With only a handful of games remaining, defending state champion Canal Post 25 sits atop the Southern Division with the second best seeding in the state.

Next week, the Delaware American Legion league will wrap up the regular season schedule as teams jockey for playoff positions.

With only a handful of games remaining, defending state champion Canal Post 25 sits atop the Southern Division with the second best seeding in the state.

After a slow 0-4 start, Canal Post went on to win seven straight games and 10 of their next 13. A lot of that success is due to the team finding the best spots for the talent on the roster, whether that is aligning their defense differently or tinkering with the batting lineup.

“We do have people positioned where we believe they’re most effective for the team,” said Canal Post 25 Manager Bill Alexander. “Within the first week of the season we had that in place and it’s been pretty consistent all season as far as defense goes. As far as the batting order goes, we have had some changes in the batting order which we base largely on statistics. Statistics don’t lie, so what we see kind of helps us - we’ve had a lot of success in producing runs in most games and we’re happy with that.”

While some Canal Post teams of the past have been filled with older players, this year’s team may be one of the youngest in all of American Legion Baseball, making the team’s success this year all the more impressive.

“We’ve played almost every team in the league at this point and we’re obviously one of the younger teams,” Alexander said. “Most teams have a number of 19- or 18-year-olds, we have two 19-year-olds, some 18 and 17 years old and a lot of 16- and 15-year-olds, that’s our base.”

Over the weekend, Canal Post split a doubleheader with the Post 10 Generals, one of the top teams in the league.

In the first game, Jack McDermott pitched five strong innings on the bump and the offense led by Mikayle Holloway, Alex Weber and McDermott helping his own cause were able to lift the Firehawks by Post 10, 10-3.

While they dropped the second game of the doubleheader to Post 10, 12-1, Coach Alexander believes the team is in the right frame of mind with the playoffs approaching.

“Our team is very motivated, this is one of the most respectful groups of young men that I’ve ever coached, it’s a credit to them and their parents and just the way they conduct themselves,” Alexander said. “We’ve come back to win a number of games that surprised even our opponents; these guys won’t quit and that’s a great mentality to have. It doesn’t matter how far we might be down, when we are down, they don’t quit and when we’re up they don’t quit either.”

With just a few games remaining in the regular season, Alexander’s club is locked in for the stretch run with a handful of tough games ahead.

“We’re number one in the division right now and we’ve got some critical games this week,” Alexander said. “A number of our kids will be on vacation this week and it’s our busiest week playing seven games. We’ll see what we’re really made of, we’re going to go out there and pull from within, and we’ve done it before. In our first week of the season we were without a lot of our mainstays and we lost our first four and that was a big cause of that. But, we’ve come around and been able to adapt better - I’ll take this group of kids year after year if I could.”

On Thursday, Canal Post will host Fox Post 2 in an important divisional matchup followed by a doubleheader against R.C. duPont Saturday before a makeup game against DelVets Sunday to close out the weekend. The following Tuesday, the Firehawks will take on Milford in their season finale.

“We have a very good record, we’re seeded right now at the top of our division and it’s a tough division, all four in the Southern are equally matched,” Alexander said. “I literally believe that the four of us are close carbon copies. It’s a good division to be in because, to me, that will only build the character of the players because they have to fight for every game.”