By JOHN CORYER Press-Republican
---- — LAKE PLACID — The last time the Post 326 Adirondacks fielded an American Legion baseball team was in 1996.
The Adirondacks are back this season with a junior team comprised of players ages 17 and under. Rik Cassidy, who coached the Post 326 team in its previous years, is back as the head coach.
“You bet, I’m just glad to be back,” he said. “I never realized how much I missed it. I love working with the kids.
“I’m excited to get going.”
The Adirondacks are scheduled to open their season on Saturday at 11 a.m. with a home doubleheader with North Lawrence, a team from the Brasher Falls area.
The Adirondacks will be competing in the Next Level Baseball League, a 10-team wood bat league, which will include four teams from Vermont, as well as the Clinton County Junior Mariners, Whitehall, South Troy, Saratoga and the Montreal Titans.
“All the scheduling in the league is done for us and we have a lot of home games,” Cassidy said. “We expect to be competitive, but we’re very young.
“We certainly must have the youngest team in the league, We have one junior, four sophomores, seven freshmen and four eighth-graders. I never had a captain when I coached before, but I do now with junior Dillon Savage from AuSable Valley. He’s a great leader.”
Post 326’s 15-member roster includes players from Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, AuSable Valley, Ticonderoga, Crown Point and Moriah.
“It’s pretty much the same areas we used to get our kids from,” Cassidy said. “Back then, however, we also got kids from Malone because they didn’t have a Legion team at the time.”
Cassidy was pleased with the turnout at the tryouts.
“I knew we weren’t going to get the number of kids we used to because the popularity of American Legion baseball has gone down some,” he said. “Kids now have to be really committed to play and love baseball because it takes up their summer.
“But we drew 24 kids to the tryouts and I was surprised. We have kids who will be going to make an impact on their high school teams down the line.
“I wanted a younger team so I could grow with the team and the players to grow with one another. Before, our teams would seem to peak near the end of the season and we’re hoping that will again be the case. But I know there’s going to be growing pains.”
The Adirondacks, who are expecting to play a 28-game schedule, will be based in Lake Placid and will play their home games at the Horseshow Grounds.
“We should have enough pitching with players like Ryan Trudeau, Ryan Damp, Noah Mohr, Chris Williams and Chris Clarke,” Cassidy said.
The remainder of the Adirondacks roster includes Alex Brandes, Kamm Cassidy, Luke Carpenter, Connor Preston, Drew Sturgeon, Dalton Granger, Caleb Munson, Kolby Pertak and Jerrod McDougall.
Post 326 Adirondacks roster
Lake Placid- Alex Brandes, Kamm Cassidy, Luke Carpenter, Ryan Damp, Noah Mohr, Connor Preston, Chris Williams
Saranac Lake- Drew Sturgeon
AuSable Valley- Dillon Savage
Ticonderoga- Dalton Granger, Caleb Munson, Ryan Trudeau
Crown Point- Kolby Pertak
Moriah- Chris Clarke, Jerrod McDougall.