Post 70’s 17U team ready to begin American Legion season

Published 3:00 am Saturday, May 28, 2016

With Memorial Day just two days away it could only mean one thing: American Legion baseball is right around the corner. Post 70’s 17U squad is knee-deep in practice.

“So far the guys are having a lot of fun and getting along,” said Manager Derek Wilkes. “We had two practices so far this week. The older team isn’t allowed to practice until after graduation but we are able to do it after baseball season is over.”

The 2016 17U squad will have a good mix of players from all over Pike County and the surrounding areas. The 2016 squad includes seven players from Charles Henderson, three from Pike Liberal Arts, two from Brantley, two from Geneva and one from New Brockton.

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Most of the players on the team even though they come from different areas know and have a relationship with one another from playing with and against one another throughout the years.

“They all pretty much knew who each other were,” Wilkes said. “They all get along great.”

Unlike their 19U counterparts, the 17U team is full of players in their middle of their high school career. The majority of the team will be seniors with five of them being juniors.

“The focus is to be centered around getting better for school ball,” Wilkes said. “That to me is what summer ball is all about. It’s mainly about having fun, but to get better so they can benefit their school team in the spring.”

Coaching duties for the 17U team will fall upon Troy resident Tripp Blackmon. The head coach currently is pitching at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia.

The schedule this summer for Post 70 will largely consist of games closer to the Pike County area. They will open up play next weekend when they host a tournament here in Troy. They will be playing 28 games throughout the summer month and travel places such as Dothan, Ozark and Millbrook with the state championship being held in Birmingham.

“It’s always fun to interact with your teammates when you go off and play a team from somewhere else,” Wilkes said. “They will always run into someone they know.”

Even though the plan is to improve while playing in the summer the goal for everyone is to have a good time.

“It’s always fun to see how you stack up,” Wilkes said. “Summer ball is for kids that want to play baseball. It’s always fun to see how you stack up with the kids that are just as interested as you are.”

The players for Post 70’s 17U team are: Graham Wilkes, Reed Jinright, Wood Jinright, Wyatt Grice, Edge Branum, Nate Renfroe, Brennan Aycock, Ethan Walker, Tyler Hussey, Bradley Paramore, Devan Suddith and Grant Hughes, Charlie Tisdale, Carson Tucker and Garrett Tucker.