The Canal Post 25 Firehawks capped off a tremendous 2016 season with a state title and an appearance in the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Purcellville, Virginia.
The Firehawks went 20-4 overall during the regular season, posting a league-high 60 points in Delaware American Legion Baseball. Canal Post would go onto advance to the state championship game, downing Delaware Post 1 6-1 to earn a berth into the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament with a shot to advance to the American Legion World Series.
Post 25’s run in the tournament was a short one, unfortunately, as they were eliminated after two games. In game one, the Firehawks fell to host-team Virginia Post 34 by just two runs, 5-3. They went on to fall to a tough New Jersey team in game two, 4-1.
While there’s little reward in losing, Post 25 took on two of the better teams in the tournament. Virginia Post 34 advanced to the semifinals of the tournament, while New Jersey reached the tournament championship game.
Despite coming up short in the regional tournament, there’s no taking away the special season the Firehawks put together.
Coming into this season, Manager Mick Tomlin and his staff knew they had a team full of all-stars from some talented high school programs like Middletown, Appoquinimink and Smyrna. Assembling a successful team is difficult at any level, but American Legion Baseball creates some unique challenges for teams looking to reach the top.
“I knew that blending these talents into a team would be the difference between a very good team or one that would self destruct,” said Tomlin. “We also had to deal with burned out players and summer vacations, luckily we were able to fuse very good teams together to match our regular season game schedule and a dynamite and charged team to play the state tournament.”
Even though Canal Post put together a squad full of potential, games aren’t won on paper. It takes hard work from players and coaches alike to win. Tomlin praised his coaching staff, featuring Chad Fitzgerald, John Parks and Ed Colaprete, along with the players that sacrificed their summers to bond together and form a championship team.
“I could not be happier or more thankful with the outcome of our season and the teamwork between the players and coaching staff,” Tomlin said. “That is the reason this team was successful, we became a family over the summer. I said during the state tournament, ‘no more high school rivalries, no more college show cases, this tournament is about us today,’ and they won it.”
Next season, some players will move onto college while others will return. Regardless of who is back in a Canal Post 25 jersey next summer, Tomlin believes what they accomplished this season can have a ripple effect on the program.
“The Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament was a fantastic experience,” said Tomlin. The trip brought the team closer together and allowed us to appreciate what a wonderful national organization the American Legion Association is. I do believe in the future, if we were to get in this position again, our experience would help future teams prepare, so it was a positive for me.”