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American Legion tourney involves World War II, Vietnam vets

HUNTSVILLE – Athletes from three states traveled to Madison County to compete in the American Legion’s Alabama/Kentucky/Tennessee 17 and Under Regional Tournament on July 20-22.

The teams played at Charger Field at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Mae Jemison High School in Huntsville.

The Huntsville Post 237 team and Post 17 team from Gallatin, Tenn. competed in the initial game of the tournament. Following the playing of “The National Anthem,” Private Major Wooten was escorted to the baseball diamond to throw the first pitch.

Wooten is a veteran of World War II and a member of American Legion, Post 229 in Madison. He received a souvenir baseball from American Legion Alabama State Baseball Commissioner Allen Phillips. “Major had the range (to reach home plate) … just wide to the right,” Madison Legionnaire Tom McKinney said.

On the tournament’s second day on July 21, the Kentucky All-Stars from Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt and Henry counties competed against the Tennessee All-Star Team.

Madison Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy escorted Harry McMurran, a World War II Army and Korean Conflict Air Force veteran, to throw out the first pitch.

Later that afternoon, World War II Navy veteran Sherwin Callander was welcomed to the pitcher’s mound by American Legion Department of Alabama Commander Harry Christian. American Legion Alabama State Baseball Commissioner Greg Watson and Madison Post 229 Americanism Chairman Tom McKinney accompanied Callander on the field.

Callander served at Pearl Harbor and the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Normandy, France (D-Day). He is a member of Forever Young Senior Veterans.

Pelham Post 555 team played against Gallatin Post 17.

Tom Davis with Huntsville Post 237 served as plate umpire.

Next on the roster, Florence Post 11 played against Kentucky All-Stars. The guest of honor who threw the first pitch was Tom McKinney, a U.S. Marine veteran of the Vietnam War and Americanism Coordinator for Madison Post 229.

Huntsville Post 237 claimed the Winner’s Trophy by defeating Tennessee All-Stars. Legionnaire leaders Christian, Phillips and Watson presented awards. 

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