Jarrett Houston takes a throw from first tagging Wetumpka's Ryan Crockett before he reaches the plate.
Jarrett Houston takes a throw from first tagging Wetumpka's Ryan Crockett before he reaches the plate.

Post 133 looks to showcase area talent

Published 8:00pm Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The 32 players chosen to represent Millbrook, and their respective schools, as part of Legion Post 133 are in for a seven-week crash course in baseball and all the facets there of.

“Summer is about taking a group of kids and making them elevate their game,” said Wade Atchley, coach of the Red and Navy Post 133 squads. “If I send them back to Coach Russ Brooks (Wetumpka) or Coach Scott Johnson (Stanhope Elmore) or Coach (Wendell) Jackson (Elmore County) the same as they were when the high school season ended, then I haven’t done my job properly.”

Atchley has been coach of the Millbrook squad since 2002 and won the American Legion State Championship in 2004.

“Everything we do, in the game and in practice, is about teaching the game of baseball,” said Atchley. “This isn’t your typical travel team that shows up on the weekend. We run a baseball program and practice as much as we play.”

More than 65 student-athletes from throughout the River Region converged on Millbrook looking to make it inside the top 32.

“What we do is a seven-week baseball camp. It’s a teaching camp and I think that’s why we’ve been successful throughout the years,” said Atchley. “We showcase the kids with the intention of going onto the next level. We teach them how to travel, dugout etiquitte – things that are going to help them get to the next level.”

The baseballers assignments began this weekend as Post 133 Red and Navy took part in a two-day round robin event hosted by Opp.

“I thought everyone had a good weekend,” said Atchley. “We succeeded in trying to learn what we wanted to learn this weekend.”

The Navy Club, Millbrook’s U17 squad, finished the weekend 3-1 ten-running Covington County’s U19 squad and their high-school eligible squad and then dispatching opp.

The lone blemish was a 3-2 loss to Florida’s Vero Beach.

“It was a team made up of junior college players,” said Atchley. “But, it’s better for us to face teams like that during the summer. My kids are going to have to play over their heads and that’s going to help them get better.”

The Red Club finished the weekend 2-2.

“The two games they lost, they lost on mental errors,” said Atchley. “But that’s part of the learning process. They have to realize that every pitch, they have to be mentally sharp.”

And to help with that, he’s got a team full of sharp kids.

“Our tryout is no different than a Major League tryout. It’s how you’d workout in front of a Division I scout or a Major League cross-checker. Just because the guy throws 95 doesn’t mean I want him on my team,” said Atchley.

He also requires his players to keep at least a 3.0 grade point average and a final report card is required with the tryout.

“Our parents are vested in this club as much as the children are,” said Atchley.

After playing Wetumpka Tuesday, Post 133 will return to the friendly confines of the Mustangs baseball field to take on the Tuscaloosa Thunder Thursday and then will compete in the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Showcase Friday at Faulkner before ending the week with a five-game-affair back in Millbrook on Saturday.

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