Post 240 host Vinton at LB July 14; Legion tournament starts this weekend in Salem

The District 9 American Legion baseball tournament is scheduled to be played this weekend in Salem. Most of the games will be at Kiwanis Field, but several of the games, including the championship, will be played at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

Action is tentatively scheduled to begin Friday, although that wasn’t set in stone as of press time. District 9 chairman Doug Heptinstall indicated the games could be moved back to Saturday depending on this week’s weather.

Martin Henderlite pitches against Vinton last week.  Photo by Jim Devinney
Martin Henderlite pitches against Vinton last week. Photo by Jim Devinney

“We have to get the regular season games in for seeding, and I like it on Saturday because more people can come to the games,” said Heptinstall.

Updates on the tournament can be found on the Legion web site at www.americanlegionvirginiadistrict9.org. The web site is new this summer.

“It’s going to be a good thing,” said Heptinstall. “We had a little trouble getting the coaches to post scores at the beginning of the season, but they’re on there now. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming along.”

All 10 teams in District 9 will be seeded together for the tournament. Botetourt is in the West Division with Salem, Roanoke, New River and Vinton, and the East Division consists of Danville, Lynchburg, Big Island, Martinsville and Rocky Mount. Danville will be the top seed for the tournament, and Botetourt should be in the top half of the bracket depending on what happens this week.

Botetourt Post 240 was 5-6 overall and 4-3 in the district with two regular season games to play. Botetourt was scheduled to play Martinsville at Hooker Field on Tuesday, and tonight a game with Vinton is scheduled at Lord Botetourt High. If Botetourt can win both, the Legion team will have a winning record in the regular season for the first time ever.

Last week, Post 240 was shut out by Lynchburg at Liberty University on Tuesday, 9-0. For the first time all year the Botetourt bats struggled, as 240 was held to three hits, two by Dalton Lipes and one by Ryan Hepler. Dustin Winand took the loss on the mound and Jaret White and Brian Wood also pitched.

“We played great defense but we didn’t hit,” said coach Jeremy Sink. “We just didn’t have it that night.”

On Thursday, Botetourt was scheduled to play Vinton but rain washed that game out in the second inning. It was rescheduled for today, July 14, at LB.

Once all the games are completed, seedings will be determined and the tournament will begin either Friday or Saturday at Kiwanis. The championship game, and maybe two others, will be played at Memorial.

“We’re hoping to have more games at Memorial next year,” said Heptinstall. “The folks at the Red Sox want to see what Legion baseball is all about before they make a larger commitment.”

The winner of the district tournament will advance to the state tournament at Dan Daniels Field in Danville, beginning July 27. If Danville wins the district it will be the only team to advance. If someone else wins, District 9 will be represented by two teams, the district winner and Danville, who will go as the host team.

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