By Justin Graves

Athens American Legion Post 49 coach Nathan Brownlow said at the beginning of the season that he wanted his team to be playing its best around the time of the River City Baseball Classic.

Brownlow believes his wishes have been granted after the way his team has executed so far in the tournament.

Athens completed the four game tournament sweep Saturday by concluding the day with a 14-0 win over Tupelo, Miss. in the final game.

“This is exactly what I wanted out of this team at the beginning of the season,” Brownlow said. “I wanted the team to be peaking by the time we held our tournament.

“That is exactly what these guys have done. They are playing really well as a team right now.”

Bubba Meeks recorded the win against Tupelo by working a complete game shutout. So far, that type of pitching has been the standard for Athens.

“All of our guys are doing a good job out there,” Brownlow said. “That is what we have to get from them.”

Athens also got complete game victories from Joey Moehler and Zach Kilpatrick on Sunday.

Brownlow contributes some of the success his pitchers are getting to the type of defense his team is playing. He said the team almost always comes up with a way to get out of sticky situations.

“We play solid defense,” Brownlow said. “These guys have worked hard and know how to play ball, and they have been executing on the field.

“Every kid on this team came from an excellent baseball program. The high levels they have played on in the past is showing in the way they are executing on the field for us. They all know how to play baseball and it is working for us.”

Brownlow believes if Athens can maintain this level of play, then a River City Classic tournament championship will be only the beginning. He believes this year’s team has a shot to knock off one of the perennial powers and win the state tournament.

“I really believe we are capable of being that good,” Brownlow said. “All of these guys know how to win, and they want to win.

“They also get along and know how to have fun playing baseball. If they can continue to play as well as they have, then they have a shot to go a long way.”

Athens will play the winner of Demopolis and Tupelo – two teams Post 49 has already beaten in the tournament – in the championship game today at 1:30 p.m.

After that, Athens will travel to play Butler post 237.

“Winning our own tournament was one of our main goals at the beginning of the season,” Brownlow said. “This is the first tournament that we have hosted, and we wanted to do well in it.

“These guys have come together as a team in a real short time. They are all outstanding young men.

“There parents all did an outstanding job of bringing them up. They should be proud.”

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