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Summer ball continues at Legion Field
by Chase Wallace
cwallace@neighbornewspapers.com
July 18, 2012 09:03 AM | 1140 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray
Alpharetta Patriots right fielder Marcus Fitzhugh, of Johns Creek, warms up before Monday night’s game.
Staff / Erin Gray Alpharetta Patriots right fielder Marcus Fitzhugh, of Johns Creek, warms up before Monday night’s game.
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With the explosion of club baseball in the last decade, the 85-year tradition of American Legion baseball has taken some of its biggest hits in the state of Georgia.

But with history on their side the Alpharetta Patriots play on, representing Post 201 on Legion Field as one of 11 remaining Legion squads in Georgia.

“We have suffered a little bit because of the popular travel teams, but this team and Legion ball is still a place that offers a lot,” said Post 201 coach Ed Wojeski, now in his 10th year as the Patriots’ skipper. “The biggest thing is the sense of community is still there, and we may have to remind the kids every once in a while, but we keep that pride in what we represent.”

Established in 1926, American Legion baseball was the original travel baseball program in the United States — with each community’s best ball-players barnstorming across the countryside for bragging rights each summer.

Today Legion leagues remain strong in many parts of the country with over 5,400 teams registered this summer alone and as many as 360 in Pennsylvania, but specialized club baseball has dwindled the numbers in Georgia to just more than 10.

Wojeski said that even though numbers are low, the level play remains high.

“The kids out here are all good players,” said Wojeski, noting that each roster has 18 players and players are eligible to play up to the age of 19. “It’s still a great program and still a very competitive league.”

In Alpharetta, Wojeski’s team has had an up-and-down summer with what he described as a scrappy ball team.

“We have some strong pitching, are very good defensively, and have an offense that gets a lot of guys on base.”

Wojeski pointed out shortstop Brett Dolan, first baseman B.K. Womack, and Dalton Davenport as three players having particularly good summers.

“We’re lacking a little depth, so small ball and good pitching is the key for us.”

Post 201’s regular season will wrap up this week before heading to Loganville for the Georgia State Tournament July 26 through 29.

“We have had some really good teams in the last few years but that is something we haven’t been able to win in a while,” said the Patriots coach.

“We’re going to go out there with plans of being highly competitive and hopefully winning that state title.”
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