Shelby advances to the American Legion Baseball Title Game:Still think what this Post 87 HiToms assistant coach is saying sums it up Best

Posted by Andy Durham on July 29, 2014 at 10:16 am under Amateur, College, High School | 20 Comments to Read

News on this coming in from Jason Queen at the Lexington Dispatch(
Shelby Post 82, which has lost twice in the double-elimination tournament, but got one of those overturned via protest — moves to the finals today at 12:30pm… Shelby will have to beat the Gaston Braves, who opened Monday’s slate with an 8-1 win over Shelby, twice to win the state title.

On the Post 87 High Point HiToms disqualification from the American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Lexington’s Holt-Moffitt Field, I do think what the Post 87 HiToms assistant coach Elliot is saying, really sums it all up best….

First off, as an assistant coach for Post 87, I want to clarify that I am not on here to rant. I am only here to state facts that have come to light over the last two days.

There are many layers to this entire situation so I will list them:

1) The interpretation of “dual-participation”

– Dual-participation is when a player participates in game action as a member of another team and is displayed on their roster (showcase, travel ball, etc.) The player in question from our team was not on another roster. He simply attended a camp as an individual and completed a workout.

2) American Legion’s relationship with Baseball Factory

– The partnership letter found at this link ( states, “Baseball Factory announced today a strategic partnership with The American Legion that will provide amateur players with new opportunities to develop their baseball skills and fulfill their dream of playing college baseball. The organizations will work together to provide American Legion members with instructional camps, showcases and baseball clinics to supplement their experience with their local American Legion team. This will hopefully increase their success both on and off the field.” If a strategic partnership is formed, how is this a violation of attending a non-sanctioned camp? Wouldn’t any camp that falls under the Baseball Factory umbrella be considered sanctioned? If there are some that aren’t sanctioned, how is anyone supposed to know if that disclosure is not made in any of its publications?

3) Mike Buss’ letter to American Legion coaches

– A letter is sent out to American Legion coaches to remind them that Baseball Factory is a resource that “provides student-athletes with world-class instruction, life-changing experiences and new college recruiting opportunities.” It also reiterates Baseball Factory’s ongoing relationship with American Legion Baseball by stating that this “partnership affords Legions players the opportunity to gain added exposure through Baseball Factory’s program and a necessary advantage in the college recruiting process.” Not to mention, they pay $30,000 a year for access to American Legion rosters, which include student-athletes contact information for recruiting purposes. If they are paying American Legion to solicit student-athletes to come to events, how can a player be deemed ineligible for attending. Conflict of interest much?

4) Shelby’s coaching staff knew, before the tournament started, that the eligibility of a player could be in question.

– Shelby’s coaching staff knew that there could, potentially, be a trivial issue on the eligibility of a player on the HiToms roster. Not because he attended a showcase tournament, but because his name was on the camp list of attendees. They referred to it as their “Ace in the hole” because they knew if they got beat, they would have this protest to fall back on. They agreed that they would return to the hotel after the game, say that their kids found the player online by doing a search, then return to the field to bring it to the attention of the area commissioners. They also agreed not to bring it up at the tournament orientation, where the question about any players eligibility was supposed to be brought to light. That is malicious and it’s collusive.

5) Who has the final ruling over a state tournament?

– Isn’t it logical to think that the state commissioners have the final say on a protest that occurs at a state tournament game? Their first ruling was to deny Shelby’s protest. After Shelby disagreed, they appealed the initial ruling. The state commissioners came back and said that they would deem the player in question ineligible and disqualify him from further play but allow High Point to continue on (This was essentially them trying to straddle the fence and make it agreeable to both teams). Again, Shelby was not happy with that outcome so they appealed that ruling to the National level. The National Legion director came back with a final ruling that stated if that player was ineligible then the entire team was disqualified. How can a team appeal a ruling to the national level after the state issues a ruling (well, 2 rulings) on a state-level tournament?

Bob Figulski, the state commander, later admitted to a former parent (via cell phone) that an innocent team was disqualified but, somehow, he managed to dodge phone calls from our staff and administration when we want to have him process our appeal. Our appeal was submitted to Mr. Figulski to stop the state tournament in North Carolina on the grounds that he improperly interpreted the American Legion/Baseball Factory contract that encourages coaches and players to participate in all Baseball Factory events. We simply asked that the tournament be stopped so we can have clarification of rules. To give our community the answers it deserves.

