Diamond Spyders have big arms to fill as season opens Saturday

PLYMOUTH — The coming of the summer means the start of the American Legion baseball season in Plymouth, and Post 27’s Diamond Spyders will have to deal with some key pitching losses but also return some key elements for the coming year.
“I think some of the teams in the area had some success with young teams and we’re hoping for the same,” said Post Manager Will Hostrawser. “When you lose two quality pitchers like Sean Liedtky and James Hackworth, those aren’t necessarily guys you’re going to replace. We will be as successful as our pitching this year.”
And pitching is at a premium when it comes to Legion baseball. Long weekend tournaments, doubleheaders and nine inning games take a huge toll on arms, and the depth of the pitching staff is always an essential element in any season.
“If you’ve been on the bump you’ll be out there this summer,” said Hostrawser with a laugh. “It’s always nice to see all the kids from different schools get together for a common cause. How they gel together will be important.”
Post 27 traditionally begins its season with a very challenging weekend in the Terre Haute Tournament with some of the top American Legion programs from all over Indiana.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Terre Haute against some quality teams to start the year,” said Hostrawser. “Kokomo is coming in (to BNF) on Saturday, and they always field a quality team and Highland always hits a ton no matter how bad or good they are defensively, so we need to come ready to play out of the gate.”
The Diamond Spyders have some returning elements that make the possibilities bright.
“Eric Knepper in the outfield is a big key and Shay Hepler,” said Hostrawser. “Tyler Niespodziany is going to have an increased role. Obviously Elijah (Nixon) is going to have to step up behind the plate. Wes Burkholder and Clayton Adamson are going to have to carry a big load this year in the outfield and on the mound.
“I’ve seen some of the new guys,” said Hostrawser. “I know they’re good athletes, and we’ll have to see as we move on.”
Post 27 opens this Saturday at Bill Nixon Field with a doubleheader against Kokomo starting at 1 p.m.