DALTON, GEORGIA – “This one is for you Doug!!”
It has been a rough year for the Indiana Legends starting with January 2010 when long time sponsor and manager Doug Webb passed away. However, Dan Reynolds stepped in and kept the team together as they tried to rebound from a 5-27 record in 2009 and become competitive.
“It really hit us hard when we lost Doug,” Reynolds said. “it just wasn’t the same playing ball this summer and it showed in our record as we were under .500 and had only one win in our two tournaments leading up to Dalton.”
That scenario changed in Dalton as the Legends went from a five-and-out tournament team to a National Champion.
“I can’t explain what happened,” Reynolds said. “I would like to think Doug was helping us, sort of like the movie ‘Angels in the Outfield.’ Balls that used to be outs for us became hits and balls that used to be hits for our opponents were now outs.”
The way the tournament started it didn’t look like things had changed for Webb’s old team as they edged Memphis 15-13, beat the Blue Chips 16-9 and were destroyed by the Chicago Hitmen 24-9.
“After the game with the Hitmen, I was hoping we may finish third or fourth,” Reynolds said. “I just didn’t think we could match up with the Hitmen, they were such an awesome team.”
But then the nine team double elimination tournament started and the Legends’ fortunes changed. First came a 25-18 win over Memphis, followed by a payback 26-10 win over the Hitmen and then the turning point game.
“We played the Indy Fog,” Reynolds said. “It was about the sixth time we had played them this year and had never beat them”
But that was then and this was now. The Legends tied the game with the Fog in the seventh with three runs and plated eight in the extra inning to edge their long time rivals 28-27. With that game out of the way, Webb’s gang rolled over the Kentuckiana 60’s 24-8 in the finals for their first ever championship.
Leading the way for the 60AA National champs were MVP Lynn Montgomery (.760), who pitched the entire tournament with a dislocated finger on his pitching hand. Other All-Star selections were: Ed Jackson (.720), Dan Londeree (.720), Jerry Owens (.727), Jim Norris (.750) and Gary Hebert (.670).
“I know #46 (Webb) was watching us and helping us, even if it was just emotionally,” Reynolds said. “I just wish he could have been here to hold the championship trophy.”
As for the tournament itself, Reynolds also felt it was very special, especially the opening ceremony.
“That was very inspirational,” Reynolds said., “We also appreciated the SPA organization honoring Doug before the start of the tournament, that made the tournament that more special.”