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Madison American Legion Post 229 is sponsoring legion baseball again in the Madison area.

“This is our third year of sponsoring American Legion baseball,” Commander Larry Vannoy said. “Two years ago, we had two teams, last year we sponsored five, in spite of the COVID protections we had to work around. I only see the program continuing to grow. This is competitive baseball with players typically coming from school teams or intend to try out for school teams.

“We have secured Bob Jones and James Clemens ballfields; I am confident other school ballfields will be available should we need them. Our high school coaches are huge advocates because of the competitive, less expensive option. Player fees range about $250 to $300, significantly less than the traditional travel team. Most games are played against other legion community teams, seldom do teams require overnight stays. Fees include supplemental health insurance, team liability insurance, coach background investigation, a uniform, and all ball play fees.

“We are seeking team sponsors that could significantly reduce the cost to play.”

Teams can also play tournaments outside the legion as you would see in a traditional travel team. Teams come in as school teams, pre-formed teams that were travel teams, or individual players wanting to join a team.

The baseball program offers opportunities in three age divisions: Junior Varsity, Varsity and 19U for state championships. The 19U division state champion can advance to the regional tournament and possibly the American Legion World Series. 

The Junior Varsity division is designed for the rising ninth and 10th graders. The Varsity division is open for all players with at least one remaining season of high school athletic eligibility. The 19U (Senior Division) division is designed for recent high school graduates and younger players with a possibility that some prior year graduated players may be eligible.

American Legion baseball has an alumni base that includes more than half of current Major League Baseball players. American Legion baseball is one of the most prominent and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues in existence.

The program is always growing and participation is easy so there’s ample opportunity for new players to join, for coaches who want to start a team, for umpires, and for individuals or groups interested in volunteering. 

American Legion baseball has a long history in Alabama. The league strives to provide a good mix of flexible schedules and good competition. The season typically begins after the academic school year ends, which is near the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The state tournament is normally held in mid-July. The season offers both full- and part-time play. The program has league-focused teams, tournament teams and hybrid organizations.

Regular season and tournament games are held within Alabama. The American Legion is run as a not-for-profit league with the goal of improving young people within a positive, competitive environment while preparing players for high school and collegiate level play.

The American Legion will observe a Jan. 1 cutoff date for age eligibility. The 13-year-olds are the youngest players in American Legion baseball with a date of birth in 2008.

For more information about American Legion baseball in Alabama, visit the website http://alabamaamericanlegionbaseball.com. At this website teams, individual players and coaches can enroll.

For information about the Madison American Legion Post 229 teams, visit http://americanlegionpost229.org/ and choose the baseball tab or call Vannoy at 258-8534, email commander@americanlegionpost229.org.

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