Tuesday, July 21, 2009 by James Peters Staff Writer Gazette Newspapers
Gaithersburg Post 295's senior American Legion baseball team is not the Post's only program headed for postseason play. The Post 295 Junior Legion squad recently qualified for the National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF) 18-and-under wood bat regional tournament, which will be held in Altoona, Pa., Thursday through Sunday.
After struggling to a 7-10 mark to open the summer season, the junior legion squad finished regular season play with a 25-11 record, 21-11 in the Potomac Junior Legion league. The team consists of players from Northwest High, Quince Orchard, Seneca Valley, Poolesville, Washington Christian Academy and Landon.
"Coaching this team was a pure pleasure for me and my coaching staff: Randy Smith, Paul Mattes, and Jason Pak," Post 295 manager Steve Cononie said. "These guys started out slow but finished as strong as any team I have ever coached."
Leading Post 295's offensive attack have been Bobby Donson (.475 average, 21 runs batted in), Nathan Pauley (.395, 17 RBI), Nathan Burford (.352, 15 RBI), Travis Smith (.387, 15 RBI) and Drew Karlin (.356, 16 RBI). Karlin (4-1, 1.38 earned-run average), Donson (3-1, 4.88 ERA) and Matt Cononie (3-0, 3.43 ERA) have anchored the pitching staff.
"To win the NABF regionals, they will need to keep doing everything they have been doing the second two-thirds of the season," Steve Cononie said. "If they continue to hit and the pitchers keep pounding the strike zone, these guys will go far. They play with tons of heart and a refuse-to-lose attitude."
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