The American Legion Post 284 Buccaneers started the 2019 season on a tear, winning six of their first eight games. They head into postseason play this week with a record of 8-5.
Last week, the Bucs went 2-1. After losing to Powhatan Dirt Sox 14-4 on Tuesday, July 16, they rebounded with a 13-1 win over Lakeside/Richmond on Thursday and an 8-7 win Sunday over Mechanicsville.
Thursday’s game was the first of a scheduled doubleheader, but the second game was washed out by thunderstorms at Shepherd Stadium.
The Bucs’ bats provided plenty of electricity during their fast start.
“We have to hit, we have to hit, we have to hit,” Bucs coach Jeremy Cole said. “It’s hard to win any games with the competition we face when you’re only scoring three or four runs. We don’t have the benefit of having a dominant pitcher or any kids that throw 90 miles per hour or better.”
When clicking on all cylinders, the offense has been excellent. Drew Camp, Brandon Pond and Nate Tuck have been among the team’s primary weapons, in addition to University of Richmond commit Ricky Jones and Justin Parker, who roam the outfield.
Drew Camp, a Thomas Dale High School product who’s at Louisburg College in North Carolina, has been excellent. He leads the team in batting average at .486, home runs with three and runs batted in with 19.
Pond has driven in 13 runs and has hit at a .333 clip.
One challenge, as with any Legion teams, is attendance. Many families have summer plans, and sometimes this causes coaches to become shorthanded. Talents such as Ryan Hayzlett, Ethan Everhart and Karson Jennings have missed some time this summer.
All said, the Bucs picked a good time to have an offensive breakout with the District 11 round-robin postseason tournament coming up. In the tournament, which runs from July 23 to 25, the Bucs are seeded second.
“This tournament is a lot like March Madness; you want to peak heading into the tournament and play your best baseball there,” Cole said.