Junior Legion play amps up Polk baseball programPublished 4:35pm Thursday, June 28, 2012
He calls the legion the instructional league. During the past month, Alm and other volunteer coaches brought in former college players that in the past played for Polk County. Those former players worked with the 13-17-year-old Polk County players individually at their various positions.
Playing against legion teams from further east also pitted Polk County’s kids against stronger players.
East of here baseball is bigger. All the teams except for one in our junior legion conference are drawing from two or three high schools. We’re drawing just from Polk,” Alm said. “You see better pitching in legion play than you see even at the varsity level.”
Polk County’s players met the challenge. Alm said he would have been happy had the team posted four or five wins but they grabbed 10, finishing particularly strong in the last six games, he said.
While Polk’s bats got hotter so did their fielding work. Alm said fielding has become second nature to the players because they have done so much individual work.
PCHS Varsity Head Coach Ty Stott said this excites him for the future of the high school’s program.
“When we have junior legion and we start leveling the playing field and getting advantages like that I think we’re just going to get better and better,” Stott said.
The American Legion of Tryon sponsored the team’s first season by paying insurance fees required for the team to form. Players also paid a fee and sold ads to help fund the team as well. The legion meanwhile provided support in another way too – they showed up.
“It was amazing the support we got from the American Legion there in Tryon,” Alm said. “They came to a lot of the games and had a lot of good things to say about the program.”
Alm said the Polk County community also came out to support the team with numerous people coming out to watch games.
The team’s last legion game will be played Monday, July 2 at 7 p.m. at West Lincoln High School.