Post 86 playing catch up, but has goals set high

READY FOR ANOTHER RUN — Toronto Post 86’s Nick Chetock takes a swing in Wednesday’s season opener against Brilliant Post 573. -- Andrew Grimm

TORONTO — The Toronto Post 86 American Legion baseball team captured a state title 20 years ago and advanced to the Great Lakes Region 5 Tournament in Midland, Mich.

Toronto came up one game short of making it to the state tournament in Lancaster last season as Jefferson County Post 33 defeated Post 86 in the Region 7 Final at the Knights Baseball Complex to advance to the state tournament. This season, Post 86 is looking to take that next step and get back to the state tournament.

To do so, Post 86 is going to have to rely on its offense to carry the load this season.

“Our strength is definitely our hitting,” veteran Toronto head coach Steve Sninchak said.

Toronto scored 10 runs in its first game of the season against Brilliant Post 573 Wednesday at home, however, it was not enough as Post 573 plated the final 10 runs of the game to win the game, 12-10. Post 86 scored all 10 runs in the first two innings.

“We had the right approach in the first two innings,” Sninchak said. “We scored five runs in each of the first two innings. We had the right mental approach in those two innings. We had some hard hits, and we had some hard-hit outs. We are definitely a hitting team.”

Moundsville Post 3 defeated Toronto, 9-7, Friday evening at John Marshall to drop Toronto to 0-2 on the season.

Toronto has 15 players on its roster — seven of whom are from Toronto. The players who played high school baseball for the Red Knights are Nick Chetock, Kobe Herrick, Nick Sninchak, Zac Berger, Chris Parker, Jory Clapham and Cole Bodnar, who graduated in 2018.

There are three players — Brandon Boyd, Conrad Gump and Riley Watson — from Edison on the roster. Two players from Indian Creek — Richie Gaultiere and Coy Amis — and Wellsville’s Seth Kerner and Connor Ramsey are on the roster.

Finally, John Marelli, who played and graduated from Buckeye Local in 2018, also is on the roster this season.

Pitching is a question mark this season for Post 86.

“We are struggling with our pitching,” Coach Sninchak said. “A lot of Legion teams are in the same boat — they don’t have pitchers. It is what it is.”

The start of Post 86’s season was delayed due to the Toronto high school team still competing in the postseason. Toronto went on to win the Ohio Division IV state title on June 9 at Canal Park in Akron.

“They came to the field ready to play today (Wednesday),” Coach Sninchak said about his players who won a state title with the Red Knights. “I’m sure they are still thinking about it.”

As a result of the high school team’s success, Post 86 was not able to really practice before its first game.

“We debated about whether or not we should start (last week),” Coach Sninchak said. “We have just gotten together, but we will be OK once the kids get out on the field and start to compete.”

Post 86 will have to play catch-up for the rest of the season.

“We are looking to win it all, but we are two weeks behind,” Coach Sninchak said.

Throughout the summer, the players on the team also will be taking part in activities for football and basketball.

“When you are coaching summer baseball, you have kids who are also going to be competing in football and basketball,” Coach Sninchak said. “As a recreational coach, you want to have a good relationships with the high school coaches. You need to have that if you want to be successful.”