Post 70 ready to host Classic

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

Troy plays host to the American Legion Fathers Day Classic beginning Friday.

Twenty teams from throughout the southeast will make up the tournament that runs through Sunday. Of the 20 teams, five of them are defending state champions including Texarkana, who is the defending American legion World Series champions.

“I am really excited about the level of talent that should be here,” said team manager John Rushing. “From an American Legion baseball standpoint, it won’t get much better.”

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Joining Arkansas and Post 70 as defending champions will be Columbia (Tennessee), Tallahassee Post 13 (Florida) and Covington (Georgia).

“It’s a very good field of American Legion baseball teams tied in with some other travel ball teams, teams like North Florida and the Ozark teams. It’s a strong field; I had no idea we would have 20 teams,” Rushing said. “It should be a good tournament.”

The tournament will feature four pools of five teams. Each team will play the other four teams in the pool. The top two teams in each pool will advance to an eight-team single elimination tournament on Sunday.

The games will be spread across four different stadiums, three of which will be in Troy. Troy University’s Riddle-Pace Field, Charles Henderson and Pike Liberal Arts will be the three stadiums in town and Eagle Stadium in Ozark will also see games for pool play.

“Being able to have the three fields and having them so close means nobody has to drive very far,” Rushing said. “It’s very helpful to have three fields within a couple of miles between one another. It gives people the opportunity to come in from all over the southeast and see the different fields that we have.”

Having three fields in Troy also gives Post 70 the opportunity to raise money for the program.

“It helps as a team to not have to go somewhere else,” Rushing said. “It also brings a lot of money into the town. It brings the money to us, but all the teams are spending the night in our hotels, they are eating at our restaurants so it’s a really good thing for the community especially with this amount of teams.”

On the field, Post 70 will face a stiff challenge when trying to advance out of pool play. Joining Post 70 will be Pulaski (Tennessee), Dothan Post 12, Rockdale (Georgia) and the defending champions from Texarkana.

“I put (our team) in with the World Series champions so I am not sure how smart I was for doing that, but we wanted to play them,” Rushing said. “We are going to hope to go out there and compete. We are going to have our hands full. Our strength is going to be pitching.”

Post 70 will also have their 17U squad participate in the tournament. They will make up Pool C along with North Florida, The Georgia Eagles, Tuscaloosa Post 34 and Columbia Post 19.

On Saturday American Legion will honor Tuscaloosa who won the World Series 50 years ago, Columbia who won it 10 years ago and Texarkana who is the defending champions.

Columbia and Tuscaloosa will play at 2:30 and will be followed by Post 70 taking on Texarkana. In between games, the coach and the winning pitcher for the three teams will be honored on the field.

“We are going to be able to honor all those people,” Rushing said. “It’s pretty cool to have those three World Series champions here.”

Post 70’s 19U squad will begin play at 11 a.m. Friday at Riddle-Pace Field, while the 17U team will play on the Pike Liberal Arts campus.