Baseball is back
Post 29 is fielding a summer team
For the first time in more than 10 years, American Legion baseball is returning to Siloam Springs.
A total of 13 players, mostly from Siloam Springs High School’s baseball team, have committed to participating on Post 29’s team, according to Allen Broyles, who will serve as the team’s general manager.
High school baseball coach Alan Hardcastle will be the team’s field manager with Drew England serving as an assistant coach.
According to records and bestknown knowledge, it’s been since the summer of 2006 since Post 29 has sponsored a team. Post 29 is more than excited to be able to sponsor a team this summer, according to member and past commander J.W. Smith.
“Absolutely,” said Smith. “We’ve been trying to do this for the last five years.
“Allen Broyles stepped up to the plate this year and finally got it done. There were several leaders in the baseball community that have attempted to do this. I thought we had it done a couple of times.”
Smith is currently serving as Department of Arkansas commander and will return to command at Post 29 after June 10. He said 73 American Legion teams have registered in Arkansas this summer in either the junior (17-and-under) or senior (19-and-under) divisions. Siloam Springs will be a senior division team, Broyles said.
American Legion, and other leagues such as Babe Ruth and Little League, have taken a hit over the years with the increase
B ack in the day, that was the only option in the summer. Back then, it was a big deal. There was tradition and pride. Nowadays, these guys have all these options. Some of them are just really expensive. Showcase and travel ball can spend a lot of money. We were just looking at providing an option for our local guys that was affordable, restore that pride and keep our high school boys together and give them an affordable and competitive option. That was our purpose. Allen Broyles General manager, Post 29
in popularity of travel and showcase baseball.
Broyles remembers growing up playing American Legion baseball.
“Back in the day, that was the only option in the summer,” he said. “Back then, it was a big deal. There was tradition and pride. Nowadays, these guys have all these options. Some of them are just really expensive. Showcase and travel ball can spend a lot of money. We were just looking at providing an option for our local guys that was affordable, restore that pride and keep our high school boys together and give them an affordable and competitive option. That was our purpose.”
Including Post 29, there are three teams in the upper Northwest Arkansas area that will play
American Legion, including Rogers and Prairie Grove.
Post 29’s first games were scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, at Lincoln in a nonLegion sanctioned game. Results were not available at presstime.
Post 29 is scheduled to play in a tournament in Harrison Friday and Saturday.
Post 29 will have four home dates, playing on each Wednesday in June at James Butts Baseball Complex in Siloam Springs.
Hardcastle, who’s been the baseball coach at Siloam Springs High School the last three seasons, will coach the team until the Arkansas Activities Association dead period in late June. Then he will not be able to coach them for two weeks.
Broyles said England will step up and coach the team in Hardcastle’s absence.
Broyles also may do some coaching, but his main role will be that of
I f anyone is interested, we’ll be playing all over Northwest Arkansas. ... We’ll be regional. There might be some good exposure opportunity. Allen Broyles General manager, Post 29
Players on the team include Broyles’ son, Tanner Broyles, Isaac Price, Reed Wilbanks, Baron Meek, Landon Nickel, Nolan Wallis, Jacob Rowe, Dalton Marsh, Chance Hilburn, Trey Gettys, L.T. Ellis, Collin Evers and Chance Junkermann.
Junkermann, a graduated senior from Siloam Springs, will even be eligible to play next summer because Legion rules allow a player to come back after one year of college if they were on the roster the previous year, Broyles said.
Broyles said Junkermann will provide good leadership for what is mostly a young team playing in a senior division.
“That will be a good role for Chance,” Broyles said. “He can continue to provide leadership that he provided during high school.”
Broyles said all the members of the high school team were offered a spot to play on the Post 29 team, but it wasn’t a requirement.
“Some of them made other choices to play elsewhere,” he said.
Post 29’s regular season schedule runs through the first of July. The state tournament will be in Harrison later in July.
Broyles said the team is still in search of a major title sponsor.
“If anyone is interested, we’ll be playing all over Northwest Arkansas,” he said. “We’ll go down as far as Russellville and play this summer. We’ll be regional. There might be some good exposure opportunity.”
Smith said Post 29 has contributed $500 to the team this year and hopes to provide more in coming seasons. The team will wear a patch with Post 29’s logo on it.
Second baseman L.T. Ellis makes a play in a game during high school baseball season. Ellis is on the roster for the Siloam Springs American Legion Post 29 baseball team.
Siloam Springs pitcher Chance Junkermann will play with the American Legion Post 29 team this summer. Junkermann recently completed his senior season with the Panthers.
Siloam Springs baseball coach Alan Hardcastle holds up the stop sign at third base for runner Baron Meek during the Panthers’ game against Greenwood this season. Hardcastle will coach the Siloam Springs American Legion Post 29 team this summer, while Meek will be one of the players.