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Last updated: 10/03/2016


The Patriots Post 217 baseball program has coaching openings for their 2017 teams.

We’re looking to add assistant coaches for the Senior Legion team as well as assistant coaches for the Junior Legion and Prep teams.

If interested please contact Pat Solley at baseball@ovyl.org or Walt Sahaydak at walt.sahaydak@brandywinebaseball.com

This letter is meant to provide parents and players with information about the past, the present, and the future of the Oley/Brandywine baseball program (13u and older).

History of Oley/Topton

Until 2010 both Topton and Oley had established Legion and Jr. Legion baseball programs. In 2010 Topton was unable to field a team due to a lack of players. For that season, as per Legion rules, the Topton territory was divided up geographically.  Most of the players lived in the region assigned by American Legion Baseball to Oley, and therefore played for the Oley Legion team.  Legion Baseball controls and mandates the geographic boundary breakdown of the Topton region, not Topton administrators, nor its players and families.  In 2011, the situation remained the same, and after several discussions it was decided to merge the teams permanently and the program was called Oley/Topton (renamed Patriots Post 217 this year). The merger created the critical mass of players that has allowed Topton and Oley to keep its players together, and an excellent opportunity to make new friends across town lines.  Fred Van Gulik, who was the coach of the Oley program prior to the merger, remained on as the coach of Oley/Topton and is still with the program today as the Sr Legion coach. A board was created with representatives from the Brandywine Youth Baseball Association and the Oley Valley Youth League.

Initially, Oley/Topton fielded a Sr. Legion team, and then soon after, a Jr. Legion team. The Jr Legion team was added for the same reason that the Sr Legion teams merged – the number of players for each individual program at the Jr Legion age did not permit either program to field its own team.  In the years since, the OVYL has supported various teams in Western Berks, 16U City County, and Jr. Babe Ruth. Similarly, the BYBA program has supported teams in Jr. Babe Ruth and Sr. Babe Ruth. In the mix is also the outside organizations that we compete with.  Given all of the different options it has been very confusing to many parents and even those running these programs. When kids were moving up from 12U, the question for many parents and players was “What do I sign up/tryout for?”  Everyone had different registration dates and it was a nightmare trying to plan properly, for parents and coaches alike.

It is also important to understand that American Legion Post 217 in Topton has 100% financially supported the Jr and Sr Legions teams.  The cost to play on these teams has been $0 for the last several years – for both Brandywine and Oley players.

Planning for the Future of Oley/Brandywine Baseball

The goal is to squelch this confusion, and create a holistic program with easy to understand options and tracks for Oley and Brandywine players and families.  Last fall, two representatives from BYBA, Walt Sahaydak and Brian Moyer met with two representatives from the OVYL, Mike Reinert and Pat Solley. The discussion was about how the programs can help each other and meet the goals stated. The results of the series of discussions is as follows:

  • Patriots Post 217 board: Walt Sahaydak, Bryan Crist, Mike Reinert, Pat Solley
  • Field 3 teams in the “Legion Track” under the Patriots Post 217 name:
    • Legion (19U)
    • Legion (15U)
    • Legion Prep (13U)

All “Legion Track” teams play competitive, full-rules baseball, on regulation size fields, according to the rules set forth by American Legion Baseball and the state of PA.

  • In addition, the BYBA and the OVYL programs will work together each year to provide spillover teams at the various age groups (ie, Babe Ruth, City County, etc) to provide baseball options for those players not wanting or not able to participate in the Legion track for any given year. NOTE: A player on a non-Legion track team in a given year has EVERY right and ability to get onto a Legion track team the next year.
  • An Oley/Brandywine Booster club and account will be created in order to bring in and manage additional funds

Information for 2017 Oley/Brandywine Baseball

For those wishing to try out for one of the Legion Track teams, please visit the Patriots website (www.otbaseball.org) to register prior to the tryout dates.  Players are encouraged to attend all listed tryouts. If for some reason this is not possible, please send an email to one of the following addresses:

For those wishing to play on a non-Legion Track team, please be on the lookout for registration information from either BYBA or Oley Youth Leagues.

