During the dog days of summer, coach Trice Powers is seeing a lot of progress in local baseball. American Legion baseball has been a big help, with two groups playing multiple games each week throughout the summer.
Powers, who has taken the WCHS baseball team to the region tournament in each of his two seasons, made a big move last summer to get American Legion baseball back locally. Now two years into wearing the Post 173 uniforms, he’s seeing the dividends.
“The summer has gone really well. We’re playing some good teams and we’ve played well at times,” said Powers. “Our older group is showing how much they’ve gotten better from last year to this year. We’re going to try to pitch it well and win a state tournament. We’ll be right in the mix.”
The local Post 173 teams are broken into two divisions – 15U and 17U. Last season, the 17U Post 173 squad won the state tournament. The team will get its chance to repeat July 18-22 when it plays in the state tournament at Vol State Community College.
Powers knows his group, which shocked some teams on its way to the title last summer, won’t be an underdog at this year’s event.
“I think there will be more teams who will give us more respect and be gunning for us,” said Powers. “Columbia will always be tough. They came down here recently and beat us in our tournament. We’re on people’s radar.”
The 15U team will play in its state tournament July 11-13 at Zion Christian Academy. Both tournaments are still working on setting times for games.
While the older group has already made some noise, the 15U group has players starting to find their way at a higher level. Six players are coming off the WCMS team and getting their first opportunity to play at Patrick Ramsey Field.
Powers hopes it will help when spring rolls around.
“This gets them all together a little sooner and helps them mix in with some other guys,” said Powers. “We’d like to have more kids involved. We had some big classes the last two years, but this year we only have six. We’d love to get more kids in the mix and see what they can do.”
Local fans can see both squads next week. The 17U team is set to play a doubleheader against Post 281 from Mt. Juliet Tuesday, July 9 starting at 5 p.m. The 15U team will play a nine-inning game against Post 60 from Pulaski Friday, July 12. Action will begin at 6:30 p.m.