Legion Baseball step up to plate
Published 9:01 am Monday, May 16, 2005
By By Tim Cottrell
After a long absence, the American Legion is finally going into battle.
Only this time the combat will be on the baseball field.
Doc Sutton of American Legion Post 90 in Atmore has recently drummed up support for the group to sponsor American Legion Baseball for 16-19-year-olds in Atmore.
Sutton said that this move had been a long time coming.
"One of the oldest leagues is Legion baseball," Sutton said. "Atmore used to be a member, but hasn't participated in a while. I've been commander for two years now, and we have reinstated American Legion Baseball sponsored by Billy Glen Rushing Post 90."
In addition to Sutton, Darrell Holsonback of the Atmore Police Department has signed on to manage the team's publicity and recruitment needs until the season starts this summer.
"We're still putting together a sign-up roster," Holsonback said. "We're going to have tryouts soon. Right now I'm just publicizing and getting players signed. If someone wants to coach he needs to talk to me."
Sutton also praised the Poarch Band of Creek Indians for stepping up to solve one of the group's biggest holdups over the years.
"One of the things that held us back was the lack of a baseball field," Sutton said. "The field at Tom Byrne Park was damaged by (Hurricane) Ivan, so we were without a home baseball field, but our neighbors in Poarch came through for us. They met and decided to let us have the use of their baseball park."
Rodney Exum, Wellness and Activities Director for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, confirmed that an agreement had been reached.
"We've allowed them the use of our baseball field down by the Pow Wow Grounds," Exum said. "We're looking forward to working with them."
"It's more work for me," laughed Mitchell Hughes, Recreation Director for Poarch.
Sutton was more than happy to heap praise on the Poarch Indians for their kind gesture.
"We're grateful to have Poarch, we're indebted to them," Sutton said. "We are pleased to be affiliated with them."
Sutton said that Holsonback was currently looking for any applicants available.
"Darrell is looking for coaches who want to volunteer to help," Sutton said. "In our immediate future right now is to sign up any applicants to play."
Holsonback also had other interesting ideas for the summer for American Legion Baseball.
"We're planning to have in the first week of July a homerun derby for that age group (16-19)," Holsonback said. "There will be more information about that coming later."
Sutton felt that his plan would be a rousing success here in Atmore.
"As soon as the word got out that we were planning on having a team we got calls from Tuscaloosa, Dothan, Panama City, and Mobile. People are excited that we are starting this back up and the support thus far has been phenomenal."
In addition to putting a team together, Sutton has also had to put great thought into what to call his new squad.
"It has been suggested that we might be called the Escambians," Sutton said. "We're from Escambia County in Alabama and Florida, and we recruit from those areas. I also think Escambia is a Poarch word."
The American Legion Baseball is looking for prominent citizens who have been affiliated with baseball for some time to help in organizing and promoting Atmore's newest team. Sutton also provided contact information to join the team or volunteer.
"Anyone that wants to know anything should call me," Sutton said. "You can contact me at Sutton's Music Shop at 368-3747, or 368-3783. The 3783 number would be better if I happen to not be there because it has an answering machine. At night people can call me a 368-4975."