American Legion state tourney comes to Troy

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chase Smartt fires a ball across the infield during practice on Tuesday. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Chase Smartt fires a ball across the infield during practice on Tuesday. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

American Legion baseball has been a part of John Rushing’s life for years, and now he and Troy Post 70 stand just three wins away from capturing the state championship.

Rushing’s father played on a team that captured the American Legion World Series, and now he has the opportunity to lead a group of 13 players from the Troy area to the nation’s top prize. But before they can hoist the trophy in Ashland, N.C., the group must bring home the Alabama state title this weekend.

The team is made up of ball players from Troy, Dothan, Enterprise, Jack and other communities from southeast Alabama, something that Rushing feels has helped the players off the field as well.

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“Some folks would think that players from Troy and Enterprise couldn’t get along well,” said Rushing with a smile. “But this group of guys have really come together and put those rivalries aside. The Troy kids and Enterprise kids actually went fishing together last week.”

Troy advanced to the state finals by picking up a pair of wins at the Sub-State Tournament in Birmingham earlier this month.

The top four teams from that tournament, Troy, Florence, Tuscaloosa and Bessemer, advanced to this weekend’s finals.

“We have gotten some wins against all of the remaining teams at some point this season,” Rushing said. “Now, we just have to get the job done when everything is up for grabs.

The tournament begins Friday with Tuscaloosa and Bessemer playing at 4 p.m. and Troy and Florence begin at 7:30 p.m.