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The boys of summer return
The American Legion Post 77 baseball team went 30-1 last season on its way to the 2012 American Legion State Championship. Post 77 begins its title defense Tuesday against Douglasville.

The American Legion Post 77 2013 schedule:
June 4 vs. Douglasville 7 p.m.
June 6 at Douglasville 7 p.m.
June 9 vs. Alpharetta 2 p.m.
June 10 at Buford 7 p.m.
June 13-16 MIA Tournament
June 19 at Canton 7 p.m.
June 21-23 Classic at Albany
June 26 vs. Tuscaloosa 6 p.m.
June 29 at Dawsonville 2 p.m.
June 30 at Loganville 2 p.m.
July 8 at Alpharetta 7 p.m.
July 11 vs. Canton 7 p.m.
July 13 vs. Renegades 1 p.m.
July 14 at Peachtree 2 p.m.
July 16 vs. Buford 7 p.m.
July 18 vs. Loganville 7 p.m.
July 20 vs. Peachtree 1 p.m.
July 21 vs. Dawsonville 2 p.m.
July 25 State Tournament

The American Legion Post 77 baseball team begins its state championship defense Tuesday as the 2013 season gets underway.

Several players return from the team which went 30-1 en route to a 12-4 title win over Douglasville last July, including Cole Hamilon, Jake Wright, Keith Buckhault, Daniel Jackson, Tyler Mahan, Cole Murphy and Drew Buckhault. Some of those players, however, will be late returners, due to vacation and conflict issues, something Post 77 coach Jack Murphy and other American Legion coaches have to deal with annually.

"We're just now forming our team up," Murphy said. "We really don't know what we have. Some of the areas, we're going to be better and some areas we're not."

One of those areas, which is still a mystery is pitching, was the 2012 team's strength, in its pitching staff. Offensively, though, Murphy said Post 77 will be pretty balanced when everybody is in attendance. Rockdale's first practice was Friday night, and the team hits the field for an exhibition game against Loganville Sunday afternoon. The regular season begins in Rockdale with a rematch of the state championship against Douglasville at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

"We're going to step right into the fire when we get Douglasville here, from what I understand they put together a real good team," Murphy said.

Rockdale follows the home matchup against Douglasville with a road game against the same team Thursday, followed by returning home against Alpharetta June 9.

Post 77 has two tournament apperances set, at Douglasville's POW/MIA Tournament June 13 and Albany's AFLAC Classic June 21, before the state tournament begins July 25.

"We think we're going to be competitive," Murphy said.