This is a huge black eye on American Legion Baseball. As a former legion player, I am ashamed that I was once a part a program that operates on such hypocrisy. Our state leadership has failed us. It is an injustice to our players because they are being punished for doing nothing wrong. They are at the mercy of the leaders in our state who are too proud to go back on a decision and make things right. All summer, our players have worked tirelessly to fulfill the dream of becoming state champions. But that dream is now out of reach because of the result of an unethical decision. I will make sure this issue does not rest and I know I am not the only one.

  • me said,

    Has anyone thought to send an email to ESPN or solicited a national newspaper like the Charlotte Observer to check into the possible corruption of the national American Legion office? There is definitely a conflict of interest here that should be investigated. Also, Baseball Factory may need to understand that they are burning a major bridge with players in the Piedmont. If they cannot be trusted, what high school coach would go to the trouble of nominating their players (or passing on their contact information) ever again?

  • mark said,

    It doesn’t sound like the Bseball Factory is in the wrong. It sounds like it is the American Legion organization (both state and national levels) that is in the wrong. Baseball Factory turned over $30,000 to American Legion so they could be sanctioned and allowed access to American Legion coaches and players. It even states in the tournament rule book that Legion players can attend only Baseball Factory events once the playoffs have started. Post 87 nor Trejo violated any rules. It was the Legion organization itself that failed to follow it’s own rule book.

    If I was the Baseball Factory I would be asking for my $30,000 back. I bet that might get the attention of the national organization. They may ignore a local legion coach but they can’t ignore 30000 big ones.

    And you have to know that with the World Series being played in Shelby that had something to do with the organization listening to Shelby’s coach and not the Hi Toms.

    The situation really does stink. I can smell it through my computer.

  • Jw said,

    Did the player get the release form signed and approved by the state baseball or area commander to attend said event? If not, American Legion made the right decision. Check page 6.

  • Andy Durham said,

    Shelby up 5-0 early at Lexington….

  • HiToms MOM said,

    We have proof of two other NC American Legion Post that Shelby Post has reported to NC American Legion Baseball Commissioner and had them disqualified during 2014 Regional Play. We have articles and contact those Coaches. Their Post will be listed tonight.

  • michael said,

    It is not right to take away a chance for the Hi Tom kids to when the state and go play nationally. That’s what they’ve worked for all summer. Look where MLB star Will Myers is. He played there for a year and won rookie ofthe year last year in the American League. Shelby and the National Legion have taken chances away from these kids to get looked at and recruited by college coaches. Needless to say, you need every fact and rule to make a decision that will affect a whole community.

  • Andy Durham said,

    from Mark McKinney at the High Point Enterprise on-line today…

    In the Trejo case, the kids on the Post 87 team paid a heavy price for a questionable series of protests and appeals.

    I feel bad whenever kids get shafted in this way, be they from High Point, Peoria or Timbuktu.

    As we all know, life is rarely fair. Bad breaks and bogus calls are everyday occurrences.

    We just have to suck it up and keep on keeping on.

    That doesn’t mean we have to like it.

    Hold your heads up high, Post 87 players, coaches and team officials.

    You played terrific baseball all season. You handled yourselves with class.

    You were beaten by a technicality, not a base hit.

    And that’s a tough way to lose.

  • Andy Durham said,

    Just got another update off of WLXN(1440AM) radio and Shelby now up 6-1 after five innings at the State Tournament finals..

  • karin said,

    I had understood earlier that National and State Commissioners were meeting.
    anyone know?

    If Elliot is correct, and I think he would not post if not true, then should not some action be taken against Shelby?

    Seems interesting no one at National and State is talking………………

  • HiToms MOM said,

    HiToms Appeal has been reopened!

    Mr. Durham,

    Your statement about “Life Not Being Fair” is only true because of unqualified people in superior positions making incorrect rulings! No, I do not like the ruling and I will not accept it! You are also correct that we must suck it up and keep on keeping on. But that does not give anyone permission to screw over another person, team , county, community, school or coach. Please forgive me in saying, “My Philosophy in Life in not the one you stated”! Feeling bad for the kid and doing what is right are two different things. I will stand behind our team, players, coaches and parents. We were not beaten on a “TECHNICALITY”.

