BALLINGER - Baseball history has been made in Ballinger as a new team has been formed and will represent the American Legion League.

BALLINGER - Baseball history has been made in Ballinger as a new team has been formed and will represent the American Legion League.

Thanks to the work of Robert Virden, a former high school baseball coach and professional recruiter for the Cincinnati Reds, a team has officially formed. It has been decades since the American Legion League had representation in West Texas. This new team, will automatically play in the state tournament.

Virden began recruiting the team in February after visiting with the American Legion Post Commander in San Angelo. The idea got traction after the first of the year and now, Ballinger’s Post 8 Cannoneers has 14 players on the team with a maximum of 18 players.

“We are happy to have a team that will be based right here in Ballinger, Texas,” Virden said.

The Post 8 Cannoneers is comprised of players ages 19 and under. To be eligible to play according to the American Legion League rules, eligible players must be from schools where the sophomore, junior and senior class is under 5,000.

Players from six high schools have joined the team including Ballinger High School, Wall High School, Central High School in San Angelo, Reagan County High School, Gorman High School and De Leon High School.

Between May 13 and June 9, Virden will be having spring training at Ballinger High School. “There will be some professional coaches coming in to help,” Virden said.

Other coaches who will be assisting will be Mike Virden, head baseball coach at Leonard High School and Jamie Sego head coach Hawley High School.

The Post 8 Cannoneers will play a three game series in Ballinger on June 9-10 with the San Antonio Adult Baseball Club.

“This will be good training for our team,” Virden said.

On June 15-17, the Ballinger based team will play in the American Legion Tri-State Preparatory Tournament in Texarkana against teams from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. The state tournament is slated for July 27-31.

Robert Virden is a Ballinger native and a graduate from Ballinger High School who has earned his Bachelor and masters from Sul Ross. He coached amateur baseball in Ballinger for many years. Virden was head baseball coach at Sul Ross State University from 1991-92 and head baseball coach at Wall High school from 1996-2003 and from 1987-1990 was the West Texas scout for the Cincinnati Reds. He also coached at Lee Junior College at Baytown.

Virden invites the community to come out support the newly formed team.

“I want people to come out and see them play,” Virden said.

For more information on the Post 8 Cannoneers call Virden at 325-656-5619.