American Legion returns to San Diego County baseball fields

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After a long absence in San Diego County, American Legion baseball has made a return. The fledgling league, sponsored by District 22, has released a regular season schedule spanning from June 12 to July 12 with 13 teams placed in two divisions.

The seven-team Navy Division includes the Chula Vista Mater Dei Crusaders Post 434, National City Seahawks Post 255, Ramona Patriots Post 332, West Hills Tomcats Post 364, Madison Hawkeyes Post 731, Patrick Henry Trojans Post 416 and Santana Sea Knights Post 258.

After a long absence in San Diego County, American Legion baseball has made a return. The fledgling league, sponsored by District 22, has released a regular season schedule spanning from June 12 to July 12 with 13 teams placed in two divisions.

The seven-team Navy Division includes the Chula Vista Mater Dei Crusaders Post 434, National City Seahawks Post 255, Ramona Patriots Post 332, West Hills Tomcats Post 364, Madison Hawkeyes Post 731, Patrick Henry Trojans Post 416 and Santana Sea Knights Post 258.

The six-team Marines Division includes the Coronado Seals Squadron 460, Helix Hornets Post 416, Monte Vista Vigilantes Post 201, District 22 Panthers, La Jolla Country Day Skyhawks Post 275 and Santa Fe Christian Buckeyes Post 416.

All players are high school age.

The season starts following the high school season and will end with a World Series national championship tournament in August in Shelby, N.C.

American Legion, which was established in 1925, helps fill a void during the high school offseason with summer at-bats aiding player development. An impressive 74 American Legion graduates have gone on to reach the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Each team will play between nine and 14 regular season games, followed by a post-season tournament. Contests are scheduled at 5 p.m.

East County has a sizable presence in the fledgling league with five teams.

The Tomcats play their home games at West Hills High School while the Vigilantes play their home games at Monte Vista High School. The Hornets play their games at Helix High School while the SeaKnights play their home games at Santana High School.

The Trojans play all their games on the road.

Other venues are located at Coronado High School, Sweetwater High School, Mater Dei Catholic High School, La Jolla Country Day High School, Ramona High School, Hoover High School, and Santa Fe Christian High School.

The Patrick Henry and National City teams combined for a memorable debut on June 12 by combining for 23 runs, with 20 of them scored by the victorious Trojans.

National City used seven pitchers in the season debut contest while the Trojans employed three hurlers: Andrew McAlpin, Ben Manis and Jack Powell. McAlpin pitched the opening two innings, striking out four batters.

Mateo Medina went two-for-two with three RBI while Ryan Preciado went two-for-three with a double to provide the hitting highlights for the winning team.

Trojan coach Sheldon Watkins said the skill range on his team spans what might be expected from high school freshmen to seniors, in other words, encompassing players 14-18 years old.

“I love it,” Watkins said of the return of American Legion baseball. “It gives us an opportunity to have some fun in the summertime in an environment where high school kids have an opportunity to play outside of travel ball.”

Watkins said his team will be playing 11 regular season games this summer.

The SeaKnights and Hornets are both off to 2-0 starts. The SeaKnights defeated the Buckeyes, 12-4, and the Vigilantes, 10-5, in a pair of games at Santana High School while the Hornets topped the Skyhawks, 5-2, and the Crusaders, 8-4, in a pair of road matchups.

For more information, visit the website at www.ald22baseball.org.

Pony baseball: section, regional tournaments on tap

A pair of section events will usher in this summer’s Pony-14 all-star tournaments.

Chula Vista North, Emerald Green, Emerald Black and Ramona will gather June 23-30 at the Emerald Pony League fields in El Cajon to get one event under way.

Chula Vista South, Paradise Hills, the Fallbrook Apaches and host Tecolote will participate in another event scheduled June 25 to July 1.

The top two teams from each section tournament advance to the regional tournament July 12-15 in Lakeside.

The top two finishers at the regional tournament advance to the super regional tournament July 26-31 in Lakeside and Covina.

The West Zone tournament is scheduled Aug. 2-5 in West Hills, followed by the International World Series Aug. 10-15 in Washington, Pa.

The combined Pony-13 section tournament is scheduled June 16-22 at the Emerald Pony League fields in El Cajon. Participating teams include Carlsbad, Ramona, Emerald Devil Dogs and La Jolla.

The region tournament is scheduled July 5-7 in Lakeside, followed by the super region tournament July 12-17 in Whittier and West Covina.

The West Zone tournament is scheduled July 19-22 in Whittier, followed by the International World Series July 27-30, also in Whittier.

In younger age divisions:

The eight-team Bronco 12U section tournament is scheduled June 23-28 in El Cajon.

The Bronco 11U section tournament is scheduled June 16-24 at Tecolote.
The Mustang 10U East/South sectional is scheduled June 16-19 in El Cajon.

The Mustang 9U East/South sectional is scheduled June 16-24 at Tecolote.

The Pinto 8U East/South sectional is scheduled June 16-25 at Tecolote.

The Pinto 7U East/South sectional is scheduled June 26 to July 1 at Tecolote.