One of the benefits of playing for the Ardmore Cardinals, Jacoby Adkins said, is an opportunity to enhance his versatility.
Adkins, a senior at Kingston, is one of seven Lake Country Conference seniors who play for the local American Legion team.
Adkins, J.T. Maynard and Layne McClennahan play high school football, basketball and baseball. The trio is among the Cardinals players who hope to continue their athletic careers beyond the high school level.
Adkins said baseball is his favorite sport.
“It’s let me play different places, and try to get a name out for myself,” Adkins said.
Maynard has thought about his future. Football, he said, is a possibility.
“Baseball is by far my favorite sport, and that will be my No. 1 option,” Maynard said.
McClennahan, a senior at Lone Grove, is less certain.
“I don’t know which one (I want to play in college) yet,” McClennahan said. “Probably baseball or football. I’m not sure.”
Ardmore Cardinals coach Blake Campo is a Legion team alumnus. This is his first season coaching the squad, which is sponsored by American National Bank.
Maynard, a senior at Davis, credited the extra repetitions he gets as a member of the team.
“I’m getting 30 or 40 more games this summer than I normally would,” Maynard said. “It’s just good seeing better pitching.”
Adkins played right field last weekend in Sherman.
He said Cardinals players — and their opponents — have a mutual interest.
“It makes us better, to see better pitching,” Adkins said. “They’re wanting to make a career after high school, so they’re playing legion (baseball).”
While trying to secure their respective futures by playing for the Cardinals, these athletes must keep an eye on the present, as they decide how to balance their legion schedule with football’s summer pride workouts and, perhaps, whether they (can) play in basketball summer leagues.
Lone Grove concludes its league this week.
It’s the offseason, by definition, but that does not guarantee a significant increase in time off.
Cameron Selensky is a senior at Plainview, Hunter Karlik and Braeden Tracey are seniors at Davis, and Robert Riley enters his final year at Marietta.
While members of the Ardmore Cardinals, they’re learning from an alumnus.
“I played three, four years on this team,” Campo said. “My last year, after I got an offer, I went to Murray State. We had 10 kids that played on the legion ball team together. You build bonds on this team, and it really helps you because you know people. When you go to college, it’s just a little bit different. It helps you kind of keep calm.
“You see a lot of great teams, a lot of great pitching, that you probably wouldn’t see if you were playing (exclusively) with your high school team. Seeing new teams, that are probably better than you, it teaches you a lot.”
Campo signed with the University of Nebraska-Kearney in June, 2014, but he was not on the Lopers’ 2015 roster.
Nonetheless, his experience could help these players get where they want to go.
Further, Tanner Vernon and Drake Harper can also advise their Legion teammates regarding what’s required to play college baseball. Vernon, a Lone Grove grad, and Harper — a Plainview alumni — concluded their freshman seasons at Bacone College and Butler Community College, respectively.
Campo also played college baseball, manning left field for the Aggies. He batted .356 in the 2013-14 season, hit a pair of home runs and drove in 21 runs.
“We help them progress as ballplayers,” Campo said. “We’re not only trying to teach them how to play baseball. It’s teaching them how to play the game the right way, how to further their ability and use it the right way.
“If you’re a good player, we’ll be able to work with you.”