American Legion baseball underway

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 10, 2005

American Legion’s West Alabama Post #29 sponsors two baseball teams, one each at the junior and senior level. Right now, after approximately two weeks of play the two teams have mirror-image records: the Junior team is 5-1, the Senior team 1-5. But the coaches say both teams will end up with solid seasons before all is said and done.

“We’re just struggling,” says senior team coach Michael Avalon. “Once we come together and start playing, we should be OK.”

Avalon says the team has been stung by the departure of several of the seniors from Demopolis High’s state title-winning

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team, who played with the American Legion squad last year but have elected not to this season for “various reasons,” Avalon says.

“We’ve just got to add players,” he says. “We’ve only got 9 or 10 and don’t really have any pitching. If we can add some pitching and come together and play, we’ll be fine.”

Avalon says that despite some of the team’s struggles, his players have given nothing less than 100 percent on the field.

“They play hard,” he says. “We’re giving everything we got.”

The team is made up of players across west Alabama and even east Mississippi. Rising DHS seniors Tyler Moody and Hunter Hawley, 4A All-State Honorable Mention second baseman Jack Hazelrig of Greensboro, shortstop Anthony Peedin from Meridian, Marengo’s Josh Dunn, and University of West Alabama redshirt catcher Cory Houston are all some of the regional stars contributing to the team.

While Avalon hopes for stronger pitching as the season progresses, junior team coach Jonathan Lynsey has the good fortune of hoping the strong pitching his team has already shown will continue.

“If we keep pitching,” he says, “we’ll keep on winning.”

Leading the team from the mound, Lynsey says, have been twin aces Kyle Thrasher and Patrick Castleman.

“Kyle’s been throwing great, and Patrick has given us some good starts,” he says. “Then we’ve got other people coming in and throwing some great innings of relief.”

Another big part of the junior team’s five wins, which have come against teams from northeast Lauderdale county, Tuscaloosa, and other points in the region, has been the big sticks wielded by Brent Bonner and Chase Seltes.

“They’ve been a big help at the plate,” Lynsey says.

Lynsey says most of his players hail from Demopolis and Marengo County, but the team does include one student from Wilcox and another attending Patrician Academy. As the season progresses, Lynsey only sees more improvement and success on the part of his team.

“If we can score a few runs here and there, and keep pitching,” he says, “we’ll be all right.”

The junior team’s next home game is scheduled for this Saturday, June 11, at 1 p.m. The senior team won’t play at home until the big American Legion Senior Tournament, to be held at the SportPlex June 24-26.