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Clark County Sports

June 12, 2014

AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL: Post 42 back to summer games

Floyds Knobs hosts tournament this weekend

FLOYDS KNOBS —  There is a different feeling around the Floyd Knobs American Legion Post 42 baseball team in 2014.

Even with one of the youngest rosters in team history, Post 42 still believes it will still share its recent success.  

“We have built something really good here,” head coach Ricky Romans said. “We are in a position to where we always expect to win the region and move forward in the state tournament.”

Romans is in his seventh year coaching Post 42.

“The neat thing about this is the opportunity to bring guys together from different schools and watching them come together and strive for success,” Romans said. “Everyone here loves baseball. The difference is in high school you play, because it’s that season. Here you play because you want to learn and love the game.”

Romans — the varsity coach of Charlestown’s baseball team — is considered a baseball guru, and for a lot of the kids, he is the reason they want to play for Floyd Knobs.

“I was told [by my college coach] to not take the summer off,” said Floyd Central graduate Mike Springer, who will continue his baseball career at IU Southeast in 2015. “I looked around and decided to come here and learn from [Romans]. Some of the former players said that I would best sharpen my skills under Coach.”

Assistant coach and Post 42 founder Jamie Knight also sang high praise for Romans.

“When I hired him, I did because of his great knowledge of the game,” Knight said.

Knight, who recently complete his first season as the Clarksville High School varsity coach, is also in his seventh year as general manager of Post 42, and doesn’t see an ending in his near future.

“I love this,” he said. “I enjoy giving these kids a chance to play good competition and to be around kids who are playing at the next level. This is the real reason I started this thing, so these kids can learn.”

Knight has seen his work come to fruition. Former Clarksville General Nathaniel Jones played two seasons for Post 42. During his high school career Jones didn’t get much exposure and wasn’t receiving any attention from colleges. Playing for the Floyd Knobs summer team gave him the exposure he needed. Next season will be his second at Southeastern Illinois.

“I got great exposure,” Jones said. “I came here not knowing what to expect and I gained a different perspective and learned several techniques from the different coaches. It gave me a chance to be seen and now I’m playing college ball.”

Learning could be the theme for this year’s Post 42 squad. With just five returning players and a bakers dozen new guys, there could be a lot of learning to do. With a flock of newcomers, chemistry could be an issue, but according to clubhouse chemistry never seems to be a problem.

“Most of these kids have all played together or against each other at some point,” Romans said. “It doesn’t matter what school they come from, when they come here, they all know what the common goal is.”

“By the first road trip, everyone will be friends,” Knight added.

The players feel the same way. They all look forward to playing with the best kids in the area and don’t see it as competition for playing time.

“I love the camaraderie here,” Charlestown junior Drew Reich said. “I’ve never experienced this level before. That is what this is for. We are all learning, building friendships and playing baseball.”

Although youth could play a big part in Post 42’s season, no one is going to use it as an excuse. Everyone is still expecting to win.

“I’m just here to help win,” Springer said. “As [one of] the oldest, I’m going to try to be a leader. I want to lead this team to our goals, which are to win region and get past Terre Haute.”

Terre Haute has halted the Floyd Knobs’ run the last two seasons. The Wayne Newton Post 346 state champions have stepped the four-time sectional champions both years.

Post 42’s season will kick into full gear this weekend with the second-annual Post 42 Invitational. They open today at 10 a.m. against Seymour. The tournament also consists of Washington and Owensboro, Ky. Floyd Knobs won the tournament last year and looks to get the 2014 season off to a good start.

“This isn’t the best competition we’ll see all year,” Romans said. “This tournament has good teams to start the season with.”

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