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Farmville squad trying to line up roster for postseason

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Post 151's Dylan Benton makes a catch during a game against Post 39 on June 27, 2019.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, June 29, 2019

FARMVILLE -- It has been a summer of grit for American Legion Farmville Post 151 baseball.

Led by coach Josh Boberg, Post 151 has been heavily affected by injuries and typical summer absences from players for family vacations, among other things. That hasn't stopped the team from continuing to push through whatever obstacle may be in its path, and with the postseason approaching, a tough and determined squad has the opportunity to potentially make some noise.

"They are a good group, they're talented," Boberg said of his team. "They have a lot of potential, but it means a lot when you have to put a middle infielder into a corner outfield spot. They are giving their best, but it is tough to play out of position. I'm proud of them, there is no doubt about it. We compete with the top teams in Area 1 East and force them to win the game from us."

As a newer team, Post 151 has grown season after season, even with the constant rotation of players in and out of the program each summer. This year's team is no different.

Farmville lost 8-1 to more-established Pitt County Post 39 on Thursday night, but Post 151 already had an Area 1 East record of around .500.

"We have one regular season game left Monday (at home against Kinston)," Boberg said. "Then we're going to go to the postseason tournament as soon as they let us know when, where and who we're going to play. We're supposed to have 18 (players in attendance) and we'll be ready to play ball."

No matter the situation on the field, Post 151 players, who represent high schools Farmville Central, Ayden-Grifton, Greene Central, D.H. Conley and J.H. Rose, continue to show dedication to the team and a drive to continue to improve and fight.

The determination of his players is not lost on the fourth-year head coach.

"The first year no one quit on this team," Boberg said. "The second year we two guys quit. Last year one guy quit at the end of the season, and this year, not a single guy has quit. Everyone has been there, and you can't fault guys for getting injured and I'm not faulting these guys going on vacations and trips, because they'll only be seniors in high school once. When someone wants to take you on a trip to celebrate, that's OK, I get it. They're great ball players and great kids."

Boberg understands that once he gets his squad healed and back in action, it could make a run in the postseason.

"Once I get back some guys who can play corner outfield, some guys back from injury and my pitching staff back and in a rotation setup, we'll be ready," Boberg said. "I'll be ready and they'll be ready to go. I'm proud of them. They may not think so, but they have to know I love them and am proud of them. They're great."

Attitude and fun are big parts of Boberg's style as a coach. Post 151 players are routinely seen smiling and talking to each other in the dugout and during breaks on the field.

At times, summer baseball can lose sight of the true reason behind why kids participate, not just for the college exposure and continuing practice, but the sheer love of the game.

"Without a doubt baseball is a kid's game," Boberg said. "The best baseball is played with a smile and with enthusiasm for each other, including your opponent. That's the best baseball you can have -- at its purest, amateur, no pay. There should be no stress. You should be able to high-five, enjoy the other team hitting home runs, because we've hit our fair share this season. We do that, and they're a great group of young people.

"If they could even believe a fifth of how much I tell them I love them they would know for sure that I've got their back. I stress to them to be competitive, but for a lot of them this is the last time they'll play baseball, so I don't want them to be miserable, I want them to have fun with each other and when they play."

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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