CLOVER — When Darrell VanDyke became head coach of the Clover High School baseball team seven years ago, there was no American Legion team for Blue Eagle participants extend play into summer.
VanDyke made the contacts to restore Legion baseball in the Clover community. Post 38 has since become a competitive force in a region that includes Rock Hill, Lancaster, Fort Mill and York.
With the level of participation on the rise, VanDyke has expanded the junior legion baseball program.
“With 40-plus participants this year, we will be able to field a senior legion team and two junior legion teams,” said VanDyke. He coached a junior legion team the last two years to develop young players to bolster both the Post 38 senior team and the Blue Eagle baseball program.
“I have been overwhelmed by the number of kids showing an interest in legion ball this season,” he said.
VanDyke believes having two junior legion teams will benefit younger players aspiring to reach the senior legion and high school varsity levels.
“We want to give the kids the opportunity to play,” VanDyke said. “When I first came to Clover, Blue Eagle baseball players had to go to Fort Mill or Kings Mountain to play legion baseball. York had no team that year.”
The Post 38 senior legion team will open the 2013 season May 22, hosting Fort Mill at the Clover High School ball field. All senior legion starting times are 7 p.m. Next will be a May 23 home game against Rock Hill Post 34 before traveling to Lancaster May 24 for the team’s first road game.
Other teams on the schedule include Concord and Denver.
The Post 38 Junior Blue team will kick off the season May 22 at Rock Hill, followed by a May 23 game at Lancaster, both at 7 p.m. On May 28, the junior blue team will battle the junior lightning team at the Clover field in double-header action beginning at 6 p.m.
The junior lightning team will open the season May 23 at Rock Hill at 7 p.m. Next will be the May 28 game against the junior blue team at 6 p.m. and a May 30 game at Lancaster at 7 p.m.