NH American Legion official sees Gill as ‘perfect venue’
“It’s Gill Stadium,” said Rick Harvey, state director for the Junior program. “It’s the best venue for American Legion baseball in the state, as far as I’m concerned. It’s centrally located in the state, has plenty of parking and has the turf surface, which is great for inclement weather. The grandstand with the roof covering is wonderful for the fans, particularly the elderly, for any type of weather. It’s really the perfect venue.”
This year’s state junior tournament is scheduled to take place at Gill from July 25-29, with rain dates built into the schedule for July 30 and 31. The Northeast Regional is set for Aug. 9-11.
The last time New Hampshire hosted the Junior Division regional was in 2010, when the tournament took place at Holman Stadium in Nashua.
With Vermont lacking enough teams to have a statewide program, five New England states are eligible to host the regional. One state backed out of participating in the current cycle, according to Harvey, so the junior regional is returning to New Hampshire a year ahead of schedule.
The division’s state tournament, meanwhile, is returning to Manchester after moving to the Doane Diamond at Concord’s Memorial Field last year to avoid a conflict at Gill with the Babe Ruth League age-13 regional.
Last summer, eligibility violations caused Post 79 to forfeit all its 2013 games, and the New Hampshire American Legion Baseball Committee suspended the post for the 2014 season.
Harvey already has said Post 79 must create a new baseball committee and replace its coaching staff, business manager and athletics officer. If those requirements are met to the satisfaction of the state committee, Harvey said, Post 79 may formally apply to rejoin the state program in November for the 2015 season.
Jutras Post, which was unable to field a team in 2013 because of a lack of players, has benefitted from Post 79’s suspension. Jutras, whose base school is Manchester High School West, also was allowed to draw players this season from Manchester High School Central, enabling it to fill its roster.
Even if Post 79 is reinstated for 2015, Harvey said, it’s unlikely there will be three American Legion Senior teams in Manchester.
“Jutras would go back to drawing players only from West High if we reinstate Post 79,” he said. “If that happened, I would hope Jutras could field a team, but it’s going to be tough. I wouldn’t mind seeing Manchester field two Legion Junior teams and two Legion Senior teams next year. That would probably be the way to go, but that’s up to Manchester to decide, not me.”
Sweeney Post also benefitted from Post 79’s suspension by drawing kids from Trinity High this year. Last season, Sweeney’s primary school was Manchester Memorial High School, while Post 79’s feeder schools were Central, the Derryfield School and Trinity.
Sweeney Post’s athletics director, Paul Lemire, said his Senior program should continue to keep Trinity and Memorial as its feeder schools.
“Giving Post 79 three high schools is not fair,” he said.
Harvey wouldn’t comment on whether Sweeney would retain Trinity next summer if Post 79 returns for the 2015 season.
“All of that will be thoroughly discussed, reviewed and decided in our annual meeting in November,” he said.
West advanced to the Eastern Regional, beginning today in Commack, N.Y.
Team members include Zachary Levesque, Colbe Moul, Jaymeson Maheux, George Smith, Rene Morin, Ethan Frenette, Cameron Tomko, Amman Mahir, Troy Cote-Ward, Justus Brady, Tyrese Harris, Josh Pare, Travis Bourque and Noah Orr. The coaches are Brian Norton, Kevin Pare and Randy Frenette.
The first day of the tournament features an 18-hole round of medal play for the junior (under-16) and intermediate (under-19) levels, and a nine-hole round of medal play for the mite (under-13) division. The tournament switches over to match play the last two days to determine its champions in all three levels.
Entry fee this season is $35. Fore more information, contact tournament chairman Doug Smith at 493-4477.