The local Newport American Legion Post 116 sponsors an amateur baseball team each summer. Our team is named the Dungies after the abundant Dungeness Crabs in our offshore sea. The colors are blue and orange and the post has called upon Taylor Plesha, Newport High School baseball coach, to coach this year’s team.
There are some exciting games in store for local fans. Highlighting opposition is the team from the Dallas-Monmouth area named the Post 20 Demarini Dirtbags. Right on their backs are the Corvallis Marketmen who have proved winners throughout their American Legion baseball play. The Salem-Keizer team called the Cruisers is based out of McNary High School while crosstown the Withnell Dodgers play at Willamette University. Madison High School in Portland hosts the Eastside Cutters while the Portland Barbers will play at Hillsboro’s Roy Tonkin Field.
Oregon fields 39 AAA teams utilizing players from local post locales to staff teams. The league still stands behind the traditional values upon which it was founded in 1925. American Legion Baseball has taught hundreds of thousands of young Americans the importance of sportsmanship, good health and active citizenship. The program is also a promoter of equality, making teammates out of young athletes regardless of their income levels or social standings. This is the first program in the world to provide a national baseball tournament for teenagers.
In 1926, posts in 15 states began to make summer play a reality. They organized and sponsored teams, drafted local schedules and conducted championship tourneys. Postseason tournaments at the state, sectional and regional levels culminated with a national championship. Only a few changes have been made to the format over the years. The tournament still has a similar setup: 64 teams play at eight regional sites, with eight teams going on to the World Series. The winning team receives a trip to Major League Baseball's World Series, a tradition dating back to 1926.
American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers teams in all 50 states plus Canada. Each year, young people, ages 13 to 19, participate. Since its inception in 1925, the league has had millions of players, including countless who have gone on to play in college and professional baseball, with 68 inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. For more information go to the AL website at https://www.legion.org/baseball/history.
Plesha’s Dungies open play Tuesday at 4 p.m., hosting the Newport High School Cub nine. This is a practice game heading into a trip to Portland on the 17th to play a doubleheader against the Eastside Cutters. The first Frank Wade home appearance will be on Thursday, June 20 when they host the Northwest Stars at 9 a.m. and the Portland Select team at 3 p.m. Following these practice games, league play begins at Western Oregon University field on Sunday, June 22, against the always difficult Post 20 Demarini Dirtbags at 6 p.m. For more information go to the Dungy website at www.ballcharts.com/newport for roster and schedule.