Troy 19U begin tourney

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 24, 2015

After a long summer that saw Post 70’s 19U team travel across the Midwest , the squad starts state tournament play today at Riddle-Pace Field at Troy University.

The winner of the four-day, double-elimination tournament will advance to play in the Southeast Regional Tournament in Asheboro, N.C.,

Head coach John Rushing was a little disappointed in the outcome of the team’s performance in the July 4th Freedom Classic tournament, but said he is excited about the five-game winning streak and momentum that gives the team heading into state play.

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“I am a little more pleased coming off the recent streak than I was coming out of the Fourth of July tournament,” Rushing said. “I am happier now with how things have been going lately.”

Offensive success is a common theme in the recent wins.

“One of the things we have been doing is talking to them about getting runners in who are in scoring position,” Rushing said. “We have not been doing that real well. In all five of the games we have played (and won recently), we scored double-digit runs in four of them. That has been a huge improvement for us.”

Of the five teams Troy has played since the Freedom Classic, three of them will play in the state tournament: Dothan Post 12, Bessemer Post 149, and Tuscaloosa Post 34. In each of those games, Troy scored more than 10 runs.

Troy will open up today with a match up against Bessemer Post 149, the 2013 state champions.

“They have a younger team this year,” Rushing said. “That is something that has made things a little difficult for them, especially against teams like ours who are older. Sometimes those younger kids will play a little more eager. Any time you have a team coming in that wants to win a championship, that is something you can’t take lightly.”

Troy downed Bessemer 13-2 in their last meeting, capitalizing on Bessemer throwing errors and mistakes on the field.

“We know it is different playing for a championship,” Rushing said. “We won’t be playing them in just another Saturday afternoon game. That opponent will be different when it comes time to play in a tournament setting.”

Still, Rushing said Post 70 enters the tournament with momentum and confidence.

“I hope where our confidence is coming from is from the last few games we played rather than just this one (against) our opponent,” Rushing said. “This run we are on right now is where I hope they are getting their confidence. We are starting to do some of the little things that we have talked about all year long. It has been a little bit of a process to get this point but they are starting to get there.”

Post 70’s first round game against Bessemer Post 149 will be at 4:30 p.m. today at Riddle-Pace Field. Other teams in the tournament include Wiregrass Sports Academy and Florence Post 11.

“Any help we get from our home crowd would be great,” Rushing said. “They’re going to see good baseball this weekend. It would really help the players and the team.”