Time is running out…American Legion signups end Friday with games set to begin soon

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Time is quickly running out for 13 to 15-year old players that are interested in playing American Legion baseball this summer as Friday will be the last day to sign up and league play begins next week.

A player can sign up at the Horace Mann Insurance office located beside Beef O’Brady’s in Elizabethton.

“The cost is $40 per player or $50 for brothers,” said Ricky Walters who oversees the league. “We start play on Monday, May 20th and we have about eight or nine teams signed up right now.

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“The games are played behind T.A. Dugger. The American Legion has been sponsoring the league for about six years now. We try to get about 20 to 23 games and we will finish the week before July 4th and then we will have a tournament the week after.”

According to Walters, the league has teams participating from Mountain City, South Holston, and last season had a team from Mitchell County, North Carolina participate.

The teams try to get around 15 players per team to help offset the events that take place during the summer.

“We try to get about 15 players per team because as always something is going on like Vacation Bible School, church groups, kids going to Washington, D.C., and vacations,” stated Walters.

“Kids are going to miss so it makes it tough getting nine kids there all the time. We also have a player pool so if a team doesn’t have but seven or eight players, we will call kids that live in the neighborhood to come and play to make up the rest of the team.”

It is also an exciting time as Walters said that there is a possibility a state tournament for the American Legion could be coming to Elizabethton.

“This is the first year that the American Legion is thinking about a state tournament and we might get the tournament since we have had so many teams,” Walters added. “If that is the case, then we will have a state tournament right here in Elizabethton.”

Walters went on to add that the league is not a pressure-packed league but is more than anything just for the players to have fun with the game of baseball.

“Everybody has fun,” Walters continued. “It is self-sustaining. The concession stand pays for the umpires. There is not a lot of pressure. It’s laid back and for the kids to have fun.”

If anyone is interested in helping, there is plenty of opportunities.

“We need volunteers to help run the concession stand, the PA system, and umpire so if anyone wants to come help, they are welcomed to do so,” stated Walters.