Legion juniors ready for District tourney

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

After a nearly two-month season of long travel, tough losses, and big wins, the West Alabama American Legion Post 29 juniors team is about to put what it’s learned on the line in its first post-season action.

West Alabama opens District tournament play Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. with a game against the juniors team from Gordo. The tournament is a double-elimination six-team event featuring teams from Hillcrest, West Blocton, Tuscaloosa Academy, and Northside in addition to Gordo and Post 29. All games will be played at hosts Tuscaloosa Academy.

After finishing the season a game or two above .500, West Alabama coach Michael Lynsey has some reason for confidence at the tournament. With the exception of Gordo, who West Alabama will be facing for the first time this season, Lynsey’s team has recorded at least one victory over each of the other four teams in the tournament. He says the team is also in good physical shape as it prepares to fight for a berth in the state tournament.

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“Our arms are fresh,” he says. “We just didn’t throw that many guys last weekend [against Trussville]. We got out and took a lot of groundballs in practice yesterday. We needed that…I think we’ll be OK.”

The defensive practice was especially important since Lynsey says the team’s success will largely depend on how well West Alabama can field the ball.

“We’re going to hit,” he says. “If we play defense we’ll be all right.”

Lynsey says that the team has shown plenty of improvement at the season has progressed in the other aspects of the game.

“The pitching has gotten better,” he says. “Some of the guys who weren’t hitting at the start of the season are hitting now. That’s another good thing.”

Members of the team hail from Marengo County and across West Alabama. The yare Reed Gardiner, Dustin Edwards, Brett Vick, Brent Bonner, Robbie Smith, Chase Felts, Cameron Brister, Phillip Farmer, Kyle Thrasher, Patrick Castleman, Randy Martin, and Haygon Kaylor.