Post 81 gets season started on the right foot

  • Greenfield Post 81 walks off the field after the fifth inning against Westfield Post 124 during the Senior American Legion District 3 Finals last summer at Vets Field in Greenfield. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/16/2022 6:35:25 PM
Modified: 6/16/2022 6:33:10 PM

The Greenfield Post 81 Senior Legion squad is off to a strong start and just one look at the roster would show why that is no surprise. 

Kevin Luippold — who led Pioneer to the Div. 5 state semifinals — is back for his second season coaching Post 81 and through two games, he’s liked what he’s seen from his team. Greenfield opened its season last Friday with a 5-3 win over Sheffield Post 340 before trouncing East Springfield Post 420 18-0 on Monday. 

Following a season in which Post 81 won the District 3 title and made it to the state semifinals, Luippold is expecting more big things from his club this season. 

“We’re a really old team this year,” Luippold said. “We returned a lot of our core guys from last year that we had on our state title run. It’s been a good start so far.” 

Like it did last year, Greenfield will lean on its strong pitching staff to get the job done. 

Greenfield’s David Carey and Frontier’s Tyler Baranowski battled it out in three games during the high school season, but both guys will team up for the second straight season to lead the rotation. 

TJ Thibeault — who had the lowest ERA of any player on the roster during the high school season — combined with Nick Bresciano to throw a no-hitter against East Springfield, showing just how many talented arms Luippold has to work with. 

“We’re hoping our pitching can carry us like it did last year,” Luippold said. “We added a couple arms and didn’t lose any of our big name pitchers. David and Tyler returned, we added TJ, we have a lefty in Tyler Podolski and we have a couple younger arms which is exciting. Hopefully they can keep us in games and allow our hitters to only need to bring in a couple runs every game we play.” 

It’s shaping up to be a five-horse race for the District 3 title. Northampton did not field a team, leading to their players merging with Belchertown Post 239, who should be a very strong team. 

Westfield Post 124 always has a talented group, a squad Greenfield defeated to take home the District 3 title. Sheffield, who Post 81 beat to open the year, is another strong club who will be adding players from Mt. Greylock, who are yet to play in Legion as the Mounties have made it to the Div. 5 state championship game on Saturday. Wilbraham Post 286 was a young team last year and Luippold is expecting them to be a tough out this time around. 

“The cool thing is with the group we brought back, we all played the same kids in Legion last year,” Luippold said. “We know what to expect. There’s some rivalries from last year. We saw Belchertown four times and split with them, we played Westfield in the finals, Sheffield improved greatly and they’ll be coming for us this time around. It’s exciting. Hopefully the kids can do it themselves and all I have to do it put people in the right position to perform.” 

While pitching will be the strong point, Post 81 has plenty of players who can get the job done at the plate. Frontier’s Tyler Dubreuil joins the team coming off a spectacular season with the Redhawks, and between him and Carey, Greenfield has plenty of speed at the top of its lineup. 

Ben Martino is coming off a great post-grad year at Deerfield Academy, Jason Quinn batted over .400 with Pioneer this season and MJ Paulin showed his power throughout the season with the Green Wave. Jake Sak and Kevin Baumann have been crushing the ball through two games.

Kyle Barnes, Michael Bassett, Bresciano, Cam Lococo and Dylan Martin round out the full time players for Post 81, while Hugh Cyhowski, Ethan Quinn and Braeden Tsipenyuk will split time between the Senior and Junior teams. 

“The really hard thing looking at the roster is figuring out who’s going to play,” Luippold said. “All 18 kids can play and help win us ball games. It’s a matter of keeping the guys happy who don’t play because everyone on our team is capable. Everyone will have opportunities. It’s a good problem to have having so many talented players.” 

With a great team vibe, the sky is the limit for Post 81, who is hoping to see the same kind of success it had last year. 

“Everyone got better,” Luippold said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can take ourselves. Our team camaraderie is still there. The guys built that up last year and it’s the same thing this summer. They have a lot of fun playing together. Hopefully that camaraderie can propel us to have a successful season and helps us win some tough games because they want to win for one another.” 


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