American Legion Freedom Tourney begins today

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Troy Post 70 American Legion 19U baseball team has traveled all over the southeast this summer playing in states such as Tennessee, Georgia and even Nebraska. They boys of Troy will return home starting today to host the Freedom Classic at Troy University and Charles Henderson High School.

The 19U teams will enter this weekend’s tournament with an overall record of 16-5-1. Head coach John Rushing said as the summer had progressed, the team had really come together.

“We are starting to play a little bit better,” Rushing said. “In summer baseball there is a tournament every weekend. It is important to try to get them to play consistently to where you’re seeking to be at your best every single time.”

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Troy is coming off a trip to Albany, Ga., where they competed in the Paul Emes Memorial Tournament. Troy went on to win the tournament making it the first time that a 19U team from Troy has won a tournament since resuming tournament play three years ago.

Coming off a near two week-long trip to the Midwest, Rushing said many of the team members were left a little depleted heading into the tournament.

“We were down to 12 guys heading into the tournament,” Rushing said. “I told the guys I know you’re tired, but it’s important to push through this weekend.”

After tying the first game, Troy went on to win the next four to clinch the championship in Albany. But, it wasn’t easy for Troy in the final two games of the tournament to walk away champions.

On June 28, in a game against Tallahassee, Troy built a 5-0 lead heading into the final inning before relinquishing the lead. Troy was able to score a run in the bottom of the inning to come back and win the game.

History repeated itself the next day for the 19U Troy team. In the championship game again against Tallahassee, Troy was down 6-1 in the seventh inning, but the team was able to score eight runs in the top of the seventh inning to win the game.

“It was very team oriented with some of the things that went on,” Rushing said. “I am proud and glad that I am starting to see some of that with this team. I think they are starting to taste that they can be a pretty good baseball team.”

The Freedom Classic starting today will feature a 10-team field that will bring talent from all over the state of Alabama and northwest Florida.

Along with both Troy teams, the tournament will include last years State Champions Tuscaloosa, Florida’s State Champion Jacksonville Post 88. Jacksonville also participated in the American Legion World Series a year ago.

Tallahassee Post 13, Wiregrass Sports Academy, Ozarks Dixie Majors, Rockdale from Georgia and Birmingham Baseball will also be participating.

Both the 19U and 17U Black teams will be in action today at 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The 19U will play at Riddle-Pace Field while the 17U team will play at CHHS.