America’s pastime will soon be reunited with the local American Legion.
On Tuesday, May 29, the American Legion Post 173 baseball team will take the field at Patrick Ramsey Field, marking the return of the baseball program which was once a big part of the community.
“It’s a good thing for everybody,” said WCHS baseball coach Trice Powers, who has worked with the American Legion to reestablish the program locally. “We care about our vets and our vets care about baseball. They’ve taken care of us and we want to take care of them.”
"I think it's going to be an awesome experience. It should generate more interest in baseball in the community - not only for high-school level players, but younger players as well."
The 17-year-old local American Legion team will begin play at 5 p.m. Tuesday, where they’ll take on Post 88 from Nashville. The 15-U Post 173 team will travel to Manchester Tuesday to face Post 78.
A ceremony will be held before the game, while WCHS principal and former Pioneer and American Legion player Jimmy Walker is scheduled to throw out the first pitch. Many prior American Legion baseball players are also expected to attend.
Bringing back such an established league was important to many members of the community.
“American Legion baseball is great exposure for the players. Lots of former MLB players played American Legion and college coaches use it to scout,” said Kenny Sweeton, the chairman of the American Legion Post 173 baseball program. “We want to build this into one of the best programs in the state.”
According to the national American Legion website, the baseball program was founded on July 17, 1925. The website notes, “About 82,000 youths play on Legion-sponsored teams each year and more than 50 percent of Major League Baseball players are graduates of the program.”
American Legion Post 173 is very active in the community, supporting local food banks, working with homeless vets and serving as the honor guard at all veteran funerals. One of the biggest service projects for Post 173 will occur this week when members place flags at every grave of veterans in the county.
Sweeton views the baseball program as another way to give back to the community.
"This can bring the community together in support of veterans and local baseball,” said Sweeton.
If volunteers would like to assist with the program, Sweeton can be reached at 808-5795.