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Despite the turmoil from the coronavirus pandemic, there is finally some good news on the local sports front. The Alabama American Legion plans to have a robust baseball season. 

“With many of the Alabama American Legion posts interested in sponsoring teams, we plan to have a fantastic summer baseball program,” Madison County Commander and Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy said. “We hope to start having games around Memorial Day weekend and go through mid-July, culminating in an end of season tournament.”

According to Vannoy, American Legion baseball costs a fraction of the cost to play summer travel baseball.

“Our focus is basic civics, sportsmanship and Americanism while playing our national game,” he said. “We are reinforcing respect to our flag, the rights and privilege of being a citizen in this great nation and respect for those that pay the price of freedom. We play the national anthem before each game and encourage Legionnaires and other veterans to attend the games and wear Legion or service caps and talk to the players and parents to support and encourage them to be responsible citizens.” 

American Legion baseball is a competitive program primarily comprised of high school ballplayers that want to compete after the school baseball season ends. However, unlike travel and showcase baseball, all American Legion baseball coaches are vetted by a criminal background check. American Legion registered teams come with liability and supplemental medical insurance as well as access to a free robust software program to track player rosters, pitcher pitch counts, team wins and losses. They work with teams to develop their play schedules against other area American Legion teams.

“American Legion teams play primarily in the state of Alabama. The opportunity for extended families to watch their loved ones play baseball is a benefit for our Legion players,” Vannoy said. “The class of 2020 players could have an opportunity to play in front of their friends and families to have a better closure for their 2020 season. With several teams in the area, we will be able to play evenings and weekends without the need for overnight stays.

“We will follow the Alabama governor’s COVID-19 guidelines as we progress through the spring and summer.”

Eligible players must be born between Jan. 1, 2007 (youngest player) and Dec. 31, 2001 (oldest player). Registration in available online. Please choose the proper division for your player.

Divisions include the following:

• Junior Varsity Division – Current ninth-grade and below players

• Varsity Division – Current 11th grade and below players

• 19U Division – High school graduates born in 2001 and younger players  

“We invite school teams and travel teams to enter. Individual ballplayers will be also be formed up into Legion teams,” Vannoy said.

Teams, coaches and players should visit the Alabama American Legion baseball website to register at www.alabamaamericanlegionbaseball.com/.

More information can be found at the Madison Post 229 website, www.AmericanLegionPost229.org.

Questions can be sent to Commander@AmericanLegionPost229.org or call 468-8400.

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