Prepping for state

Published 6:45 pm Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dothan Post 12 shortstop Josh Buczek takes a ground ball Thursday at Riddle-Pace Field (Photo/Wes Johnson

With all of Troy’s recreation team eliminated from postseason play, there is still one local event in which baseball fans can catch some quality action before football season.

The Alabama American Legion State Tournament begins Friday at Troy University.

Four teams will battle in a double-elimination format to represent the state of Alabama in the  American Legion World Series Tournament in Shelby, N.C. August 12-16.

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Columbiana Post 131, Decatur Post 15, Florence Post 11, and Dothan Post 12 will participate in the three day event.

Teams arrived in Troy yesterday at took part in a practice session at Riddle-Pace Field before heading off to check in to their on-campus lodging.

Tournament Director Frank Hannah feels Troy is the perfect location for the event.

“Troy’s facilities are great,” Hannah said. “With the play surface you don’t have to worry about rain outs and the university treats us very well.”

The tournament is in its fifth year at Troy University and Trojan assistant coach Mark Smartt is impressed by the quality of competition.

“A lot of these guys are playing in college already so the quality of play is very high,” he said.

In recent years, some future major leaguers have made their way to the state tournament two, of which, pitched in the most recent MLB All-Star Game. New York Yankees pitcher David Robertson played for Tuscaloosa Post 34 and Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel pitched for Decatur Post 15.

Hannah says fans will have the opportunity to watch some future college and potential professional stars this weekend.

“Most all of these players will be college bound,” Hannah said. “Most of them are already there and will be moving to Division I or above.”

Live stats will be kept during all of the games and can be viewed by going to the Legion’s website,

There are eight senior Legion teams that compete in a sub-state tournament to earn a berth to Troy. Tuscaloosa Post 34, who has won state four consecutive years, was eliminated by  losing to Florence and Dothan.

Three Troy residents will suit up for Dothan Post 12. Jalin Lawson, Quay Lawson, and Chase Connell. In addition, former G.W. Long pitching standout Ben Tidwell will wear the orange and blue.

Columbiana and Dothan will kick off the action at 4 p.m. today.

Admission is $10 per day and $25 for a tournament pass. Tournament t-shirts will also be available during the games for $12. All proceeds from the gate goes to help funds American Legion tournaments and events.