By Carey Reeder | Personal editor
The American Legion Chilton County Post 216 is preparing for its second year of competition on the baseball field. Coming off a 9-5 season last summer in the first year of competition, Station 216 commander Michael Hall and coach Seth Harris hope this season will be just as enjoyable for the players.
The 2022 season kicks off June 2 at 6 p.m. at Jack Hayes Field against the Post 1918 Montgomery Knights.
“Last year, everything fell into place,” Harris said. “We wore old jerseys, but it was a lot of fun. It’s very laid back, and we really show up and play.
Former post commander Steve McAnally was a baseball fanatic and wanted to form a team with the post. He sent a letter to Hall saying he needed help putting together a baseball team.
“I was the vice-commander at the time, and I was like, ‘What baseball team? “, Hall said.
McAnally met with local high school coaches and connected him with Harris, who played for a position in Chilton County while in eighth grade. The team was formed with 17 players in less than a month.
This season, Harris and Hall will focus on more organization with the team and already have jerseys and hats for the team as opposed to the high school jerseys the players wore last year.
“It looks like it will be better this year and I know what to expect,” Harris said. “And also having fun like last year because a lot of players told me it was the most fun they had playing baseball. I just want them to enjoy it again this year.
The American Legion team is on the field to give players who don’t play summer travel baseball a chance to stay active and get in the game.
“I just want them to have fun more than worry,” Harris said. “High school baseball is stressful and you’re playing for something. In this, you just go there to play and relax.
The team practices a little but not as much as a high school team. Any junior or younger who moves up can play on the team. The youngest player on this year’s 15-man roster will be a freshman next year. There are no tryouts and players are encouraged to contact us if they are interested in playing.
“It helped a lot to get a lot more reps in both the infield and the outfield,” returning Bradlee Padgett said. “You have all the schools, and you are trained there differently, and we help each other when we come together like that. Putting it all together can make you better that way.
Padgett said he’s also looking forward to more opportunities at the plate to improve his second season with Maplesville.
Newcomer Brayden Mims said he’s excited to be able to work on his craft throughout the offseason.
“It’s important to keep the rhythm and follow it (during the summer),” Mims said.
All matches will be doubles throughout the season. All home games will be held at Jack Hayes Field and admission is $5 for ages 10 and up.
The Post 216 team is a varsity-level team and will have the opportunity to compete in the American Legion State Tournament July 16-18 in Madison.
“It’s a good program, and it nurtures a lot of good ball players who have gone on to play professionally,” Hall said. “This is just one of the American Legion’s programs for community youth.”
The post hopes to generate enough interest to field a junior varsity team in the future.
2022 American Legion Chilton County Post 216 List
Brody Baker, Logan Bice, Colton Brock, Logan Coppedge, Coven Crumpton, Coy Crumpton, Eli Dale, Carter Emmerich, Tyde Harrison, Troy McMillan, Brayden Mims, Tyler Mims, Bradlee Padgett, Zach Sharpton, Cade Smith