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JV, middle school players comprise majority of Legion baseball team

There are a number of familiar faces on the diamond when the South Boston-Halifax County Post 8 Junior American Legion baseball team hits the field this season. Many of the 16 players on the roster are players from this season’s successful Halifax County High School junior varsity baseball team and the Halifax County Middle School baseball team.

“It’s really pretty much the starting lineup from the high school junior varsity team,” Nelson explained.

“The jayvee team had a pretty good season. Those guys have already been playing together for a long time. Plus, we’ve sprinkled in three guys from out of town.

“I think the chemistry is good,” Nelson continued.

“These guys have played together in Dixie ball, at The Complex, or on the middle school team or the jayvee team. They know what they can do. They have been successful at the middle school level, the junior varsity level and the Dixie level.

We’re looking to roll over that success and keep going.”

The Post 8 team has one player from the Halifax County High School varsity baseball team, Tristan Howerton, on its roster.

Shane Bousman, a member of the Chatham High School varsity baseball team, is also on the roster.

Infielder Trey Watson and first baseman/pitcher Josh Briggs are members of the Bluestone High School team. Two players, Thomas Cole and Tripp Bennett, were on this season’s Halifax County Middle School team.

Nelson said one of the keys to the team’s success will be its pitching. The key figure in the team’s pitching staff is Seth Elliott.

“If Seth pitches well, that will be big factor in how well we do,” Nelson pointed out.

“A lot of it hinges on how well Seth pitches. We have depth, but he is the most polished of the six pitchers we will use.”

Also among the team’s pitchers are Ryan Powell, Justin Womack, Thomas Cole, Tyler Stephens and Briggs.

“These guys are going to throw strikes and all of them are going to help us,” Nelson pointed out.

“Thomas is young, just 14-years-old, and we’re trying to get his feet wet. He’s got a strong left-handed arm. He’s already throwing in the low 80’s. The ceiling there is real high.”

Defensively, Nelson says the team should be pretty good.

“I think we’re strong in the infield, especially up the middle with Will Harris and Dustin Crews at second base and shortstop respectively,” Nelson said.

“All around, the infield is real strong. It’s been real competitive. The guys are competing for spots. We haven’t decided yet on who is going to start.”

The outfield is a work in progress.

“I think we can use some work in the outfield,” Nelson noted.

“I think we need to be doing a better job of tracking fly balls and getting behind them. In an overall sense, I think if our pitchers throw strikes our defense will be strong enough to win games.”

Offensively, Nelson says the team does not have the power hitters that some other teams may have. But, the team does have players that will be able to put the ball in play.

“Power is probably our weakest point,” Nelson said.

“I think we will put the ball in play. We have above-average team speed. The key to our success will be to put the ball in play, “small ball” it a little bit, and keep some pressure on the opposing team.”