The quest for the Worthington Post 239 baseball team every summer is to reach the American Legion state tournament.

The quest for the Worthington Post 239 baseball team every summer is to reach the American Legion state tournament.

However, it's the road there that is the enjoyable part for coach Jim Townsend.

"Helping the kids reach their goals and watching their progression is the fun part," Townsend said. "There are always frustrations, but how you deal with them and the approach to correcting mistakes is the key. When you see them working on what you're trying to fix and you see them succeed, it becomes very worthwhile."

Post 239 went 2-2 at state last season. It finished 30-6 overall and 15-1 in District 12 play.

"Our goal is always to reach state and it's been that way since back in the 1970s when I was (playing)," Townsend said. "We'll be extremely disappointed if we don't advance to state again this season."

Post 239 was 14-6 entering this week, after going 2-1 in pool play in the Dick Kuehn Wood Bat Classic in Cincinnati. Post 239 was one of the top four seeds in the championship round, but rain June 26 canceled the finals.

The lone loss for Post 239 in the tournament was 5-0 to Pickerington Post 283 on June 24, but victories over Elkhart, Ind. (8-0) and Pekin, Ill. (5-2) gave it the fourth seed in the 12-team tournament.

"Our pitching and defense has been carrying us," Townsend said. "We've got good depth on the mound with four guys who can go deep into games and a couple of others who we're hoping we'll get back at full strength as we go on."

The top four pitchers are 2011 high school graduates Alio Gasbarro and Cody Strayer of Worthington Kilbourne, Blake Adkins of Thomas Worthington and Sean Hoy of Watterson.

Andy Bean, a 2010 Upper Arlington graduate and an Ohio University walk-on, was injured last summer with Post 239 and just began pitching again after having elbow surgery. Sam Bohon, a 2010 Thomas graduate who plays for the University of Evansville, is an injured left-handed pitcher who likely won't return this summer.

Others in college on the roster are Sam Adams, a Thomas graduate who plays catcher and outfield, and Thomas Zigo, a Dublin Coffman product who plays outfield and infield. Both attend Ohio University.

Townsend is pleased with his catchers, Collin Finn of Thomas and Brandon Randolph of Kilbourne. Both are 2011 graduates.

"Both were two-year starters in high school and both are good receivers who know their pitchers pretty well," Townsend said. "They're solid catchers and are doing a good job handling the pitchers."

Also from Thomas are 2011 graduates Jacob Semerar (IF), David Lykens (1B/P) and Matt Zuccaro (INF/P) and seniors Kirby Boehm (C/1B), Wes Lindenmuth (P) and Ben Miller (P/INF).

Others from Kilbourne include graduates Dan Eurich (OF) and Will Meador (INF) as well as senior Brian Hanks (INF).

Also on the roster is Nick Kernan (OF), a 2011 Watterson graduate.

Lykens will attend John Carroll University, Meador is headed to Case Western Reserve, Gasbarro will play for Baldwin-Wallace, Eurich will attend Ohio State and both Finn and Adkins will play for Ohio Wesleyan.

"We have six guys who played with us last year when we went to state, but right now we're not hitting the ball as well as we should be," Townsend said. "Our situational hitting, moving runners and driving them in, isn't where it needs to be. We need more consistency in that area. We think our pitching and defense can keep us in games, but we're going to have to improve our offensive production. We're not far from the district tournament, just a few weeks. So we've got to get things going."