For the first time since 1996, Westerville North High School's baseball players -- both past and present -- are getting a chance to play American Legion baseball as members of the Westerville Post 171N team.

For the first time since 1996, Westerville North High School's baseball players -- both past and present -- are getting a chance to play American Legion baseball as members of the Westerville Post 171N team.

"It's great," said outfielder Joey Detty. "To stay at home and play with the guys you've played with all spring, it makes it feel like home every day. The guys are great. I love playing with all of them.

"We have a good time. We goof around, but we get our work done. It's a great thing."

"It's going to be a huge benefit," said Post 171N coach Scott Workman, whose team will play today as host to Don Gentile (Ready) Post 532R. "The league that I've seen so far has been a good, competitive league. I think it's going to benefit everybody."

Despite being together for the first time in this capacity, the players on the team are familiar with each other.

"We're matching up some guys who played j.v., some who played varsity and some who've played in college," Workman said. "They haven't been playing beside each other all spring. It's a great start for those players who are going to be juniors and seniors.

"Kind of what we've done, is we've rolled our varsity summer into this, but we've opened it to anyone who has played college or who plans on playing in college. They're happy that they have a place close to home where they can play."

"We only lost two guys to other teams. It's like spring ball," Detty said.

"We all know each other," third baseman/pitcher Chris Williams said. "We've all been playing together, so we've got a good chemistry. Basically playing year-round helps a lot. We can know each other's strengths."

Heading the Post 171N pitching staff are North senior right-handers Zach Nillson, D.J. Tretter, Williams and Kyle Workman, left-handed senior Joe Silva and junior right-hander Garrett Lieb.

"These guys that pitched, that we're working with this year, got minimal innings in the spring," coach Workman said.

"So we're really trying to work with these guys who are up-and-coming.

"This is a great opportunity for these guys, because they are getting innings."

Finishing the battery for Post 171N are catchers Jaryd Kovacs, who saw action in six games as a freshman for Bluffton; 2009 graduate Keegan Hale and senior Ryan Strong.

"Very positive (group). Hard-working," coach Workman said. "It's a positive thing having Jaryd there, because he's as hard a worker as we have, and Ryan is, too."

Graduated senior Brandon Natale joins Nillson and Tretter as first basemen, while Williams and Lieb man third base. The middle infield spots are split between future junior Hayden Whitfield, Workman, Lieb and the recently graduated pair of Jacob Thuman and Josh Hood.

"When we don't have Thuman there, we're young," coach Workman said. "Guys haven't played beside each other, and now guys are getting a lot better feel for it. We're progressing. We're getting better."

The deep Post 171N outfield includes seniors Detty and Greg Siegesmund, Otterbein freshman Garrett Braxton (one varsity game in 2009), 2009 graduate Jeff Warbritton, Silva and Hood.

Post 171N got off to a back-and-forth start to the summer, alternating wins and losses before winning two in a row for a 7-5 record.

"We're hitting a lot better," Williams said. "We're just all meshing together, having a good time."

"We're getting more aggressive, we're throwing strikes, we're making plays in the outfield (and) infield, all that," Detty said. "It's all coming through."

•SCHEDULE -- Following today's game against Post 532R, Post 171N will play in a tournament at Upper Arlington, which runs Friday through Sunday. The squad returns to district play Tuesday as host to Bexley (Hartley) Post 430A, Wednesday at Post 430A and June 25 at Northwest (Upper Arlington) Post 443.