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June 16, 2015 • Headlines

‘Abe Lincoln’ to visit libraries June 27

The Osgood and Milan Library will have Abraham Lincoln visit both libraries in June. The Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) of Lincoln’s presidency and the Civil War ends this year. Thanks to the Tarter Memorial grant, Abe Lincoln will visit the Osgood Library on June 27. Since 1996, a quarter million people of all ages have been enriched by a personal encounter with the Great Emancipator and Civil War Commander in Chief with appearances in 31 states totaling nearly 1,000 presentations.
The Relay For Life event, which was held recently at JCD, attracted all ages, including Elvis Flannery, Lilianna Flannery and Lisa Moore.
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A Relay for Life

Cancer survivors, caregivers, friends, family and strangers walked and jogged at the Jac-Cen-Del high school track Saturday in the hope to do what they could to help eradicate the awful disease that affects so many in our community and beyond. The 20th Ripley County Relay for Life netted $121,000, down slightly from their goal, however, money is still coming in. The funds will be used for research and for local programs to help patients. For the first time, the event was held at JCD instead of Batesville.

Tom and Kathy Gray of Versailles


Pictured left, Tom and Kathy Gray of Versailles walk during Saturday’s Relay for Life. Kathy learned she had breast cancer last summer.

Ronda Linkel, co-chair, said “All were impressed and I heard lots of positive comments.” However, numbers or attendance decreased, but organizers weren’t surprised because it was at a different location. “I think we did really well with less teams. We think it will get better each year as more know where it is,” Linkel said. They enjoyed using the field in the center of the track, which made all the activities visible for the teams to view or participate in. Linkel said many of the youngsters particularly liked wiffle ball at night, and the 3 a.m. movie showing.

America’s summer pastime...

Local families ‘live’ at ball fields most evenings

Mary Mattingly

Mom, baseball and apple pie. It doesn’t get more “American” than that around here, but for those moms and dads hauling their children nightly to youth baseball/softball games and practices, there’s little time for apple pie. And, if there was, it surely wouldn’t be made from scratch! In the thick of ball season, local ball parents barely have time to scrounge up a decent dinner for their families.
T-ball players


It’s fun to watch T-ball as the kids run for the ball, but sometimes batters go to the wrong bases! She got this one right though. By the end of the season most have figured out the basics of the game.

Ask Holly Carpenter. She is the mother of four boys, age 4 to 11, and all involved in baseball at Versailles. Like many parents, the Versailles sports complex has become a home away from home in the summer. It’s not unusual for her to be there with kids in tow four nights a week. On a recent Tuesday evening she came lugging a tote full of toy trucks to divert the 4-year-old twin boys, while their older brothers played a game. Nonetheless, they all enjoy putting on a uniform and being on a team. “ “They do like playing, even at age 4,” she said, “But they don’t like it when it’s hot like 95 degrees!” She admits by the end of the season, she and the boys are ready to move on.

There are 305 children enrolled in the Versailles baseball/softball youth leagues, according to Tammy Halcomb. The town of Versailles handed over the park duties to the Tyson Activity Center for this summer. She and husband Shawn, along with Jeff and Aimee Cornett and Shannon and Stacey Schmaltz, are TAC board members. The TAC has a five-year lease, and they are responsible for scheduling teams, equipment, coaches/volunteers, umpires and concessions. Shawn Halcomb used to run the town’s Pangburn league for years, so he’s familiar with baseball youth leagues and is the director of this league.

In the Versailles recreational league, there are five different team levels, with two to four teams at each level. T-ball teams play just each other in the league, but the “majors” or older teams will play surrounding communities like Rising Sun and Dillsboro and Jac-Cen-Del. Milan also has a summer youth league with 210 kids, the most they’ve had in a couple of years. This is the first year they joined a southeastern Indiana youth league and play teams from Manchester, Rising Sun, Aurora, Lawrenceburg and Sunman-Dearborn. They also have three traveling teams for more competitive play. Jac-Cen-Del has a youth recreational league with 180 kids

Jason Todd, a teacher and the director at JCD, said he started in March organizing the league, even though the games didn’t start until June. He played ball when he was young, and he likes to see kids being active and being exposed to team sports. “Getting volunteers is the hardest thing,” he commented. Dr. Amy Miller is a volunteer coach at Versailles, and agrees parents are often reluctant to coach, mainly due to the responsibility. But it’s more about organization than knowing the sport. “ I can control a dugout, keep score, send texts about games. That’s a part of coaching.” She does a lot more than that, and is regularly on the mound coach pitching. Four of their coaches in the younger leagues are double coaching, she noted. A single mother of four, ages 7 to 12, and a former player herself, she loves it. “I figure if I’m going to be out there, I may as well coach.” She juggles coaching with work, vacation bible school and 4-H, but summer is just two months, and she relishes the outdoors and time with the kids. She also likes being recognized at school as “coach” rather than Dr. Miller or her children’s mother.