Jr. Legion (15U) and Jr. Legion Prep (13U) tryout information:

  • Tryout #1: October 16th 3:00 at the Oley Valley Youth League. A parent meeting will be held under the pavilion once the tryout begins.
  • Tryout #2: Mid November (indoor) We will contact everyone by email and post the date on the website
  • Indoor workouts: We will offer a few indoor workout dates in December and January and then conduct the selection process. Indoor workouts may require a small fee.
  • Cost: $0-TBD (With the addition of the Prep team, there may be a small fee required. The Booster club fundraising may also reduce or negate the required fee)

Sr. Legion (19U) tryout information:


We’re thrilled to announce that we have named Kris Mammarella as the head coach of the Jr. Legion team and Jeff Evans as the coach of the Jr. Legion Prep team. We will be adding coaches to both staffs and are still in need of assistant coaches at the Sr. Legion level.

We hope this answers many questions that people may have. We’re very excited to move forward knowing it is the right thing for the future of our programs.


Post 217 Board

Patriots Post 217 teams

Senior Legion: Players cannot turn 19 prior to January 1st of the current year.

Junior Legion: Players cannot turn 16 prior to April 30th of the current year.

Prep: Players cannot turn 14 prior to April 30th of the current year.

The minimum age to participate is 11 years old.

Why should my son play Legion Baseball


That question was unthinkable as recently as even 5 years ago.  However, in today’s highly competitive world of youth sports, that is a question we hear all too frequently.  Call it AAU, Travel, Showcase, or Tournament baseball.  The thought is that our son is good enough to possibly make it to the bigs, the show, the majors is all that we need to hear in order to open our wallets and spend several thousand dollars to give him the ‘best’ opportunity.  Before you make that decision, consider some of these statistics available from the NCAA:

Only 0.50% of high school players will be signed by a professional organization

The drop off rate of baseball players:

Level 1: Little League Baseball players – 2,000,000

Drop off Rate: 23% make it from Little League to freshmen High School baseball

Level 2: High School freshmen baseball players – 474,791

Drop off Rate: 28% make It from freshman baseball to playing as a senior (Varsity) in HS

Level 3: High School senior baseball players – 135,655

Percentage Fact: Percentage of High School players to play in the NCAA – 6.8% (7 of 100)

Level 4: NCAA freshmen baseball (Division 1-3) Players-28,787 (Position Players / non-pitchers account for only 9,271)

Level 5: NCAA senior baseball (Division 1-3) – 7,211

Level 6: NCAA senior baseball (Division 1-3) drafted to professional baseball – 678

Also, understand that baseball is an equivalency sport for NCAA scholarship purposes, so partial scholarships can be awarded to meet the NCAA limit per school.  For example, an NCAA Division II school can award 18 baseball players each a 1/2 equivalent scholarship and still meet the limit of 9.  Additionally, these are the annual limits for the entire team; so for a 4 year school, only about 25% of the limit per school will typically be available for incoming students.  If a player does get a Division I scholarship, it’s unlikely to be a full one because even fully funded programs have just 11.7 scholarships to be divided among an average of 34 players. There is only one full-ride athletic scholarship available for every 100 high school athletes.  And, unfortunately, in these economic times, the viability of college baseball (along with other sports) is being questioned.

If you are considering sending your son to play with a so called elite team which will play in tournament in some far away city, are they playing for anything more than the thought of ‘being seen’?  When you play on your local Legion baseball team, it is just that, a team whose focus is to advance through the State, Regional, and National tournaments.  This goal can only be accomplished through dedication and teamwork.  These goals are attained only by winning a lot of games.  That’s how it works in college and the pros. If you are good enough to advance through to the Regional and National tournaments, you won’t be paying thousands of dollars; Legion Baseball will help defray the costs. Our area of the state has produced the Pennsylvania State champion in 8 of the past 10 years.

Over the past 3 years, the teams of the Schuylkill/Berks League have sent over 40 young men to some level of college baseball.  The league organizes a yearly futures and all-star game which are attended by various college coaches and the Major League Baseball scouting department.

