Government Sports

Town Council Honors West Hartford’s American Legion Baseball Team

American Legion Post 96 baseball team members and coaches were honored by the West Hartford Town Council on Aug. 22, 2023. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The American Legion Post 96 team received a proclamation Tuesday night from the West Hartford Town Council.

By Ronni Newton

On July 29, West Hartford’s American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 U19 baseball team won the Connecticut title for the first time since 1973, beating Danbury 10-1, and on Tuesday night the team and its coaches were honored by the Town Council for their accomplishments.

“We are thrilled to support you and to celebrate your success,” said Mayor Shari Cantor, who read a proclamation congratulating the team. American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96, which was created in 1922, has had a baseball program since 1935.

The proclamation, which highlighted winning of the state championship for the first time in 50 years, also noted that “throughout the tournament all the players and coaches displayed a commitment of teamwork and demonstrated good sportsmanship.”

American Legion Post 96 head coach Sean McCann at the podium with Mayor Shari Cantor, who read a proclamation honoring the team. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Head coach Sean McCann thanked Post 96 for their support.

“These guys have done an amazing job representing themselves, the Post, and the community,” he said of the team. In 32 years of coaching in West Hartford, “this by far has been one of greater journeys I’ve experienced, ” McCann said, noting their resiliency, love for each other, and competitiveness.

“I can’t thank them enough for doing that and for you to honor them tonight is exactly what they deserve,” McCann said.

Post 96 team members, dressed in coats and ties and holding the large trophies they received for earning the zone and state titles, stood along the wall before posing for a photo with the Council.

Post 96 team members stand along the wall while a proclamation honoring their state championship win was being read. Photo credit: Helen Rubino-Turco

Members of Post 96, including Commander Heidi-Anne Mooney, were in attendance at the Town Council meeting as well. Two members of  the 1973 team – Lenny Burke and Bob O’Brien – were also in the audience Tuesday night.

Post 96 played eight games in nine days, but their remarkable run ended after losing twice in the regional tournament.

Bob O’Brien and Lenny Bruce were members of the 1973 Post 96 team – the last time West Hartford won the state championship. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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