Legion team welcomes new member to .400 Club

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Rising Canton High School senior Kevin Powers was named to the Canton American Legion baseball team’s .400 Club and received the Bobby Witt Award — a prestigious honor reserved for players who hit .400 or better during the course of the summer season.

Head coach Greg Lyons congratulates Kevin Powers (left) on joining the .400 Club. (Mike Berger photo)

Head coach Greg Lyons congratulates Kevin Powers (left) on joining the .400 Club. (Mike Berger photo)

Powers was given the award at the end-of-season banquet held at the Legion function facility on August 24. In a wild regular season finish, the team won three consecutive games to finish at 11-10 overall and secure a berth in the District 6 postseason.

In the opening game of the playoffs, Canton competed well with Braintree — the East Division champs — before bowing out 7-5. Two days later, the team was eliminated by Walpole, another talented squad and an eventual District 6 finalist.

Powers hit .418 for the season with four homeruns and 21 RBIs and also excelled as a pitcher. “Kevin had one of the best offensive seasons I have seen,” said head coach Greg Lyons.

Powers’ CHS teammate Pat Vartanian also had an outstanding season and was honored with the Bob Brown Award for day-to-day excellence. Fred Gladstone of the American Legion Post 24 said Brown, a longtime Legion coach who passed away in 2013, loved players “who showed up every day to play baseball.”

“Pat did everything I asked of him; he does everything the right way,” said Lyons, who praised Vartanian’s excellent catching skills and his outstanding offensive output (.395 average, 22 RBIs, 9 doubles).

The team’s Rookie of the Year award went to Ryan Riley of Sharon, who led the team in shutouts and posted a 2.56 earned run average.

Lyons said this year’s team played a challenging schedule that included 16 games in 18 days. He described the players as a “good group of kids” who were ready to go when called upon.

“Our goal this season was to make the playoffs and make the last games meaningful,” he said. “The team came together well, combining Canton, Sharon, and private school players. We had three 15 year olds and a good mix of 17 to 19 year olds. We competed well and the future is bright.”

Lyons and Al Jackson, longtime Legion coach and general manager, praised assistant coaches Walter Mann, Mike Jerrier, and Bob Gorham for contributing to the team’s success and thanked the efforts of team administrator Mary Jackson.

Al Jackson also thanked the American Legion Post 24 for its continued support of the program and for covering the senior team’s expenses.

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