CLOVER -- With young, vibrant players competing and an eye on the future, Clover American Legion Post 38 concluded the 2008 season last week with a 4-2 loss to second-place Fort Mill.
The score was knotted at 2-all in the seventh inning when Fort Mill pushed across two runs for the win.
Justin Parham had two hits for Clover, with Travis Heffner and Clint Medlin each driving in a run.
Medlin had a strong mound performance, with two earned runs, six strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.
The loss continued a losing trend after a strong start to the 2008 season that included five wins of the seven games played from May 27 to June 23.
Hayden Hendry had three hits and two RBIs in the 8-1 June 23 win over Lancaster. Heffner and Ethan Hines had two hits.
Post 38 had an incredible turnaround earlier in the season, losing 28-3 to a loaded Pineville team, then winning a 7-6 thriller the next time they played them.
Prior to Saturday's narrow defeat to Fort Mill, Clover lost 3-2 to Rock Hill the July 4 week.
"Our kids are awful young," observed head coach Darrell Van Dyke. "Sometimes a team goes through growing pains.
"Young players get better by playing."
Van Dyke said the Post 38 players weren't able to regain the right chemistry after the mid-season break.
Despite finishing with a string of losses, several players put up some impressive season stats.
Travis Swanda finished the season with a hefty .450 batting average.
Others hitting .300 or better for the season included Jacob Brinkman, .345; Hines, .319; Harris Morris, .315 and Hendry, .302.
Medlin was the team's top hurler, finishing 2-2 with 37 strikeouts and a 2.34 ERA for the season.
Shifting his thoughts to next season and beyond, Van Dyke said the future looks bright for American Legion baseball in western York County.
"I saw improvement from junior and senior legion players this season," he said. "Another positive was having three players from York compared to one last season.
Said Van Dyke, "York has good talent, too. Post 38 is for Clover and York participants."
The veteran baseball mentor has positive vibes about the program.
"We've got kids that want to play," he said.