Some parents wouldn’t mind coaching, but have little ones to tend to. Last week, Ashley Werner was trying to watch daughter Aubrey, 7, play softball, but also keep 4-year-old Landon entertained, and her baby comfortable in the stroller. Landon also plays t-ball, which he likes. “I made a home run three times!” he exclaimed. Like Miller, the Werners are at a ball field three to four nights a week. “I like being the catcher,” Aubrey said in between innings at the dugout.

Dinners for these families are more likely to be something quick, like sandwiches or hot dogs, fast-food or concession fare. “When we have two games together we stop at McDonald’s,” Werner said. Otherwise, they might wait until after 8 p.m. to eat. Karen Bastin is another busy softball mom. While helping out in the dugout of her daughter’s team, she said they’ll eat dinner as early as 4:30 on game nights, or hit the concession stand. “It’s really hard with game times,” she said. Seven-year-old daughter Ava got the itch to play after watching her older sister, Shelby, 10, at so many games. It helped that Shelby’s team won the championship last year. “But we like it, and it ends around the Fourth of July so we have the rest of the summer.” That is, if your kid is not on an all-star or traveling team. That’s an entirely different level of commitment for both parents, player and coaches.

The Halcombs traveled all over, or so it felt like according to Tammy, with their youngest son Avery, now a freshman on the varsity school team. “We loved it,” she said, and likewise for their older son Austin who played varsity basketball. The couple may sneak away from overseeing the Versailles league to watch his home games. Shawn likes that baseball gives kids of all ages something to do in the summer, and more importantly, “I like that being on a team helps make you be accountable. And that’s something you will use in life…at school and then work .” It also forces kids to get away from a screen, getting physical activity. “You don’t see kids playing outside these days. Not like when we were kids. That’s all we did,” he said, noting he rarely even sees a child on a bike. And he doesn’t think 4 years old is too young to swing a bat or catch a ball. “They’re playing video games by then aren’t they,” he commented.

Admittedly, sometimes a few parents get too intense while watching junior, perhaps disagreeing with an umpire call or upset with their child. “But I’d rather see them here than dropping them off and showing little interest,” Tammy noted. Doug Cooke, who runs the Milan league, said they had to ask a coach to resign due to his behavior, but most are there like him because they love the game, and love to see the kids develop. “Winning and losing is secondary,” he said. “Sure winning is more fun but I love teaching these kids how to win and lose gracefully. And if they don’t have fun they don’t come back,” next year, said Cooke, who also coached his grown daughters when they were younger. His two rules are simple: to have fun and to hustle. Amy Miller, who also runs the county soccer program, said, “I have not noticed parents causing any problems. Sure some coaches forget it is a rec league once in awhile, but it’s all about teaching and showing sportsmanship, about learning to take turns,” she noted.

The directors and coaches, even the parents talked to, all agree playing youth baseball has more positives than negatives. And, let’s face it, T-ball can be quite entertaining from the stands. Jason Todd commented how one little girl hit the ball and ran to the pitcher mound instead of first base, and how other players are more fascinated with kicking the dirt and the patterns they make with their shoes, than catching grounders. On a recent weeknight in Versailles, the first baseman hugged the opposing player when she made it to first base. Maybe that’ s a life lesson we can all learn.

Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Citizens upset with how town looks (front page)
• Purse auction, men's breakfast: Saturday events reach out to battered women (front page)
• Events at Osgood and Milan libraries (page 3)
• Practical Money Skills: Your midyear financial checkup (page 4)
• Indiana house members support education waiver (page 6)
• Pence names new gaming commissioner (page 6)
• On the Record from the Ripley County Courthouse (page 11)
• Horoscopes (page 12)
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