Don Gentile American Legion Post 532W (Westland) baseball coach Greg Burke hopes the experience his relatively young team gained playing against more experienced players this summer prepared them for the spring season.

Don Gentile American Legion Post 532W (Westland) baseball coach Greg Burke hopes the experience his relatively young team gained playing against more experienced players this summer prepared them for the spring season.

The nucleus of the team were players from Westland who will be entering their junior seasons. Most of the competition consisted of seniors and collegiate players.

"I told the kids going in that they were going to face some college pitchers, they were going to face college hitters and there were some games where it looked like we were playing college kids," Burke said. "Regardless of what we did, they were hitting the ball real hard. Their pitchers fooled us. I expected that would happen because these kids are just finishing their sophomore year. You have to be realistic."

Post 532W finished 7-15 overall and 1-2 in the District 12 tournament. It opened the tournament with a 5-2 loss to host Northwest (Upper Arlington) Post 433 on July 12. After being Post 144 (St. Charles) by forfeit, Post 532W was eliminated with a 9-7 loss to Westerville (Central) Post 171C 9-7 on July 17.

Westland graduate Lucas Pencek, the team's ace throughout the summer, had both tournament losses.

"A lot was on Lucas' shoulders as a graduating senior to take the ball and be the one that consistently day in and day out would give us a chance," Burke said. "He was kind of by himself."

A 3-1 win against Worthington Post 239 on June 4 was a highlight of the summer. It was Post 239's lone loss in District 12 play during the regular season. Post 239 cruised to the District 12 title after a 16-5 win against Columbus (Watterson) Post 82 on July 19 to advance to the state tournament.

"It was our first game and I was worried about that because I know they have college freshmen on that team," Burke said.

The other graduated player on Post 532W was Keith Carius (DH).

Juniors Brady Willis, D.J. Taylor and Kris Carius, and senior Zach Fleer were also key pitchers for the team.

"We learned a lot this summer," Willis said. "I think we'll win more games than we did last year in the spring. We learned a lot, but there's still a lot to work on."

Juniors Kris Carius (1B), Lineurys Sanchez (2B), Devin Doudna (SS) and Willis (3B) headlined the team's infield.

Junior Reyes, a junior, filled in at first and third base. Junior Jake Cook (LF), Pencek (CF) and Taylor (RF) roamed the outfield. Fleer also saw time in the outfield when Pencek or Taylor pitched and junior Zak Ogilbee was the team's catcher.

Doudna, Fleer and Ogilbee attend Central Crossing.

"That's one thing about this summer and I try to have that every year and that's no dissension," Burke said of the addition of the Central Crossing players. "There's no room for that. It's a short season. We're out here to play baseball. I just don't have kids who are going to create problems for us or any other kid on the team."