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Brewton Legion set to kick off season

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Their skipper feels he has the right pieces for a successful summer. At the same time, Brewton American Legion Post 79 baseball coach Joey Turner also admits his team has a rough road ahead.
"One of the toughest things we have to overcome is our schedule. We've got three very difficult tournaments at Dothan, Panama City (Fla.) and Demopolis to go along with some tough regular season opponents. Many of the teams we play have a much, much larger talent area to draw from than we do and that makes it tough to compete," Turner said.
Post 79 posted a 14-14 record last year under Turner, who is entering his fourth season with the program.
"Probably our highlight last year was getting our first ever win over Dothan Post 12. Considering who have to play, a .500 record or maybe just slightly better would be a successful season for us this year," Turner said. "I think we'll be a team that hits well. Our defense should be O.K. We've got a lot of pitchers who are close in ability. We have our share of questions. Some of them I can't answer until we get a few games under our belt."
Chris Graham of Escambia County High School and Daniel Hodge of W.S. Neal will probably divide first base duties.
"Chris played with us last year so he has some experience at this level under his belt. He is an outstanding hitter and a good first baseman. Chris is going to be out the early part of the season due to some work on his wisdom teeth," Turner said. "Daniel hasn't played first base since his early days of high school, but I think he'll be able to handle the spot when we put him there. Both he and Chris are lefthanded sticks."
Second base could have a variety of candidates although Baxley Raines and Allen Williams, both of T.R. Miller, are expected to get the majority of the playing time there.
"It's Baxley's first year for legion ball and it will be an eye-opening experience, but I think he can make the adjustment. Baxley can also play shortstop and he'll do a lot of pitching. He gives us another lefthanded bat in the lineup," Turner said. "At age 15, Allen is one of our youngest players. He has a good, solid glove. He'll help fill in at second when Baxley pitches and Allen will also do some pitching."
Jordan Cauley of T.R. Miller will handle most of the shortstop chores.
"Jordan played shortstop for us last year, but he has some flexibility. He could see some time at third base and he has played a lot of second base in the past," Turner said.
Jake Bonds of Flomaton and Becker Denton of T.R. Miller are the top candidates for third base.
"Without a doubt Jake is our most versatile player. He is capable of playing virtually every position and I can't say that about any of our other players. Jake probably saw the majority of his time at third base with us last year. Even though Becker is new to legion ball, we look for him to contribute a lot at the plate. He has been a successful hitter at every level he has played so far," Turner said.
Leftfield could have the combination of Bonds, Chad McCall of W.S. Neal and Brandon Douglas of W.S. Neal.
"Brandon played a lot in leftfield for us last year, but he is primarily a pitcher. He had some ankle problems late in the high school season, but we believe he has gotten over them. We've converted Chad from a pitcher into an outfielder. He has had some shoulder problems lately and we may not be able to use him in as a pitcher for a while," Turner said.
Jacob Salter of T.R. Miller will patrol centerfield on most days.
"Jacob has a lot of tools and makes things happen," Turner said.
Justin Marshall of T.R. Miller and Jefferson Davis Community College member Alex Granade
See LEGION Page 3B