West Hartford Legion Baseball Honors Post 96 Centennial with Alumni Game

Current 19U and Alumni Post 96 teams. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and the West Hartford Legion team held a special alumni game in honor of the occasion.

Senior Legion first baseman David Cantarella, runner Chris DeMorais. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg


West Hartford American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 is celebrating its 100th year of existence in 2022, and has been serving the community throughout that span of time.

To honor this special year, on Saturday, June 11 the Post 96 baseball program put on a nine-inning alumni baseball game that pitted the current Senior Legion 19U team vs. former players of past Post 96 teams.

The Hayes-Velhage Post 96 began its baseball program in 1935 and the program is still going strong with four teams currently playing at the 19U, 17U, 15U, and 13U levels.

Saturday’s game brought out 16 former players covering the years between 1988 and 2020 – all of whom played collegiate baseball. Two former Post head coaches, Rick Sanford and Elliot Lane, managed the “old guys.” Current Senior Legion head coach Sean McCann is also an alum, and played for Post 96 between 1988 and 1991.

Both teams had strong pitching performances with the Alumni getting it from Matt D’Orsi ’12, Mike Matthews ’17, Wil Francis ’11, Danny Roth ’17, and the Tampa Bay draft pick Chris DeMorais ’11. The Alumni team also showcased some impressive hitting led by Colby Jones ’19, Brian Fracasso ’09, Dan Poulin ’93, Dr. Dan Minnes ’10, Francis, Roth, and DeMorais.

The current Senior Legion team had impressive pitching from Drew Seidman, Brendan Grady, David Cantarella, Simon Rosenberg, Tucker Redden, Joe Dooley, Nick Udell, and Lucas Pyrro. The offense was generated by Tommy LaSpada, Brian Chelli, Ixael Albino, Dooley, and Redden – who were able to provide enough runs for the current Post 96 19U team to get the 5-2 win.

The baseball program has been fortunate and extremely thankful to have the continued support from the Hayes-Velhage Post 96 and all its members who allow these boys and young men to continue to play the game of baseball.

Matt D’Orsi, a former player and current Senior Legion pitching coach, on the mound for the Alumni team. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Post 96 Alumni team. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Senior Legion team prior to the start of the game. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Members of the alumni team are announced. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Senior Legion team stands for the National Anthem. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

From left: Alumni Chris DeMorais, Wil Francis, and Nick Sanford . Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Alum Dr. Dan Minnes getting thrown out. Lucas Pyrro (at right) holds the ball and Jacob Morren is in the background. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Alumni dugout. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

Senior Legion post-game huddle. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

The current Post 96 American Legion baseball team held an alumni game on June 11, honoring Post 96’s 100th birthday. Photo credit: Craig Rosenberg

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