Had the Charleston Post 20 team played in last weekend's state tournament they probably would have been the best team in the field in any class.
That's the kind of team Man High School graduate Jordan Simpson has this summer.
Simpson, a former all-state baseball player for the Man Hillbillies also also an ex-West Virginia State University standout, is head coach of the American Legion team, which has a loaded roster.
The Post 20 opened up the season two weekends ago with a sweep at Summersville, winning 12-0 and 10-3.
The Post 20 has some familiar faces on its roster from the area, including Chapmanville Regional High School rising junior Casey Hurley and former CRHS First-Team All-Stater Noah Dingess, who currently plays at Alice Lloyd College.
From Logan High School, the team has Peyton Branham, a graduated senior, who will be joining Dingess at Alice Lloyd this fall.
Representing Man High School on the roster is Tyler Lafferty, a just graduated senior, who is headed to play at West Virginia State University.
Carter Lyles (WVU) and Nathan Kuhn (West Virginia State) of Scott High School are also Post 20 team members but have not seen action yet as the Skyhawks played last weekend in the Class AA state baseball tournament.
A total of 11 former or current George Washington High School players are on the team including: Aidan Johnson (University of Charleston); AJ Golden; Brayden McCallister; Elias Miller (Undecided); Evan Hughes; Issac McCallister; Jaeden Anderson; Preston Taylor (Potomac State); Trey Ritchie; Grant Fenwick; and Will Ellis.
Four Capital High School players also dot the roster, including: Andrew Sydenstricker; Logan Spurlock; Max Bland; and Michael Stuck (Undecided). Winfield High School rising senior Landen Fairchild is also on the team.
Simpson said expects the Post 20 team has a shot at winning the West Virginia American Legion state championship.
"Our expectations with the roster we have is definitely to win a state title," he said. "On paper across the board I think we matchup with anyone in the state. We have a gauntlet of an area tournament with South Charleston Post 94 who has dominated for so many years also who I played for in 2012. Parkersburg, who is the defending state champion, then rounds out with Ceredo Kenova and Beckley. But again I think were just as good as anyone we will play."
Former Man High School and Ambassador Christian Academy head coach Larry Vance is one of Simpson's assistant coaches. He also has Matt McCallister on staff as an assistant.
"Grabbing Coach Vance may have been my best pick up of the summer," Simpson said. "Anytime you can grab a coach of his stature to join your staff you're doing something right. With his experience, knowledge, and coaching in big games takes our team to another level. He's one of the best coaches in the state of West Virginia. He will handle our whole pitching staff. I'm very excited to have him not only for our team but for myself as well."
The Post 20 has a talented roster.
"This will definitely be the most talented team I have had the pleasure of coaching, and we had some really good talent last year," Simpson said. "With Aidan Johnson, Brayden McCallister, Carter Lyles, Nathan Kuhn, Noah Dingess, Preston Taylor I mean I can down my whole list all First Team All-State guys with a couple player of the year finalists. It's honestly such an honor for me that these kids want to play for us. All of them work their tails off and are great kids to be around."
Lafferty expects to see a lot of mound time for the Post 20 this summer. He is the son of former Man High School baseball coach Donald Lafferty.
"He will be counted on as a starting pitcher this summer for us," Simpson said. "Tyler is a great kid who has played alot of baseball, hes going to give you everything hes got every time he touches the mound."
Branham, a right-hander, will likely come out of the bullpen, Simpson said.
"Peyton will be used as mostly a relief guy who can eat up a lot of different innings for us in a lot of different spots. He will also get some starts as well. He's a kid that pounds the zone and gets outs," he said.
Hurley should also be a big contributor for the Post 20. He had a big season at Chapmanville this spring.
"Casey will be our DH and play some outfield as well," Simpson said. "He's a threat every time he steps into the box. He has unlimited power who will hit somewhere in the middle of our lineup."
Dingess, a former CRHS player and current member of the Alice Lloyd College team, gives the Post 20 a solid bat.
"I've said it for years. If there is a better pure hitter in the state than Noah Dingess I want to make a trip to watch them," Simpson said. "Noah has been with me for around five to six summers now and he will again hit at the top of our lineup for us and play outfield."
Lyles gives the Post 20 a big time arm on the mound. Lyles, a First-Team All-State selection last year, led the Scott Skyhawks to the state tournament this season for the first time in 20 years. He's headed to Morgantown this fall to play for the Mountaineers.
"You don't really need to say much about Carter," Simpson said. "Everyone across the state knows his story and knows the type of player he is. He's an amazing player and an even better kid. You have a chance to win any ball game every time he toes the mound. We're excited to have a player as talented as Carter on our roster."
Kuhn also expects to have a big summer for the Post 20.
"West Virginia State is getting a stud," Simpson said. "Nathan can do so many things to change a ballgame. He is a special talent, can play anywhere in the field you ask him can hit anywhere in the lineup. He brings so much to the table for us that it makes it alot easier on us coaches."
The Post 20 has a tough schedule this summer.
The team plays again on June 8 at Spring Valley in a doubleheader.
The American Legion area tournament is slated to begin July 23 while the state tournament to follow on July 30.
"We're ecstatic to get this team out on the field and go after a state title in our first year," Simpson said.
Paul Adkins is the sports editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.