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1989 Greene County team first to win American Legion sectionalPosted Friday, July 17, 2009, at 3:47 PM
The 1989 Greene County American Legion team was the first from the county to capture a sectional championship. Team members include (front row, from left) bat boys Ed Linneweber and Bobby Linneweber. The second row (from left) includes Mike Chapman, Nathan Lester, Rusty Hash, Bill Wright, Brad Henico and Brent Anderson. The third row (from left) includes Shawn Lambermont, Jeff Kail, Jamie Cullison, Jason Davidson, Corey Terrell, Jarman Lannan and Sonny Romine. The back row (from left) includes assistant coach Bill Powell, manager Dick Fields, Steve Carpenter, Steve Toon, Rusty Ewers and assistant coach Jason Fields. Not pictured is Travis Walters. (Submitted photo)
So the 1988 Linton-Stockton High School graduate did the next best thing -- coach.
Jason helped his father Dick Fields and Bill Powell coach the Greene County American Legion team, which was the first from the county to win the sectional.
"It was pretty special," said Jason. "Most of the guys on the team I had played with during my last couple of seasons.
"We had thought we could have won the sectional in 1988, but we just could not get it done."
Jason also said that was a special summer for another season.
"I had a feeling it would be my dad's last year as manager. I have a lot of great memories playing Legion ball and it was really memorable to have coached that year with dad," Jason said of his late father.
The team consisted of 17 players, one less than the maximum, including Corey Terrell, Steve Toon, Rusty Hash and Nathan Lester of Bloomfield; Jason Davidson of L & M; Jarman Lannan, Brad Henico, Rusty Ewers and Brent Anderson of Linton-Stockton; Shawn Lambermont, Sonny Romine and Travis Walters of Shakamak; and Jeff Kail, Steve Carpenter, Bill Wright, Mike Chapman and Jamie Cullison of Worthington.
"Jarman was our No. 1 catcher," said Jason. "He went on to play at Vincennes and played at a Division 2 school in Alabama.
"Jeff Kail was our back-up catcher and started in right field. He played at Mt. Carmel (Ill.) as a catcher. The guys had to be pretty versatile as they had to play different positions than they played on their teams in high school."
Fields said that Terrell, who went to Olney Central College in Illinois, started at third base and that shortstop Cullison played at Wabash Valley and had offers to play elsewhere.
He added that Chapman played second and batted lead-off while Cullison hit second.
"That was a dangerous 1-2 combination at the top of the line-up," said Fields. "Chapman made contact, got on base and had good speed."
He added that Carpenter was their No. 1 pitcher. "Steve was a powerful lefty that went on to Wabash Valley.
Fields said that Kail played right field and that Lambermont, who had a scholarship to play at Indiana State University, started in center field.
He added that Hash, Romine, who walked on at ISU, Walters and Henico also played in the outfield. Fields said that Henico played short, third and pitched some as well.
Walters earned a scholarship to Vincennes University and later played at Tennessee Martin, he said.
Lannah, Romine, Chapman, Romine and Lambermont all batted over .400 during the regular season.
"That was a very talented group of baseball players," said Anderson, who had just completed his sophomore season at Linton-Stockton 20 years ago. "There were some very good baseball players. Several of them went on to play in college.
"I got to play a little off the bench. But mainly I just went along for the ride."
Coach Fields said that the other players, like Anderson, played their roles, whether it was pinch-hitting or pinch-running.
"At tournament time, the reserves did not see as much playing time," he said.
Fields said he father started the Legion program in Greene County in 1984. Dick Fields, who worked for People's Bank. also helped revitalize the local Babe Ruth program in the 80s.
"He really loved coaching," Jason said of his father, who passed away in 2000. "Legion ball was big in other towns like Washington, Vincennes and Terre Haute, but it wasn't in Greene County.
"He brought back Babe Ruth ball after it was dormant for about 10 years or so."
Fields said his father coached him in the back yard until he was old enough for Babe Ruth or Legion baseball.
"He never coached me in Little League," said Jason.
Fields said the sectional for American Legion, which featured nine-inning games, was played that year in Petersburg.
"We drew Vincennes the first night on a Thursday," he said. "We did not play them in the regular season because we were rained out twice.
"Carpenter said he wanted the ball. He pitched deep into the game. Romine hit a grand slam (370 foot blast) in the seventh inning and we won easily."
Carpenter did not get the decision as Lambermont threw the final 3 2/3 innings in relief, earning the win. Lambermont hit a triple, Chapman went 2-for-3 and Terrell added a double as the locals finished with nine hits.
Greene County prevailed 11-7 against Vincennes as Lannan added an RBI single. They rallied from a 7-3 deficit by scoring eight runs in their final two at bats, including six in the seventh.
He said that Greene County faced Washington on Friday and came up short on the short end of a 9-8 score. Washington scored single runs in its final three at bats to pull out the victory.
"Washington was the host school even though it was played a Petersburg," said Fields. "We blew a lead and lost, which forced us in the loser's bracket."
The locals then faced elimination when they played Princeton the next night. Kail was the winning pitcher as Greene County stayed alive with a 4-3 victory.
"Kail had one of the nastiest knuckleballs," said Fields. "We beat them in close game."
Greene County scored three runs in the eighth to come up with the win. Chapman was 3-for-4 with a double and Lambermont (three) and Lannan (two) combined for five hits.
On Sunday, the locals had to win two games. They pounded out 21 hits in a 20-17 over Washington to force a second championship game.
Cullison and Kail each homered while Chapman went 4-for-6 with a double.
Walters went 3-for-5 with double, Henico singled and doubled and Terrell had three hits. Cullison was credited with the win while Carpenter earned a save.
In another slugfest later than night, Lambermont was the pitcher of record in a 13-10 win in the sectional title game.
Greene County had 16 hits as Chapman went 5-for-6 with a double. Carpenter hit two home runs to go with two singles.
Cullison was 3-for-6 with a double and Romine had a single and home run in five at-bats.
"The first game on Sunday was pushed back to 6 p.m.," said Fields. "It was a pretty long night. We were playing out of the loser's bracket on short rest.
"We had to come back 30 minutes after winning the first game. It was pretty nerve wracking. I remember the second game was like the old cliché, 'All hands on deck.' Our pitchers had thrown a lot of innings. I think you could only throw 12 innings over three days."
He added the bats came alive late.
"We hit four or five home runs in the last two or three innings," said Fields. "Carpenter hit a double of home runs. He hit a couple of monster shots. One went behind the woods and they never found the ball."
The next weekend at the Castle Regional at Newburgh, Greene County avenged a 5-4 loss in the regular season with a 15-14 win in the opener against Wayne Newton of Terre Haute. Cullison, Henico and Carpenter each hit home runs in the victory and Kail was the winning pitcher.
Greene County then lost to Boonville 14-1 and Wayne Newton 9-3, ending the season with a 22-10 record. They had 11 games rained out.
"It was pretty ugly against Boonville," said Fields. "We did not show up.
"We were forced to come back and play that Saturday night against Terre Haute. I think we were demoralized after losing to Boonville."
"It was a great experience for all of the players and coaches," said Jason. "I think most of the players learned a lot from dad.
"He taught us to play the game the right way, give 100 percent and play to the best of your ability. That was a mature group. They really listened to the coaches, including me and I was just out of school for one year. I really appreciated the players for how they listened to me. I am still good friends with a lot of those guys. Legion ball was more important back then than it is today. It was special to be part of the first Legion sectional championship team from Greene County."
American Legion team
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