Officials from the George Montgomery Post #17 DuBois American Legion, in cooperation and partnering with the City of DuBois, announced Thursday that the 2019 Pennsylvania American Legion State Baseball Tournament will be held at Showers Field July 26-31.
“We’re delighted that the department committee has selected DuBois and Post 17 and Showers Field as the site for this year’s American Legion Baseball State Championships,” said PA American Legion Activities Committee Vice Chairman of the West Bob Schleiden.
“This is quite an honor and I can’t think of a better place to celebrate this, on this, the 100th anniversary of the American Legion,” said Schleiden. “This is a special year. We needed a special place to celebrate this game. It’s just the perfect venue — a beautiful field in Showers Field. All of the facilities that this has.”
Schleiden said Post #17 is one of the most respected Posts in the state that has two department commanders.
“It currently has the western section commander. It is just the perfect Post to have this honor bestowed upon,” said Schleiden.
Schleiden said the City of DuBois and its Manager John “Herm” Suplizio have laid out the “red carpet” for the American Legion.
“It’s been extremely easy to work with Mr. Suplizio. He’s been most gracious. He has helped us find information. He is working on getting us some very good rates and prices so that we can be respectful of the Blue Caps,” said Schleiden.
“I just want to thank you, too, Bob,” said Suplizio. “Bob and I have been working on this for some time now and it’s been a pleasure. To see it come to fruition is actually really a great shot in the arm for the entire area.”
“To bring this kind of baseball to the City of DuBois and the surrounding areas, it’s just great,” Suplizio said. “For DuBois to be able to host the 100th year is just really unbelievable.”
Barry Abbott, of Post #17, will serve as chairman of the Pennsylvania American Legion State Baseball Tournament.
“You couldn’t ask for a better person,” said Schleiden. “He has athletic director experience, has all the contacts, has just a total depth of understanding of American Legion baseball and of kids. It’s important to have a good understanding of kids and community. We are so very fortunate.”
Abbott said the partnership and cooperation between the city and Post #17 is one of the most important things being brought to the table.
“We are going to make this 100th anniversary of the American Legion and the state American Legion Baseball Tournament one of the best that’s ever been held,” said Abbott. “People of our area need to understand that this is a prestigious tournament. And we are going to put on a great show.”
Post #17 members Billie Jo Powers and Richard Coccimiglio will serve as chairpersons of the program committee.
“It’s going to be the most important committee because that is going to be the first thing people will see,” said Abbott.
“This legion’s part of the community,” said Coccimiglio. “And to have the whole community come together to put on this event is going to be unbelievable. The same thing, the coordination that we have with our city manager, Herm, I mean it’s just been outstanding. Actually I don’t think we could have done it without that involvement that comes from the city. It comes from him personally because he knows what’s going on.”
Abbott noted that on Saturday, July 27, which is the premier game of the tournament next to the championship game, the DuBois American Legion will be playing.
“They get to host the premier game,” said Abbott. “Chuck Ferra is our head coach of the DuBois Legion team. We plan on having a big night. We might have some secret people coming in to throw out first balls and get some activities going.”
“I just think it’s going to be a great event night for our legion baseball program and good exposure for our kids, the community and, of course, Showers Field,” said Ferra. “Showers Field has been a crown jewel of the area here for a couple years now. We showed it off throughout the high school season, college season, Little League season and now Legion gets to kind of show it off a little bit. I’m really looking forward to it.”
In addition, the 2019 PA American Legion Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held Friday, July 26, at DuBois Christian School.
“This is really for the vets, when you really think about it they represent all of the vets,” Suplizio said. “American Legion Baseball is good baseball. We hope the community will come out and support it, but I think this is just really another thing that we keep trying to do is bring these events for our citizens here for people to watch. It’s a little shot in the arm for the economy. People have to stay here. People are going to come watch the games. People are going to eat here, visit here.”
Schleiden said it has been approximately 20 years since the West hosted the tournament.
“We’ve only had 94 American Legion state baseball championships in the history of the state. The last one that was held in the West was held in St. Marys and the commander year was 1999-2000,” said Schleiden.
Others Post #17 members instrumental in making the idea become a reality were Commander Denny Knarr and John Fritz. Jonathan Wiess, PAL activity director, was thanked for signing the contract making the Post and the city the host as 100 years of The American Legion is celebrated.
More information about the event will be released when available.