Post 47 awarded 2015 junior legion state baseball tournamentAmerican Legion tournament to be held at Western Carolina University’s Hennon Stadium
The gates of Childress Field at Hennon Stadium will be open for five days in late July 2015, as Haywood Post 47 Baseball Clubs landed the bid to host the eight-team North Carolina American Legion Junior Tournament on the campus of Western Carolina University.
Post 47, which will serve as a host for a state tournament for the first time ever, learned of its winning bid from N.C. Area IV Commissioner Rocky Bennett on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are excited to be hosting a state tournament for the first-time ever,” said Post 47 Commander Ken Rector. “I’m very proud of our players, coaches and the advisory board for all the work they have put toward getting the bid to host the state junior tourney. And we are very excited to have formed a partnership with Western Carolina University.”
Recently, two Area IV teams won the state legion championship as South Caldwell Post 29 concluded its season by winning the junior championship a week ago in Raleigh and on Tuesday, Shelby Post 82 won the state senior title.
Shelby Post 82 advances as the North Carolina champion into the American Legion Southeast Regional in Asheboro, which starts Aug. 5.
Because there isn’t a baseball venue big enough at the present time in Haywood County, the Post 47 advisory board went to Cullowhee and negotiated a partnership with Western Carolina University.
“Once we heard the proposal, everybody in the athletic department was all in for this,” said WCU associate athletic director for internal operations Todd Lawing.
In addition to providing Hennon Stadium and all the spacious parking surrounding the baseball complex, Western Carolina University has also agreed to provide on-campus housing and dining privileges at the Courtyard Dining Hall for each junior team at substantial discounted rates. Throughout the entire junior tournaments, the WCU athletic department will provide its baseball grounds crew to maintain the field and in case of rain and delays, Hennon Stadium has an infield tarp.
The WCU athletic department will also provide throughout the entire junior tournament, two certified athletic trainers and an ambulance, while the umpires will be provided a locker room in the Ramsey Center.
In addition to huge monetary benefit from hosting a state tournament, there is added incentive to run a quality tournament.
“The proposal submitted by Haywood Post 47 was very impressive,” said Bennett. “The selection committee wanted to do a trial run and if this first tournament goes well, there is a good chance we will award Post 47 the junior and senior tournament in 2016.”