By BOBBY WHITT/ Courier Contributor
Part of Bobby Ferrell’s vision during his term as commander of Hilton Stone American Legion Post 279 in Woodbury was to see the inception of American Legion baseball in the community.
It did not take long for the dream to become a reality as Woodbury has an American Legion baseball team for the first time in 2013.
The Hilton Stone American Legion Post 279 team is a 17-under squad whose players all hail from within Cannon County and all of its players are drawn from Cannon County High School.
The squad carries its full compliment of 18 players.
“American Legion is very active with the youth and baseball is a big part of that,” Ferrell said. “Getting an American Legion baseball program started in Woodbury was important to us for the involvement and it is also an important program for American Legion. We are thrilled to have this team. We are also pleased with how they have competed in the first year of competition.”
Manager Tony Stinnett sees the situation as a win-win for all involved.
All of the players on the American Legion Post 279 squad are also members of the Cannon County High School baseball team.
“This serves as our summer program and we are able to keep all of our players together throughout the summer,” Stinnett said. “We are involved in a great organization and American Legion baseball is highly competitive not only in Tennessee, but also throughout the nation.”
That competition has tested the younger Lions in the first season. All American Legion teams are either 19-under or 17-under. The majority draw the top players from three or more high schools in their area so the competition has been stiff.
“We have held our own in the four tournaments we have played,” Stinnett said. “Our players continue to improve and our younger players will only benefit from practicing and playing with this team. I can already see improvements.”
Post 279 Commander Christine Barrett said many of the veterans within the organization was delighted to realize Woodbury would have an American Legion team in 2013.
“American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues,” Barrett said. “There are many top programs throughout the state and we are proud to say we have one of them right here in Woodbury.”
The Post 279 Lions have primarly played tournaments throughout the month of June. They have participated in four tournaments to date. They are scheduled to play in the Tullahoma End of Summer Bash July 11-14, before playing in the American Legion Junior State Tournament at Columbia State, July 18-22.
The Lions also expect to have a series of home doubleheaders throughout the month of July.
“As with anything this will improve with each year,” Stinnett said. “Last year we didn’t have a team and this summer we will have played in a minimum of six tournaments. Our plans call for more home games and to host a summer tournament in 2014. We are just excited about this partnership with American Legion Post 279, and excited to have the chance to represent our veterans.”