Post 70 finishes regular season, ready for state

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The American Legion Post 70 baseball team knocked off TPL Baseball 14-6 on Tuesday afternoon.

The win brings the season to a close with Post 70 holding a 19-7 record.

Despite not having a full roster, Post 70 ended the season on a high note.

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“We had a lot of guys missing for college orientations and all-star games and we were a little undermanned,” said head coach Rush Hixon. “I was very proud of the guys that were able to come and we were able to compete like everybody was there. I was pleased with the performance on the mound and at the plate.”

The win continues a recent trend of success for Post 70. They have won eight consecutive games going back to the Independence Day Classic in Columbia. After losing two straight games in that tournament, they rattled off four-straight wins to claim the championship.

“I think we are playing our best baseball right now,” Hixon said. “We went through a slow point for a couple of weeks, but the Tennessee tournament was where we turned it around. We found our stride in that tournament and I hope that continues heading into the postseason.”

Hixon doesn’t underestimate the importance of heading into the playoffs playing their best baseball of the season.

“I think it means everything. We talked at the beginning of the year about, right now it’s OK to lose these games because we’re going to get better. Everything we have done up to this point, our goal is to win in the postseason. We wanted to be playing our best at this time.”

Heading into the season the strength of the team was on the mound, but as the season progressed, the bats and the offense took center stage and Hixon believes the offense is now the strength of the team

“We thought it was going be pitching, but right now we are hitting as well as we have all summer. I think hitting is our strength. We do have arms that can get the job done, so I think we have a balanced attack. As long as we make the plays behind our pitcher, we will be fine.”

The state tournament will bring more competitive baseball for the players of Post 70. It will feature both Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, two teams Post 70 lost to earlier this season.

“I think this will probably be the best (tournament) we have had in the three or four years since I have been here,” Hixon said. “We expect some really strong competition. The teams in our state are up this year and there are actually more teams. It’s going to be a big challenge.”

Troy is the defending state champion and, because of that, Hixon believes his team will have a target on their back starting in game one. He hopes experience will also play a factor.

“You always want to be a veteran group, a team with experience in winning. At the same time, nothing you did last year will funnel over to this year. We will have a big target on us; that will add a little bit of pressure. Pressure is a privilege. If you don’t have pressure, you’re not any good.”

Post 70 will open up their tournament at 1 p.m. in Birmingham against Tuscaloosa Post 34. On Saturday, they will close out pool play with games against Mobile and Central.

“The top two from each pool will go, so these games will carry some weight,” Hixon said. “We do have our work cut out for us.”

The winner of the state tournament will advance to the regional tournament.