HAMLET — Another summer of American Legion baseball is right around the corner, the third year back for the local Post 49 program.
After a successful campaign in 2022, head coach Chip Gordon expects Hamlet to continue to trend in the right direction over the next couple of months.
The 49ers will hold a one-day tryout for the upcoming summer slate on Saturday, May 13, at Memorial Park beginning at 11 a.m.
Open to players from Richmond, Anson, Marlboro, Moore and Scotland counties, players who are rising high school freshmen through the age of 19 are eligible to play.
If a player turns 20 at any time this year, even after the season, he isn’t permitted to play per American Legion’s rules.
Gordon said the pro-style tryout will be mandatory for all players interested. If a player is still in the high school playoffs, he must attend to earn a roster spot but won’t be asked to participate.
“We had a great season last year and we want to keep building on what we’ve done the past two summers,” Gordon said. “This program is moving in the right direction and it’s our goal to give guys the opportunity to play the best baseball around.
“This season our hope is to continue to grow the program and be competitive again,” he added. “Post 49 has a rich tradition of winning and helping players get to the next level, should that be the route they want to take.”
Gordon noted that several former players have aged out, leading to open roster spots, but there is a “core group of guys coming back that we’ll rely on heavily.”
The goal for the tryout is to “look for the best talent to fill the spots” available this summer.
Post 49 went 14-10 overall in 2022, 11 wins better than its first season back after a 14-year hiatus. Hamlet earned the No. 2 seed in the Area 2 conference standings and made the second round of the playoffs.
This season, the Area 2 conference has expanded to add teams from Carteret and Columbus counties, as well as Topsail.
Large enough to be split into two divisions, Hamlet will be in the same division as Ashley Post 129, Brunswick Post 143, Hope Mills Post 32, West Columbus Post 137 and Wilmington Post 10.
Helping Gordon coach this season will be returning assistants Anthony Hailey and Chaz Sessoms.
Post 49 will also have a new look, as this season’s uniforms will mimic the original ones worn by the first Hamlet teams.
White pinstripes will be worn at home, solid grays will be road jerseys and the team will have a navy blue alternate.
Over the offseason, more renovations have been made to Memorial Park. Most notably, the infield has been graded down to remove lips along the grass and new sod has been inserted.
Before the season starts, the gymnasium that serves as part of the centerfield wall will be painted navy blue to match the rest of the stadium’s color scheme.
“I know the program is looking forward to another successful summer of baseball,” Gordon closed. “We want to thank our continued sponsors for all they do to help our team.
“If anyone would like to support Post 49, they can call me at (910) 995-2496. The more sponsorships we have, the more we can do to provide our players with the best possible experience.”
Below is the 2023 schedule for the Post 49 baseball team.
Hamlet will play 19 regular-season games before the postseason. Sites include several college campuses, including Campbell University, Catawba College and UNCW.