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AAA American Legion is back in Thurston County!

Legion baseball was first played in Thurston County under the North Thurston legendary coach Jim Fouts. After coach Fouts retired the area went to Babe Ruth and select baseball. In 1995 River Ridge Athletic Director, then Timberline High School Head Coach Gary Larsen brought back Legion baseball. The first few years the team had players from North Thurston, Timberline and River Ridge. They were called Sports Warehouse, then MVP Athletics. In 1996 the Budd Bay Bandits club was formed by Olympia High School Head Coach Todd McDougall, Dennis Gubser Yelm High School and Tim Graham current AD at Tumwater. In 1998 MVP Athletics and the Bandits combined. Over the years this Legion program has taken players from North Thurston, Timberline, Olympia, River Ridge, Tumwater, Capital, Tenino, Rochester, Northwest Christian and Yelm. Not a lack of interest or talent of players took apart the strong Legion clubs. Rather the talent of the area drew in many outside teams recruiting players away. Area coaches decided to focus on AA Legion teams, which is equivalent to High School varsity baseball.

A American Legion has made a resurgence over the past few years in the area. A Legion is a transition from Middle School baseball into High School baseball. It is a great level for 8th and 9th grade students to compete at while adjusting to the speed of the game.

We are creating a Developmental League to help players that may not make the A Legion team. Our philosophy is to keep as many of the younger players involved as we can. We understand physical majurity and skill development takes place at different times in young players. Middle School players will play spring season March-Mid May similar to the High School players. They will then be encouraged to enter the Thurston County Baseball Association Legion system and be placed on either the A Legion team or Developmental League.

There are many advantages to participating in American Legion. The High School evaluation process will continue through the summer. Each school will be teaching program expectations at a more in depth level which can help the student-athlete learn the skills needed advance in his High School program. It allows quality competition within a High Schools program as well against competing against other programs players to move up the system. Your area High School coaches are involved in the process from the Developmental League-AAA. American Legion stands for something and the players play for something. Legion post season is not a buy in tournament allowing those with money to participate. Teams must win League, Districts, State, Regionals to advance to the World Series.

Having a Developmental League, A, AA & AAA American Legion teams takes a lot of work and communication to run. Select teams have had the advantage of being able to offer winter workouts, instruction and showcases. Along with WIAA rules not allowing a High School coach not to run practices with his players in the offseason was demise of our areas AAA Legion team. A Legion went away because of the lack of a consistent quality product after 12U baseball in the Middle School years. Coaches at that level not having access to transition 80’ base fields and full sized fields.

It has taken a lot of effort from many people who care about area players, families and baseball but we believe we’ve been able to bridge the game for the Middle School players, streamline communication for all the levels and be able to provide all the perks of any select type organization. All while playing for something (American Legion State, Regionals & World Series), providing a clear route for advancement at respective High School and through the summer program, developing players with high level instruction, preparing student-athletes for High School/College athletics and doing so at a much lower cost.

Cost: $500 (Developmental-AAA) $150 deposit by Dec. 1st includes all winter training & summer activities

Thurston County Legion Association (Developmental, A, AA & AAA)

· Access to winter workouts at participating High Schools

· Offseason workouts coached by qualified instructors, directed by Tim Ahern, monitored by Lance Baker, Steve Roth and Matt Acker

· Competitive summer schedule

· Ability to be on dual rosters to be able to challenge players as they progress through the system

· Summer speed/strength training program taught by Scott Colby professor at McKendree University

· Availability to participate in all program workouts through the summer from developmental workouts to practicing with the Puget Sound Collegiate League teams

· Showcase 14U, 15U, 16U & 18U as an all-star team in select tournaments

· Workouts will begin in November, team placement is in May

· Season run June-July. Post-Season for A-AAA could go into August

AAA Legion

· Made up of the best High School players from Timberline, Olympia & North Thurston

· Coached by Tim Ahern, former D1 player at Texas Tech, former college coach at Bellevue, former summer coach for Baden and current AD at Olympia HS

· Ability to transition on graduation year as a duel roster player in the Puget Sound Collegiate League

· Play at Saint Martin’s University

· Go to select showcase tournaments

· Play opponents on college fields for away games through connections with our groups large network (SMU, CWU, UW, WSU, Clark, Bellevue, Big Bend, Yakima, Centralia, etc)

· Compete for a position & play for something

AA

· Play for your High School coach and staff

· Participate in all activities

· Be eligible to move up to the AAA team

· Compete for a position & play for something

A

· Be coached by your High School coach and staff

· Participate in all activities

· Be eligible to move up to the AA team

· Compete for a position & play for something

Developmental League

· Be coached by your High School coach and staff

· Access to AAA coaches & players

· Access to Puget Sound Collegiate League coaches and players

· Transition into High School baseball learning the skills needed to increase the opportunity to make a High School team