a great player.”