We, as the Patriots organization, offer top level coaching by men who have been involved in the game for many years.  They are doing it not for the money (since there isn’t any), but rather to provide the young men of our communities with a chance to grow as baseball players and people.  We demand much and give freely of our time.  We ask that each member of our organization proudly wear the Legion patch and represent his community through sportsmanship. This is what makes legion baseball different from any other baseball organization. We do not just play baseball; we play Legion baseball.  We play with pride, honor, and dignity, things that are at the core of this country’s ideals.

This season the Patriots are taking one further step and offering baseball at NO charge for our players.  With the help of the Ray A Master Legion Post 217, we also provide free wooden bats, other quality equipment, and participate in various tournaments.

What is the common bond of this list of MLB players?

Yogi Berra, Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Sandberg, Roy Campanella, Dusty Baker, Albert Pujols, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Madison Baumgarner, Steve Carlton, Chris Carpenter, Gary Carter, Chris Coste, David Eckstein, Mark Ellis, Darin Erstad, Steve Finley, Luis Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Brandon Inge, Tommy John, Jeff Kent, Craig Kimbrel, Cliff Lee, Jim Leyland, Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Paul Molitor, Fred McGriff, Will Middlebrooks, Mitch Moreland, Jason Motte, Lyle Overbay, Harold Reynolds, Scott Rolen, Ron Santo, Luke Scott, Gary Sheffield, Drew Stubbs, Andy Van Slyke, Brian Wilson, Dave Winfield.

You guessed it.  They all played Legion Baseball.

Oh, and when was the last time you saw the local newspaper carrying game reports of the Elite teams?  Nearly every day in the summer, the local papers carry daily stories about Legion Baseball.  Just because you are paying more money, doesn’t mean that it is a better investment.

So, when picking which brand of baseball you want your son to play, take into account which will prepare him for the next level of baseball.  An NCAA D-I season is a grind of 56 nine inning games with conference games on the weekend and practice during the week (plus don’t forget to fit in the studies and exams).  They are filled with ups and downs.  We feel that the preparation for this type of commitment begins with Legion Baseball.  Our season starts the end of May and depending on, the results could it carry on as far as middle of August. We play a lot of games in a short period of time similar to college and professional baseball.

Travel baseball used to play mainly during the fall and filled a perfect niche of providing a place for the dedicated one-sport athlete to compete in the “off-season”.  Things began to change when those organizations saw the possibility of more income.  Some start right after the high school season is over. Their messages are all about their good intentions and what great possibilities they can create for your son. It all sounds good, but remember that for most organizations, the bottom line is to make money.

So, if you are considering spending a lot of money to get your son involved in a so called ‘Elite’ program, ask yourself if that money is well spent.  Sure, invest in your son.  Get some private lessons.  One-on-one lessons can absolutely make your son a better player.  Invest your own time in his baseball journey.  But, save the rest of that money to help cover the rest of the partial scholarship.  Invest in his academic abilities.  An intelligent baseball player has an incredible advantage.

If you are a good player, College and Professional Recruiters will find you.  Once they do, will you be prepared to take the next step?  Will you make the best investment possible…time? Will you have the right Attitude, make the Adjustments, cope with Adversity with your head up, be prepared to work as hard as you can with pride honor and dignity?  This is what will not only make you a better player but also a better person.  If you chose to play Legion Baseball, we feel certain that the answer is an unqualified “Yes”.



The Patriots Post 217 baseball program has coaching openings for their 2017 teams.

We’re looking to add assistant coaches for the Senior Legion team as well as head coaches for the Junior Legion and Prep teams.

If interested please contact Pat Solley at baseball@ovyl.org or Walt Sahaydak at walt.sahaydak@brandywinebaseball.com

Fred Van Gulik will be the head coach of the team. Fred is also the head coach of the Senior Legion team and we’re very excited that he has given up his valuable time to work with the boys. In addition he will be assisted by Nate Christman who plays for the Legion team and will be a senior at Oley this year.
This team will be the preparation for the planned 2017 Junior Legion Prep Program. It’s our intentions to have 3 legion team for 2017
Below is a link to the league web site where directions to each field can be found.

Thank you,
Post 217 Board



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