The American Legion Post 188 baseball game scheduled for Thursday, June 5, at against Wareham Post 220 at 5:45 PM has been postponed. The team will open the season on Sunday, June 8, when they will host Barnstable Post 206 at Fenton Field at Sandwich High School at 5 PM. Thursday's game against Wareham Post 220 will be played at a yet to be determined date.
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Sandwich American Legion Post 188 opens the summer baseball season on Thursday, June 5 at 5:45 at Doran Park on the campus of Upper Cape Tech. The team this year will be led by coach KJ Kozens, who played for Post 188 from 2002-04 and in 2002 was a part of the team that won the state tournament, before losing to New Hampshire in the regional finals. After four seasons playing baseball at Falmouth High, Kozens played second base for the Polar Bears of Bowdoin College for four years. He also played in the Cranberry League for three seasons. He currently lives in Sandwich and is a teacher at Bourne High School, where he has coached both the Canalmen junior varsity baseball and hockey teams.
Kozens was an assistant coach for Post 188 from 2009-11. Twice during those years the team won the District 10 title, reaching the state tournament in 2010.
This summer Post 188 will have a roster of 18, with nine returning players. Coming back is Sandwich High senior outfielder Johnny Stanton, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball for the Southern New Hampshire University Penmen next year.
“Johnny is one of those guys that we will count on this season,” Kozens said. “He is a veteran and has a big bat.”
Joe Commesso will be back for another season with the team. He is just finishing his first season playing baseball for the Massasoit Community College Warriors after playing his senior season with Bourne.
“Joe is another veteran we will count on,” the coach said. “He had a great freshman year at Massasoit playing first base and at DH. We will be looking for his leadership and maturity and his help in driving the team’s focus and energy.”
Bourne High School senior Jimmy Commesso is returning for another season on the diamond with Post 188.
“Jimmy brings some good defense,” Kozens said. “He swings the bat pretty well. We’re hoping to see him continue to play the way he played at Bourne at the end of the season.”
Right-handed pitcher Danny O’Kane, a senior from Bourne High, is also back for another year.
“Danny is a veteran and it’s crucial for him to have a good year for us,” Kozens said. “He was a starter for Bourne for the past three years. We are counting on him for some quality innings.”
Bourne High School junior MacGregor Nickerson is also back this summer.
“MacGregor started for Bourne and is very important to our season,” the coach said. “He is another righty and he should be very helpful for us.”
Tabor Academy junior infielder Zach Bannon will be back with the team this summer.
“Tabor won the Central New England Prep School Baseball League Championship this spring,” the coach said. “Zach played a big role. He bats left-handed and can pitch.”
A senior from Sturgis East, Luke Chevalier is back this season.
“Luke is smooth and confident,” Kozens said. “He’ll play the infield and probably see a good number of innings on the mound. He swings a good bat.”
Sturgis West senior Finn Swenson will be back behind the plate for Post 188 this summer.
“Finn saw a lot of time last year at catcher,” the coach said. “He is a smart player with a lot of savvy, who swings a strong bat.”
Outfielder Kevin Marsh from Sandwich attends Pope John Paul II High School and is the ninth player returning to the team this summer.
“Kevin has been a starter all season for Pope John Paul II,” Kozens said. “He is a strong defensive player and swings a heavy bat. The ball just jumps off his bat.”
Falmouth High School has four players joining Post 188 this summer for the first time. Junior Mike Couhig, sophomore Emmet Kelliher and freshmen Nick Couhig and Drew Boli.
“Mike is a left-handed pitcher and really swings the bat well,” coach Kozens said. “Emmett plays first base. He throws lefty and bats from the right side. He brings a good knowledge of the game. Nick is a young, talented player who should see a lot of minutes in the field. He is a right-handed pitcher, who really throws the ball well. Drew played on the freshman team at Falmouth High School. Right now he is a role player. He swings the bat very well, with good power.”
Two first-year players from the Sandwich Blue Knights will join the team. Sophomore infielder Brady Doherty and sophomore pitcher Will Crowther are both expected to see plenty of game time.
“Doherty is a great defender,” Kozens said. “He seems like a nice number two hitter. Crowther is a left-handed pitcher, who could see some time at first base. He is a talented pitcher and has good velocity.”
Pope John Paul II senior infielder Colin Russell along with junior Coleman Fenton and sophomore Joe Oriola will join the team this summer.
“Colin has played third base for Pope John Paul this spring and we’re looking for big things from him this summer,” the coach said. “He swings a nice bat and throws the ball well. He is going to Eastern Connecticut this fall. That’s a good baseball school. They are traditionally one of the top five teams in New England. Right now Coleman is the backup catcher for Pope John Paul. He hits from the left side and swings a good bat. He is very sharp behind the plate, he receives the ball well and has a good arm. Joe, like Colin is from Sandwich. He is young and on most high school teams he would be a starter. He hits well and throws the ball well off the mound.”
Kozens will be assisted by coaches Mike Stanton and Jason Reid.
“I am extremely excited about the upcoming season and eager to see what our team can do on the field,” Kozens said. “We have a great core of kids returning to the program as well as some new additions that I believe will be very important to this year’s success. It is very hard right now to say who will be doing what for us, but I do know that the competition will be great for getting the best out of each player. There is a lot of depth to our team and I feel extremely confident with every player on the team being able to step up and get the job done. I look forward to getting to know the guys on the team and building an identity that we can grow from and win baseball games.”