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Morgantown Post 2 returning to action but with a delayed start

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — After missing last season, the Morgantown Post 2 American Legion baseball team is returning on a delayed schedule.

The American Legion canceled all baseball tournaments in April 2020 due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but still allowed for unsanctioned play at each team’s discretion. The Morgantown Post 2 team, led by manager Tyler Barnette, did participate in organized play.

The club didn’t discover until April last year American Legion-sponsored games were not going to happen and had to scramble to decide what was going to happen. The club put together three teams with a collective 60 players and managed to schedule games. They did not have any internal issues with COVID but had several games canceled due to other clubs being flagged with positive testing.

Coming into this season, things have changed mainly due to the extension of the West Virginia high school baseball season. Typically, the high school season would have ended last weekend, but the spring seasons were delayed nearly four weeks. This has caused a delay in the full assembly of Post 2, as some players are still active with Morgantown High, which is playing in the Region I finals.

Barnette cited they are currently moving forward with their junior varsity team, but could possibly be missing about half of their roster for part of the season if MHS makes it to the state baseball tournament — set for June 25-26 in Charleston — but had some optimism.

“With the JV kids and the Junior Legion, we will have a good idea of where we are going to be moving forward,” Barnette said.

With the club’s season shortened, the schedule was heavily condensed and contains several back-to-back game days. Because of this nonstop action, the team has very little time to practice on top of the already shortened roster availability. When combining a roster of rival schools such as MHS and University, it can take some time to pick positions and lineups.

“Usually, that will take a couple of weeks to shake out and we don’t have a couple of weeks this year,” Barnette said. “We’ve got to know who our best guys are and that will happen through practice and who correlates in games.”

Barnette had some confidence, though, stating the team’s core routines do not change much from year to year. However, with the tighter schedule, everything is time-sensitive.

“If you’re early [to practice], you’re on time. Baseball is a very routine sport,” Barnette said. “Our guys are going to be in batting practice, stretching, working in the bullpen at the same time every day.”

Barnette only has one goal for this season: Compete. Some of teams they will play against have many accolades, such as the defending Maryland state champions. It is very clear the West Virginia 2019 state champions have a tough road ahead of them.

The Morgantown Post 2 American Legion baseball team starts their season on June 25 against Funkstown, Md., at Mylan Park, and will finish regular-season play on July 18. West Virginia’s Area 2 tournament will kick off the postseason on July 21, with the American Legion Baseball World Series set for Aug. 11 in Shelby, N.C.

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