Wednesday, March 13, 2013
It was a ragtag bunch before he took over and Jimmy Huskey was dedicated to changing the culture of the Post 166 senior baseball program.
After last summer, the local American Legion squad had won five league titles and played in three state tournaments. The Huskey era has come to a close, though, with the recent announcement that he has decided to step aside. The new coach this summer will be former Post 166 assistant David Holt.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time and it’s really bittersweet to give it up,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of great kids come through. All the veterans at Post 166 have been very supportive. Our kids enjoyed being around those guys and hearing their stories.”
He recalls the year before he assumed the reins.
“We were not very good before we took over,” he said. “The year before, maybe they won one game or something. We wanted to change the culture of what they were doing.”
And that meant asking the players to make regular visits to the VA hospital and also be more involved with the veterans at Post 166.
“It was something I felt very strongly about doing because I’m a veteran myself,” Huskey said.
On the field, Post 166 played in the last two state tournaments, finishing third and fifth. Last season, it went 25-9 after dropping a pair of games by a total of three runs in the eight-team state tournament. In 2011, Post 166 went 23-13 and hosted the state tourney.
“It never hurt us that we had great players to choose from,” Huskey said.
It’s uncertain what the roster will look like for this summer but after last season all but five players were eligible to return, including ace pitcher and outfielder Zach Lavery.
Lavery was 6-0 on the mound with two saves, fashioning a 1.70 earned-run average and fanning 59 batters in 46-plus innings pitched. He also had a perfect fielding percentage from his spot in centerfield and batted .341. He had team highs with 16 stolen bases and 25 walks too.
Zack Wimmer could also be back. He led the team with a .384 batting average and drove in a team-high 39 runs.
Wimmer and Lavery are freshman players for The Citadel this spring.
Other notable players eligible to return are catcher Jordan Lacavera (.323 BA), pitcher/infielder Cody Smith (4-0 pitching record, 1.91 ERA), pitcher/infielder Tyler Rio (4-2, 3.30 ERA). Backup infielder/pitcher Darryl Klinar batted .313 in limited at-bats and also threw 18-plus innings so he could have experience this upcoming summer.