WAYNESBORO – Baseball season for high school age players doesn’t end, at least for some, at the end of May or early June.
When Waynesboro Indians players turn in their black, blue and white uniforms at the end of the spring season, the transition from high school to American Legion baseball is quick – in fact, a little earlier this year than hoped for.
The WASHS baseball team finished the season last Monday with a 5-2 loss to Ephrata in the first round of the District 3-5A playoffs, and, while some move on to Colt League, travel ball or time off from the sport, others put on the Red, White and Blue uniforms to represent Waynesboro American Legion Post 15.
The transition is unique in that players switch from a hybrid bat (aluminum and wood) to all wood.
“They have to get used to swinging the wood bat,” said manager Dan McCleaf, who enters his fourth season at that position. “High school players usually don’t have time to take a breath. They basically had three days to get ready. We practiced the day after they lost in districts.”
Before managing Post 15, a post he took over for Kevin Geesaman, who inherited the manager spot after the death of long-time manager Tom Robinson (whom the WASHS baseball field is named for), McCleaf coached while his sons progressed from T-ball through Waynesboro Youth League major division, Pony League and Colt League.
“It’s what I love to do,” McCleaf said. “I’m not tired of it yet. As long as I enjoy going out there and getting the team together.”
Getting the team together started with tryouts in April. Getting the team ready rests a lot with the players, who drive themselves (or with parents, teammates or family members) to games.
“I believe we are ready to start over and have a little help from the college guys coming in,” McCleaf said. “I think we have all the tools in place. After this year, I’m going to lose half the team. This is going to be our Swan Song and we’ll try to rebuild after this year.”
The goal for each team is to advance from the Region tournament through the state championship and beyond, all the way to the World Series in Cary, North Carolina in August.
Post 15 is a member of the Franklin County American Legion League. In addition to Waynesboro, the league includes Biglerville Post 262, Chambersburg Post 46, Fayetteville AA, Fort Loudon Post 606, Greencastle Post 373, McConnellsburg Post 561, St. Thomas Post 612 and Shippensburg Post 223.
Waynesboro Post 15 Legion baseball team kicks off their season with a Memorial Day home game vs Frederick Legion at 11:00 a.m. at Tom Robinson Field on the campus of Waynesboro Area Senior High School.
Post 15 is coming off a second-straight Franklin County American Legion League title and returns 12 players from last year’s championship team.
Waynesboro will be led by a trio of experienced arms starting with college pitchers Izzy Reed (HCC) & Bryce Shaffer (York College).
Add WASHS seniors Garrett Beaver and Luke Martin and the staff is poised to set the team up for success.
The team added some youth to the mix for future years as well. Rounding out the staff are newcomers Logan Clapsaddle, Ethan Hotchkiss, Bradley Butts and Blake Daywalt.
Waynesboro will be led at the plate by college players as well. In addition to Shaffer, Josh Clapsaddle (HCC) and Fred Guarino (Penn State Altoona) provide plenty of pop in the team’s lineup.
Returning players Garrett Blount, Jared Peck, Caden Green ad Nathan Wynkoop provide more leadership in the infield and outfield. Evan Swanson and Tyler Caron will hold down the catching duties.
Rounding out the roster and providing a big boost to the defense are the starting varsity middle infield combo of Kellan Smith and Dylan Morgan.
League play will consist of a 16-game schedule this season. The top two teams in the league will earn berths to the Region 4 tournament in Red Lion in mid-July. Waynesboro also scheduled eight non-league opponents to complete their 24-game schedule.
Blake Daywalt, Caden Green, Garrett Blount, Fred Guarino, Dylan Morgan, Kellan Smith, Logan Clapsaddle, Garrett Beaver, Ethan Hotchkiss, Nathan Wynkoop, Evan Swanson, Luke Martin, Bryce Shaffer, Bradley Butts, Josh Clapsaddle, Izzy Reed, Jared Peck, Tyler Caron
Manager – Dan McCleaf
Coaches – Jody Blount, Troy Witte and Justin Biser
Monday, May 30, Frederick, 11 a.m.
Wednesday, June 1, at Shippensburg, 6 p.m.
Friday, June 3, at Biglerville, 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 5, Laurel (Maryland), 1 and 4 p.m.
Monday, June 6, at St. Thomas, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 8, Greencastle, 6 p.m.
Friday, June 10, Fort Loudon, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 13, at McConnellsburg, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 15, at Chambersburg, 6 p.m.
Friday, June 17, Fayetteville, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 20, Chambersburg, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 21, at Fayetteville, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 22, Shippensburg, 6 p.m.
Friday, June 24-Sunday, June 26, at Frederick Tournament
Monday, June 27, McConnellsburg, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 29, at Fort Loudon, 6 p.m.
Friday, July 1, at Greencastle, 6 p.m.
Friday, July 8, St. Thomas, 6 p.m.
Monday, July 11, Biglerville, 6 p.m.