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Right back up on the horse.
That's where the 14 players who make up Big Island Post 217 find themselves.
The men had a brief respite from their school team campaigns before American Legion Baseball kicked in with a vengeance.
In the Islanders' first week, they played five games in sweltering conditions.
We're happy to report that the men did quite well for themselves.
The crew opened the season in impressive fashion, reeling off five straight wins, starting with a clobbering of visiting New River Valley by the score of 12-2.
They then headed to Rocky Mount, where they beat Post 6, by a tally of 8-2.
Against Botetourt, Post 240, the Islanders rode the strong pitching of Houston Hensley to earn a 2-0 win.
Then, in a Sunday double header against Staunton, the Islanders took an 11-1 mercy-rule shortened affair in the opener, before taking a 4-3, extra-inning affair in the nightcap.
That's five wins in six days. As a result of that nice run, it appears that this year may be another nice one for the crew.
"I'm excited," Head Coach Kelly Russell said. "We should be in every game this season."
What's most impressive is that Coach Russell is relatively restricted in where he gets to choose his players. While some teams are made up of players from as many as five different high schools, the Big Island team is primarily made up of alums and current players from Jefferson Forest and Liberty. The squad also has one member from LCA.
Something else that is quite impressive is the pitching that the team has. The depth of the staff will certainly be a factor when the post-season tourney kicks off on July 20.
Barring any unforeseen problems, the Islanders are rich in hurlers.
A look at the staff begins with Kyle Goddard. The JF grad is one of only two players on the team with college-level experience. The Christopher Newport product has a mean slider and a coolness that could have him starting or coming in from the bullpen.
The other college man is Hensley. A Liberty High grad, Hensley threw for Lynchburg College last year. He's already shown he's ready to mow down Legion batsmen. Don't discount HH from the plate: He's a heckuva hitter.
Russell also has the entire staff of the Seminole District champion JF Cavaliers at his disposal. Hampden-Sydney-bound Greg Brownson, VMI-bound Jason Stafford and supremely talented Alex Bowker are all natural starters. Plus, Christian Sanderson and Jake Kliewer were proven relief men for the Cavs last spring.
Liberty's Jordan Eubank appears to be just about back to full strength from a winter arm injury that hampered him a bit in the spring. The Patrick Henry Community College-bound Eubank is sure to make a big contribution from the mound to the Islander cause.
Michael Carter and Ryan Crist didn't see a lot of mound duty during the school year. Still, Russell sees the pair as very viable options for pitching duties at the Legion level. Crist, a lefty, was on JF's JV squad last spring, where he also batted at a .400 clip.
Jon Ryan Breeden, that cat from LCA, is yet another possibility for pitching duties, when not patrolling the outfield or belting the tar out of ol' Mr. Spaulding.
What better to go with a wealth of pitching, than a wealth of catching? Certainly, Antonio Fazio figures prominently here. The Faz owned the position for four years at JF before a knee injury derailed him. Until he's fully recuperated, however, he'll find plenty to keep him busy at first base. That he was a first-team all-Stater at first speaks volumes about his talent.
Until the Faz is fully recovered, Russell has little reason to fret. Bryan Miller, a recent JF grad, is a superb catcher whose bat has been making noise across Southern Virginia of late.
The other option is Zach Duff. Just a rising sophomore, Duff was up to the task when he was brought up toward the end of JF's season last spring. He showed himself to be more than able behind the plate and more than a danger beside it.
The field is populated with dependable gloves and noisy bats. Cal Hodgert, Eubank and Kliewer will usually cover the middle infield. Trevor Cheek, a Liberty standout, can man the hot corner. Russell calls Cheek, who's heading to Bridgewater in the fall, "as good as you'll see at that (third base) position."
The Randolph-Macon connection will figure prominently in the outfield. Mark Heideman, Mikey Wallman and Sanderson, who all prowled the outfield for JF, and who are all heading to Ashland in the fall, provide a stellar outfield presence. Add LCA's Breeden, a southpaw, and JF's rising-senior Carter, and the outfield looks stupendous for Big Island.
So far, every player has made a key, if not critical, contribution in amassing that 5-0 early-season record. In order for the Islanders to make noise in the playoffs, the guys will have to continue to contribute.
Heck, just to win the Eastern Division will be a challenge. Lynchburg (6-0 record) is loaded with players from Brookville, Glass, Amherst and other schools. Danville is always good, as is Martinsville.
Said Russell, "We just have to play our game and see what happens."