American Legion baseball returns

"Dinner supports new Legion teamPeople wishing to support the new South Whidbey American Legion baseball team are invited to attend a dinner to be served from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the Legion Hall.Cost is $9.95 and the menu will included baked boneless pit ham with salad, side dishes, beverages and dessert. For tickets, information or reservations call Post 141 at 321-5696.South Whidbey will have its first American Legion baseball team in years beginning in late May.On Feb. 16, South Whidbey American Legion Post 141 approved the sponsorship of a youth baseball team which will join over 5,800 teams in the United States and territories that comprise the American Legion baseball program.Post 141 Commander Jim Horton and Adjutant Charles Hinckel presented the coaches and parents group with a check for $600 to assist in the start-up process. These funds came from the Post's Children and Youth Fund and from individual contributions by several Legionnaires.The team's head coach will be Brad Jaeger, who told the Legion that over 70 percent of major league players launch their careers through the American Legion baseball program.The South Whidbey team of players ages 15 through 18 will also include members from the Coupeville area. Oak Harbor has its own Legion team. Jaeger said the new team will allow players with a passion for baseball to experience a more intense level of competition after the high school season is completed.For its first season in 2000, the South Whidbey team will play a 20-plus game exhibition schedule in preparation for official league play the following year. Coach Jaeger said tryouts will be held in the spring. Dates will be announced in the high school and in this newspaper.George Dick McClellan was appointed the Legion post's liaison with the team. He played on a championship Legion team in 1947 and said he is looking forward to helping the new team raise money. Businesses and community members are already making donations, and a fund-raising dinner is planned for March 18.When official league play begins in 2001, South Whidbey will be the 10th team in the South District 2 League. Competition will include two Edmonds teams, Everett, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mukilteo, Arlington and Stanwood.Joining McClellan on a Legion committee to support the team are Jim Gardner, a long-time math teacher at South Whidbey High School and a member of Sons of the American Legion; Tom Eggelston, veteran Post 141 member; and Ken McClellan, another long-time post member and baseball enthusiast.Assisting Jaeger with baseball operations will be Mark Schultz, plus many other volunteers.Merchants will soon be contacted and given the opportunity to have their firm's name on a uniform for a $100 donation for an entire season."

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