In the summer in Seaton we played Church League softball. The Church League was in operation from 1958 to 1993. We usually played in either Perryton, Seaton or Aledo because those places had well maintained diamonds. Some of the area towns that at one time or other were involved included Aledo, Edgington, reynolds Buffalo Prairie, Millersburg, Keithsburg, Joy, Oquawka, Viola and New Windsor. Some years when there were lots of teams we played in Reynolds and Keithsburg.
I remember going up to the diamond in Seaton shortly after school ended and we'd gather up the usual teammates and practice. It would be a hundred out there but we were young and having fun - temperatures don't affect you then.
One year, we were Mercer County Champs. We won it all. It only happened once while I was around*, but it was a beautiful thing. Our team changed a bit from year to year but for that Championship season, we had Ivan at first, the Wombie was catcher. Jeff and Cole Carson were our pitchers, Mark Henry was in center and I was in left. Dave Meece was at third, Jeff Benson was at short and Dean Feldman was at 2nd.
Not content with a notice in the Times-Record, more enterprising citizens climbed the water tower and wrote #1 on the side.
Perhaps spray painting your initials on your vandalism isn't the prudent thing, but given that the vandals were, indeed, members of the team their enthusiasm could be forgiven.
Ivan, me, Dean, Wayne and Mark H.
After the championship game we retired to Ivan and Sue's house for a celebration. You should know that I was not the picture-taker during the festivities. They always seemed strangely taken - off-kilter, out of focus, just a bit "off". Sue, was the camera person in charge. Thankfully she has other gifts.
Mark Henry and his number one.
Jeff Benson kissing some kind of weird puppet that seemed to be part of the celebratory gala, why I don't know.
One of our pitchers, Jeff Carson.
And our manager, Herb Blythe. He started with us when we began our ball playing and stayed many years. In fact, I don't remember having any other manager in all of our years playing. Perhaps that is why I always started. Hmmm. Whoever said that winning wasn't everything must have been on a lot of losing teams. I can tell you that winning is certainly fun.
So the water tower in Seaton would proclaim us as #1 and a homemade sign made in the Blythe garage under the artistic tutelage of Mother Marj, would be nailed on a phone pole coming into town.
The summer of 1977 was our Championship Season. Party 2 in a few days