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For the first time since 1929, Sumter American Legion Post 15 will not sponsor a baseball team.
However, it’s not by Post 15’s choice.
The American Legion National Organization announced in a memo that it was shutting down the program due to the coronavirus pandemic.
I don’t like it. I was against it,” Sumter athletic director Bill Lyons said of the decision. “From what I understand, teams in the Midwest -- South Dakota, North Dakota and Utah – were getting ready to practice. Then they put out nobody can play under American Legion baseball this year.”
Even though Post 15 isn’t officially sponsoring a team, it is planning on putting together a Senior team for an independent league that is being organized by Florence Post 1 head coach Derick Urquhart.
Lyons said it’s his understanding that 26 teams have already said they would like to take part in the independent league.
Dalzell-Shaw Post 175 head coach Jamey Lisenby said he and his coaching staff have decided to pursue playing in the league and will meet with their players on Thursday.
Manning-Santee Post 68 athletic director Spencer Jordan said a decision has yet to be made.
The American Legion season in South Carolina had actually already been cancelled. In the middle of April, the South Carolina American Legion's Department Executive Committee decided to shut down the season. After much protest, the DEC said it would review its decision on May 15, which was Friday. Needless to say, the national office beat it to the punch.
While the team will be more of a travel team since it won’t be supported by the post, Lyons said it won’t be an issue getting players.
“It’s no problem getting kids to play,” he said. “They’re all anxious to get started.”
After the City of Sumter sent out a press release on Friday saying that all city parks will reopen on Tuesday, Riley Park will possibly be available for practice. Of course, any practice would have to be done according to social distance norms and the number of people gathering.
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