Post 70 gears up for season
With the high school baseball season in the rearview mirror, American Legion baseball can now take center stage.
Fresh off their trip to regionals a season ago, the American Legion Post 70 baseball team is eager for redemption and a spot in the state tournament, as well as the World Series in North Carolina.
Post 70 will officially begin the season this weekend with a double-header in Panama City; until then, they will take the time to reintroduce themselves and get ready for another summer season.
“It’s looking really good,” said head coach Rush Hixon. “We are excited as usual. We have given them a lot of time off after their high school seasons ended. All the guys are ready to get back at it and simply play baseball.”
Like in years past, Post 70’s roster will include players from Troy and the Wiregrass. Local players will include former Pike Liberal Arts Patriots Reed and Wood Jinright, along with Charles Henderson’s Cole McWhorter.
In all, five players will be back from last year’s roster. Along with those players, Hixon believes he filled out a roster full of proven winners.
“Ultimately, we have a full team of winners, guys that know how to win and have won,” Hixon said. “Hopefully bringing them all together will bring wins to the club.”
Altogether, Post 70’s roster will include guys from Montgomery, Dothan and Ariton.
Like in any season, Post 70 is faced with the challenge of gelling together as a team. With just a few practices under their belt, Hixon doesn’t see a problem with this year’s team.
“So far, the team chemistry has been great,” Hixon said. “You can tell these guys have grown together really quick. A lot of these guys know each other from playing with each other already or playing against each other. Any time you have guys locally from the wiregrass, it’s going to shape up to be a good team.”
Staying fresh during the dog days of summer will be another challenge for Hixon and Post 70.
“Getting them to step away from the game is important not only physically, but mentally,” Hixon said. “We are going to start a new season with a new team and a new set of coaches and teammates. We thought it was important to give them a break with their arms, their bodies and their minds. I think it has been good.”
Despite the break, players have been clamoring for more and more baseball. Previous years’ success could be a big reason why. Post 70 has made previous trips to not only regional tournaments, but World Series as well. That history has brought a lot of momentum in the early days of practice.
“Last year we lost in the regional championship and this year we have guys back from that team,” Hixon said. “All of them have said after that loss that they really want to get back to that point and win the regional and move on to Shelby, North Carolina. We have guys that have been on the cusp of winning their world series in their respected summer organizations and have come up short. I think the motivation moving forward is going to propel us.”
Post 70 will play in and host a few tournaments this summer including the Father’s Day Classic. They will go to Columbia, Tennessee for the annual July 4 Tournament before heading to Gonzales, Louisiana the following weekend.
“We will play local and we will have a chance to go on some trips, get the kids away from home and expand our competition base which is always good,” Hixon said.