2019 Mint Hill American Legion Baseball Tryouts in Full Swing

Coaches Stu Brown, Bryan Bunn address athletes, returning player Bubba Comer getting the message. (Ed Berti)
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Independence Jonathon Todaro delivering in the bullpen. (Ed Berti)
Ryan Mangum taking batting practice. (Ed Berti)
Players practice in the outfield. (Ed Berti)
Shagging fly balls. (Ed Berti)
Noah Howie another player and coach on the infield. (Ed Berti)
Returning players Corbin Berkovitz and Jake McDaniel. (Ed Berti)

The Mint Hill American Legion tryouts have been going on for the past two Saturday’s at Independence High School, the team’s home ballpark.

In the first week it appeared the “Boys of Summer” were ready to compete as the sun was high in the sky, the grass was emerald green, the clay infield was dry, and the players from five different high schools were taking batting practice and fielding balls in both the infield and outfield.

The senior team age group is from 17-19, consisting of mostly high school upperclassman and freshman college players. While the junior team roster is filled with high school players from 14-17 years of age. Stu Brown is the head coach of the senior team who has an excellent baseball resume, while Queens Grant High School head coach Dan Kerr will lead the junior team who also has a solid baseball background.

This past Saturday due to weather conditions, the boys were only able to take batting practice in the batting cage, and the pitchers were able to throw in the bullpen. The coaching staff will hold another workout next Saturday so they can get a better look at some of the players who they may not know as well as returning athletes. Also, they will have to make decisions on what team the borderline 17 year old’s will get the most playing time. This is important because there are only so many players the senior team can carry on the roster. Also, if a senior team player has an injury, cannot make a particular game these are the players they will promote to fill in the roster spot.

“We want to get the senior team set and ready for the upcoming season which is compacted into 22 games over 30 days. Then it’s playoffs in July to qualify for the American Legion World Series in August. However, our primary goal is to get these athletes prepared to play college baseball at a two year or four year program at the next level if they have the opportunity,” said Coach Stu Brown.

Opening Day for the senior team will be May 25th against Gastonia at 7:00 p.m. at home. While the junior club will play Stanley on May 28th at 7:00 pm at Independence High School Stadium. All fans should come out and enjoy a good brand of baseball and support the local area’s best ballplayers against solid competition from around the state.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.