One area’s loss became another’s big gain in recent days when Arlington County was added as an emergency replacement site for this month’s American Legion state-baseball tournament.
The eight-team competition, which will include local District 17’s Arlington Post 139 as the host team, will take place July 26-30 at the Barcroft Park and Wakefield High School fields. The artificial-turf Barcroft diamond will be the venue for the final two or three games.
Arlington was added when the original site in Spotsylvania County was withdrawn because the host Spotsylvania Post 320 team did not have enough players to field a team this season.
“We are so happy to have Arlington, and it will be great to have the tournament up here,” said Jim Grenier, Virginia’s Legion baseball chairman. “Those are two very good fields. We will keep things simple and won’t have big opening ceremonies like we have sometimes in the past. But that’s OK. The teams can just focus on baseball, which is better anyhow.”
Bob Romano, the commissioner of Northern Virginia’s District 17 and the manager of the Post 139 team, worked with schedule-makers Greg Anselene and Patrick Leonard of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation to secure the two county fields for the state tourney.
“Greg and Patrick worked hard for us by checking the availability of the two fields and making arrangements. The fields were open on those dates, we had to confirm some things and it is a go,” Romano said. “It will be fun to have the tournament here and to be in the state tournament a second straight year. Arlington will have two great field sites ready for the games.”
The state Legion tournament was last played in the District 17 area of Northern Virginia in the early 1990s, when Falls Church Post 225 hosted the event at Robinson Secondary School, with a team from Midlothian winning the title.
With District 17 as the host, three teams from the league, including Post 139, will have berths into the state tournament. The District 17 tournament champion and runner-up also will earn berths. If defending champion Arlington (also third in the state tourney last summer) wins the district tournament or finishes second, then the third-place finisher will advance to the state tournament.
Currently, Vienna Post 180 is in first place in the District 17 standings, with Arlington second. Springfield Post 176 is third, with McLean Post 270, Fairfax Post 177, Falls Church Post 130 and Alexandria Post 24 following in the standings.
NOTES: The Chesapeake Seals Post 280 team is the defending state champion . . . Last summer’s state tournament was held in Purcellville. Vienna 180 won the state titles in 2018 and 2019. The tournament was not held in 2020 because of the pandemic . . . The 2022 state tournament champion advances to the Mid-Atlantic Region tourney in Morgantown, W.Va. Aug. 3-7.