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Post 28 Fielding A Team for 2024 Season

By Aaron Mushrush. Cape Gazette, 06/09/24, 6:45AM EDT


Post 28 Oak Orchard Fielding a Team for 2024


American Legion Post 28 fielding baseball team for 2024 season

Cape, Sussex Central, Sussex Tech, Sussex Academy, IR, Delmarva Christian players welcome

Delaware Post 1 secured the 2023 championship despite rain delays against Stahl Post 30. The former comprises Saint Mark’s players, while the Stahl Post 30 will become the eighth baseball program inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame during the Wilmington Blue Rocks June 19 home game against the Aberdeen Iron Birds. Shown in back are (l-r) coach Ray Piekarski, head coach Tommy Freeland, Zach Czarnecki, Steven Mann, Kyle Reader, John Klepacki, Todd Gilardi, Andrew Shute, Brett Walmsley, Tyler Satterfield, Cam Coco, Chase Thorton, coach Joey Potts and Jon Castro. In front are Dylan Pirrung, Solomon Abdullah, Tyler Pirrung, Chase Fleming, Garrett Quinn, Tyler Mosher and Shawn Satterfield. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Aaron R. Mushrush

June 6, 2024

The bat signal has gone up in Sussex County.

No, not the bat symbol that spurs a zealous vigilante into action, but a call to all baseball players in and around the Cape Region, born between 2005 and 2011, wanting to face varsity-level competition this summer. 

Bob Manelski, chair of the Delaware American Legion Baseball Committee, coached the Charles Durney Post 27 team for several years and moved to the Cape Region during the pandemic. By that time, several of the American Legion teams in Sussex County had already folded or would fold during the lockdowns. Elected to his position for the 2024 season, Manelski is hoping to resurrect a few programs in Sussex County, but is focusing on American Legion Post 28 in Oak Orchard for 2024.

“We’ve got [Post] 28 agreeing to have a team this year, and our problem is that we need to recruit ballplayers,” Manelski said. “The high schools available here – Cape, Central, Tech, Delmarva Christian, Sussex Academy and Indian River – can all play for Post 28 because it’s the closest team in the area.”

The tradition of American Legion baseball is woven into the fabric of America’s pastime, turning 100 years old in 2025; roster construction is similar to the town teams of yesteryear. Traditionally, the Oak Orchard branch would comprise Sussex Central and IR players while Cape athletes would represent Post 17. Sussex Academy, Sussex Tech and Delmarva Christian players would play for the post closest to their address. For now, Manelski just needs to build out Post 28.

“[Post] 28 has been gracious; they've been wanting to start a team for a couple years,” Manelski said. “Next year, I'm concentrating on Post 17; I'm also trying to get Seaford and Milford back in.”

Preliminary discussions with Post 28 have indicated the fifth-largest post in the country is willing to assist with affordability.

“They’re pretty much going to pay for most of it, so the fees are not going to be that high,” Manelski said.

He believes the cost will be around $100, covering registration and uniforms, but the cost varies from post to post, maxing out at about $300. Manelski noted it would be far less than the cost of travel ball, and he thinks the benefits of consistently facing high-level competition locally far outweighs playing in tournaments that can be several hours away. Legion baseball is also attempting to avoid scheduling conflicts in 2024.

“We’re moving most of the games, if at all possible, to Monday through Thursday so the kids have Friday, Saturday and Sunday either for work or for travel,” Manelski said.

Players aged 13-19 are eligible to play for Post 28, whose home games will be played at Delmarva Christian HS in an effort to minimize commutes through congested areas. An 18-man roster needs to be submitted by Tuesday, June 25, and the team currently in need of players. The first game is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, June 13, at Saint Mark’s High School in Wilmington. Steve Newman has been tabbed as the head coach, and Manelski said they are looking for more volunteer coaches.

Anyone interested in playing can register online at or call Newman for details at 302-236-5435.

According to Manelski, more than half of all Major League Baseball players have participated in American Legion baseball.