When Boonville's American Legion baseball team steps up to the plate against opponents in the state tournament, they'll be stepping up with a broad roster and a lot of history.
The team, made up of players from Boonville, Tecumseh, Forest Park, Heritage Hills and Bosse, has worked through a regular season of games against Legion teams from across Indiana and Kentucky. Now, the team is looking forward to the state tournament after a season of building on skills and having fun.
Head coach David Hachmeister said the Legion league is about the camaraderie of the players, respect, sportsmanship and the progression of learning the game.
He said Boonville's team is made up of players of various ages, but all the players have a commitment to the game and the team.
Hachmeister said there are a lot of options available in the summer for players, but Legion offers a unique opportunity to be involved in a community organization while playing a game the players love with their teammates and opponents from the regular season.
"They can go play travel ball and spend a bunch of money, but they won't be playing with their friends from their hometowns," he said.
In addition, Hachmeister said the Boonville team isn't about records, but is committed to giving the players equal playing time to boost their skills and understanding of the game. Plus, he said it's about having fun.
"I mentioned last year during the season, at a parent and player meeting, 'Boys, I hope you can say,at the end of the season, you had the most fun playing baseball you ever did and you learned something,' "he said. "Some kids said they had the best time ever playing baseball. That's what makes all the hours worthwhile."
This year, there are four players who took the Legion season as their last year to play alongside teammates and opponents before moving on to new leagues and new paths after high school. Ryan Wilson, Dalton Wesselman, Austin Schnuck and Carson White all played their last year. They are playing their last season in the Legion league this summer.
see legion/page b2
White said he is preparing for playing baseball at a collegiate level while playing alongside teammates and friends.
"I love baseball and the kids on the team," he said. "It's competitive, it's really fun, it's good for everyone."
Carson isn't the first White to play on the Boonville American Legion team. Chris White, Carson's father, was also on the team when he was in high school and is now an assistant coach for the team.
Chris White said Legion baseball gives players a great opportunity to play with kids from other schools while playing alongside friends and regular season teammates. He said it's also about learning.
"It's about playing the game you love and competing," he said.
The league might have looked a little differently when he played, but Chris White said the team is still about having fun and building strong players.
"It was something I really enjoyed and I think it's good for [Carson]," he said.
Boonville's American Legion team will kick off their state tournament with regionals hosted in Rockport Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22.
For more information on American Legion baseball visit www.legion.org/baseball.