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Summer on the diamond

The American Legion Post 64 varsity and junior varsity baseball teams of Russellville continued their successful starts to their summer seasons with wins July 7.

The varsity team improved its record to 2-0 with a 14-0 home victory over Haleyville Post 33. On the same day over at Bob Jones High School in Madison, the junior varsity defeated the Madison Mavericks of Post 229 by a 15-3 final score.

In two wins over Haleyville Post 33 this season, the varsity squad has outscored the opponent by a combined run total of 23-1.

Meanwhile, the junior varsity is also 2-0, racking up victories over the Madison Mavericks and Huntsville Hooks. The Post 64 JV has outscored opponents by a 38-3 total.

The two Post 64 teams have displayed strong hitting, solid defense and dominating pitching so far this season.

In the latest game versus Post 33, varsity pitcher Gordon White got the start on the mound. He went the first three innings, allowing four hits and a walk. He threw 51 pitches and struck out four batters.

Samuel Pace came on in relief and pitched four innings. The right-hander struck out seven and allowed one hit.

Pace threw 76 pitches and walked four Post 33 hitters.

Side-arm pitcher Emitt Green worked an inning too, allowing two hits, striking out a batter and issuing no walks.

Offensively, the Post 64 varsity smacked 12 hits in the most recent win over Post 33. Banks Langston, JD Bishop and Gavin Slay all had two hits apiece to lead the team. Ethan Oliver, Nick Smith, Reed Hill, Andrew Hatton, Nathan Brockway and Green helped out with a hit each. Brockway’s hit was a double, and he drove in a run and scored twice in the win.

Slay picked up three RBIs, and he also scored a run. Green scored once and had two RBIs, while Langston, Oliver, Heaps and Hill also touched the plate once.

Smith, Bishop and Hatton scored two times each.

Adding to the statistical totals were Langston, Hill, Bishop and Hatton, each with an RBI on the day.

Post 64 batters drew a total of eight walks off of Haleyville pitching, with Hill drawing two free passes. Oliver, Smith, Pace, Heaps, Hatton and Slay also showed good eyes at the plate with a walk apiece.

Smith and White were both hit by pitched balls while at bat during the contest.  Base runners were also busy, with Post 64 swiping three stolen bases.

Post 64 Commander Grant Atkins said the summer teams are a long-standing tradition for the American Legion. “Of course the kids could not play normal ball this past spring and everything,” Atkins noted – which perhaps made American Legion ball even more attractive than usual. “Sponsoring children is part of the pillars of the American Legion, and baseball of course is huge in our area. We have sponsored teams in the past, and it just worked out that we were able to do so this year.

“This gives those children not only an outing but also practice … I’d like to think that has contributed to some of our high school championships, giving those boys some more experience.”

The varsity team will next play Madison Post 229 Jets 1 July 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Russellville baseball stadium. Admission is $5, and concessions will be available for purchase.