Baseball: Princeton Post 125 builds strong roster

American Legion team is a cast of Illinois Valley all-stars

Princeton's Nolan Kloepping makes a catch against Bxureau Valley on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at Bureau Valley High School.

If you want to know what an All-Star baseball team from the Illinois Valley would look like, come out and watch the Princeton Post 125 18U American Legion play ball.

Princeton manager Dave Camp has assembled a cast of the best high school players from Princeton, Bureau Valley, Hall, La Salle-Peru, St. Bede and Putnam County.

It’s a regular Who’s Who’s of Illinois Valley baseball.

“I am really excited about this team,” Camp said. “We are deep in pitching and most of the players batted third or higher in the order for their school. I have multiple first-team all-conference players and just a great bunch of athletes.

“They come to play every day and are having a ball doing it. I’m just a stepping stone to keep these kids active for their future of playing college ball, but also there to get the younger kids more reps at the plate or more innings pitching. Some of their coaches ask me to have them work on certain parts of their game and I try to help them with that.”

Camp said the hardest part of his job will be having to trim the roster down to 18 by next week.

There are eight players from Princeton, including Nolan Kloepping, Jimmy Starkey, Luke Smith and Jace Stuckey from this year’s Tiger varsity team along with Cayden Benavidez, Wyatt Hanson, Ryan Jagers and Zeke Klingenberg. Starkey, however, has not been cleared to play from a knee injury.

Bureau Valley sends three players in Elijah Endress, Bryce Helms and Brock Rediger.

Bryce Helms

LaSalle-Peru sends a fivesome of Seth Adams, Brendan Boudreau, Kyle Rios, Jackson Piecha and Nolan VanDuzer from its varsity team this spring.

The Hall Red Devils are represented by Jack Jablonski while St. Bede sends Nathan Husser. Both were first-team Three Rivers East All-Conference players.

Nathan Husser

Nicholas Currie, a 2023 Putnam County graduate, is the only active college player, redshirting his freshman year at Missouri Science and Technology.

PC is also represented by Peyton Barto and Carter Hochstatter.

Post 125 is off to a 6-2 start, winning its first two games in the Nolan Keane Tournament over the weekend before falling in the championship game to the Canton Crunchers.

They beat GWBC 12-0 at Sterling Wednesday

The Princeton Legion is playing its home games at different area fields, including Annawan, Bureau Valley, Princeton, Granville and Hennepin, “wherever there is a field available,” Camp said. He is grateful, he said, for those schools letting them play games this year.

The season winds down with the District Tournament from July 24-28 at Sherrard High School.

“I really expect us to compete this year for the District Championship,” Camp said.

Remaining home dates are:

June 26 GW Baseball at Bureau Valley High School, 5:30 p.m.

July 2 Sterling at Bureau Valley High School, 5:30 p.m.

July 16 Peoria at Granville or Hennepin, 5:30 p.m.

July 20 Orion at Granville or Hennepin, 11 a.m.

July 27 at Annawan, 5:30 p.m.

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