  • Andy Durham said,

    Last check-in/tune-in, Shelby was up 8-3 over the Gaston Braves in the bottom of the 8th Inning…

    If Shelby goes on to win Game One, Game Two for the Championship will begin at 5pm at Holt-Moffitt, in Lexington…

    Makes you wonder how High Point would have fared against Gaston, since Post 87/HiToms beat Shelby…

  • Andy Durham said,

    HiToms Mom,

    I have to be sure and give those earlier comments credit to Mark McKinney at the High Point Enterprise….I wanted to post part of what he was saying in his post today at the Enterprise and you can see his full post and reports at and he should be given full credit for those words we listed….

    We have been trying to track and follow a number of sites while covering this topic and hope to be able to give you a wide range of information on this key subject and at the same time make sure we highlight those that are being featured….

    Mark McKinney and Michael Lindsay from the Enterprise, Jason Queen from the Lexington Dispatch and Richard Walker from the Gaston Gazette among those on that list of those covering the ‘Post 87 Disqualification’….

  • Andy Durham said,

    The last we heard, the Gaston Braves had cut that Shelby lead to 9-6, but it was getting late…

    Word was that Gaston may have more pitching left than Shelby, when they hit that 5 o’clock deciding matchup…

    *****Just got in the Final, from Mike Duprez on Twitter at the Lexington Dispatch and Shelby wins the Game One today, 10-6….Game Two set to go at 5pm and this will be for the Title. Shelby vs. the Gaston Braves at 5 and you can hear the game, or at least we think you will be able to catch it on, 1440AM WLXN, with Randy Swicegood and JT or Dale Morefield…We will try and listen and throw a score or two up here for you later on after they get rolling in Lexington, at historic Holt-Moffitt Field and they have made history there this season/in 2014, for all the wrong reasons….Always going to wonder how High Point Post 87/HiToms would have done if they would have been allowed to remain the tournament, but I guess we have to progress, instead of regress, but this has been a First-Class Mess….*****

  • Rob Shore said,

    I’m responding to JW from his post earlier. That written permission from the chairman is for “non-sanctioned” events. Read the Pojnt of Emphasis below the rule. Sanctioned events are never mentioned, only non-sanctioned. Baseball Factory events are sanctioned events according to 2104 American Legion Tournament Rules and Policies, page 5, #5. There was no need for permission for a sanctioned event.

  • HiToms Fan said,

    Congratulations to Shelby on becoming the 1’st Team to win NC Legion Tournament with 2 losses. Someone needs to do some digging on the relationship between Shelby and National Legion. Talked with some folks from Shelby Sunday night and they were talking about the $7 million renovations to their Stadium to host the W.S., including a $1 million scoreboard. They said that Shelby was trying to secure the W.S. Permanently like Omaha did for College W.S.. Do you really think that the National A.L. Office is really going to give HiToms a fair hearing if Shelby has made this investment to host their W.S,, I can respect the HiToms manager for not being litigious, but you are going to have to take this somewhere else to get a fair ruling/trial.u

  • HiToms Fan said,

    This very good chance to play for a State Title was taken from this very good and special HiToms Team. All kids at this age play Legion Ball and this title is just as meaningful if not more meaningful than winning a High School State Championship,,,,,,absolutely heartbreaking that this chance was taken from them……hope National makes Shelby play HiToms for the legitimate State Title..

  • HiToms MOM said,

    Corruption at the highest level, National American Legion Baseball Office using money from all USA Legion Programs to spend $7 MILLION on Shelby, NC Post Stadium and give them a $1 Million Scoreboard! Corruption and favors given to Shelby in NC State American Legion Tournament. Now we know why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • braves45 said,

    I could side with Post 87 if they didn’t show their butt at the tournament. Instead of harassing, cussing, and acting immature on social media and at the stadium, they could be squeaky clean. Maybe personal attacks and generalizations aren’t the best suit to defend a case. Not exactly upholding the code of sportsmanship.

  • brave dad said,

    @braves45- You have no idea what your saying. Post 87 was a class act. No such thing happened at the games. I am a Gaston brave dad. Please do not use our name.

  • brave45 said,

    brave dad,

    Not exactly your place to say what can and can’t be used. Also not your place to say what went on and didn’t. You apparently didn’t sit anywhere near the stadium during the Shelby-Waynesville game. Also cheering when a Post 82 player is hit? That screams classy.