Collin Strickland releases a pitch in a bullpen session Monday. Strickland is from Enterprise, but makes the trek to Troy to take part in American Legion baseball. (Photos/Ryan McCollough)
Collin Strickland releases a pitch in a bullpen session Monday. Strickland is from Enterprise, but makes the trek to Troy to take part in American Legion baseball. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Archived Story

Troy Post 70 gearing up for start of season

Published 8:15pm Monday, May 26, 2014

Until last year, the Troy American Legion baseball team had laid dormant for years.

John Rushing brought the program back to life in 2013, and now looks to have the program competing for titles for years to come.

Last summer’s Post 70 squad featured two teams, but this go around three teams will fly the Troy banner.

The 15-and-under team returns some key players from last years team, but Rushing feels the group will get better and better as the year progresses.

“There are some vets on that team that will really help us out,” Rushing said. “But I am really excited about the new guys that are coming over. They are a young team that will get better as we go. There is a lot of great young talent on that team.”

Rushing said the 15-and-under team is still in the process of adding players.

The newest group, the 17-and-under team, like all the Post 70 teams, features players from not just Troy, but all around southeastern Alabama.

The 17u roster features eight pitchers, something that Rushing feels will be beneficial down the stretch.

“You have to have pitching depth playing summer tournament baseball,” Rushing said. “We didn’t field this 17-and-under team at all last year, so to have that many players come out, especially that many pitchers, will really help. I am very excited about this team.”

The 19-and-under team features a dynamic roster of players that are either already on college lineups or will soon be headed to the next level.

Former Charles Henderson star, and current member of the Southern Union State team, Joey Denison leads the talented team, along with Pike Liberal Arts standout Taytom Barnes and a quadruplet of CHHS players – Hunter Baggett, Blake Craft, Chase Hartley and Jason Fleming – fresh off back-to-back AHSAA State titles.

“We hope to keep this 19-and-under team growing,” said Rushing. “This team brings back a lot of great talent from last year, and welcomes in some fresh faces too. This team is designed for guys that are going to play college baseball one day. They will be a formidable opponent for any team they play.”

The rosters feature not only players from Troy, but also from as far away as Montgomery, Geneva and Dothan.

While Rushing wants the teams to have its share of local, homegrown talent, he says bringing in the best from around the area also has its advantages.

“These kids have really come together and had a lot of fun over the past year or so,” Rushing said. “You would think that kids that have grown up playing against each other their entire lives wouldn’t do that, but they have. They played Dixie Baseball against each other for a long time, and now they get to see the other side of the fence and play with one another. It is truly a cool thing to see.”

All three Troy Post 70 teams will get the summer season underway this weekend.

The 15-and-under and 17-and-under teams will host the Post 70 Invitational at Riddle-Pace Field and Charles Henderson’s Frazier Field Friday-Sunday.

The 19-and-under team will begin its season at the Eagle Stadium Classic in Ozark.

For more information and complete tournament listings, visit post70baseball.com.

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