Baseball has had a long tradition in

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Baseball Team Continues Long
Tradition in Many New Ways
Ozark Generals have been playing baseball in the Ozarks since 1945 and start this season with many firsts
                by Mert Seaton                                                                                                                                                   Ozark
                                                                                                                                                                                 Generals
B
       aseball has had a long tradition in
       the Ozarks. Everyone knows the                                                                                                                                            Background
       Cardinals of the past and present,                                                                                                                                        1945:
but there is another team that has been a                                                                                                                                        Springfield
staple of the baseball community for                                                                                                                                             General Tire dis-
over five decades.                                                                                                                                                               tributor C.E.
   The Ozark Generals, formerly the                                                                                                                                              Russell estab-
                                                                                                                                                                                 lished the
Springfield Generals, take the field again                                                                                                                                       Generals as an
this summer at their new home, Price                                                                                                                                             American Legion
Cutter Park, and plan to continue their                                                                                                                                          team.
long tradition of great baseball.                                                                                                                                                1946: Russell
   The Generals operate as a not-for-profit                                                                                                                                      changed the
collegiate summer team that has a semi-                                                                                                                                          team to a semi-
pro feeling to it.                                                                                                                                                               pro team.
   “What we play is ‘As long as                                                                                                                                                  1947: Mickey
                                                                                                                                                                                 Owen coached
the remnants of
semi-pro        ball,”
                        our pitching is                                                                                                                                          the Generals
                                                                                                                                                                                 Late ‘50s:
Generals manager there we will                                                                                                                                                   Russell left the
Rusty Aton said. be competi-                                                                                                                                                     team.
“Our league and                                                                                                                                Photos Courtesy Ozark Generals    Late ‘50s-1994:
play involves the
                        tive. We have       The 2004 Springfield Generals played at Meador Park and were an independent team. The Generals are now the Ozark                     Generals went
                                            Generals, play in Price Cutter Park and are part of the nationally known MINK League.
same semi-pro ball had more                                                                                                                                                      in and out of
                                                                                                                                                                                 existence
things.”                pitching in the Below: Springfield General Tire distributor C.E. Russell created the 1945 Springfield Generals as an American Legion                     1994: Jason
   The Generals’ros-                        team. The Generals became a semi-pro team in 1946.
ter includes college
                        past but we                                                                                                                                              Mohler reformed
                                                                                                                                                                                 the team into a
players from local are going the                                                                                                                                                 summer team
high schools and other way this                                                                                                                                                  for collegiate
colleges along with                                                                                                                                                              players.
players from across
                        season. We are
                                                                                                                                                                                 Home Park:
the country. Aton going to score                                                                                                                                                 Price Cutter Park
said fans should a lot of runs                                                                                                                                                   Ticket Price: $5
expect to see a very
good product on
                        this year.’                                                                                                                                              2005 Record:
                                                                                                                                                                                 15–23
the field.
   “We play at a very      – Rusty Aton,                                                                                                                                         Board of
                         Ozark Generals                                                                                                                                          Directors:
high level and there
                               Manager                                                                                                                                           Rusty Aton,
is a lot of talent on                                                                                                                                                            Jason Mohler
the field,” Aton said.                                                                                                                                                           and Chad Stills
“Our recruits this year have exceeded our
                                                                                                                                                                                 Organization
expectations and we should be very com-                                                                                                                                          Funding: Player
petitive.”                                                                                                                                                                       fees and adver-
   Pitcher Lucas Vestal, the only three-                                                                                                                                         tising (T-shirts,
year player for the Generals, said a sum-                                                                                                                                        billboards)
mer team like this gives college players a                                                                                                                                       Volunteer
good chance to improve their skills.                                                                                                                                             Needs:
   “You are out of school so you don’t                                                                                                                                           Gatekeepers,
have to worry about books or studying,”                                                                                                                                          statisticians,
Vestal said. “You can go to sleep and                                                                                                                                            host families
wake up thinking about baseball.”                                                                                                                                                and on-field
   This season will have many firsts for                                                                                                                                         operations
the Generals, starting with their move                                                                                                                                           If Interested
from Meador Park to Price Cutter Park.                                                                                                                                           Contact:
                                                                                                 Price Cutter Park               First Game: June 10, 1999
                                                                                                                                                                                 Rusty Aton at
   “We are very excited about getting baseball back in here and         Read about                                               Original Home Team:                             Extra Innings
the Generals are going to be a big part of that,” said Brad                                      Owner: Chicago businessman      Springfield-Ozark Mountain                      417-881-2920
Eldridge, who directs activities for Price Cutter Park.“I really        Generals’                                                Ducks 1999-2004
                                                                                                 Horn Chen                                                                       1900 W.
hope we can get the word out and I hope we can get some                 schedules                                                                                                Sunshine
                                                                                                 Location: Behind Lambert’s Café Current Home Team: None
people out here to see some good college players.”                      and radio                in Ozark                                                                        Building B –
                                                                                                                                 Time Vacant: Six months
   Aton said he expects his team to provide a cheaper way to            broadcast                                                                                                Suite 100
                                                                                                 Built in: 1999                  Recent Updates: Field grass                     10-9 Weekdays
see good baseball in a good park.
   “We can provide a low cost alternative for area baseball by          times on                 Cost: $3 million                reseeded and plumbing                           9-9 Saturday
                                                                        page 12.                                                 replaced                                        9-6 Sunday
having cheaper tickets, cheaper concessions and free parking,”                                   Seats: 4,000
he said. “We plan to make Price Cutter Park our permanent                                                                        Employees: None, everything is                  Web Site:
                                                                                                 Seat Types: Molded plastic and
home.”                                                                                                                           done on a volunteer basis                       www.generals
                                                                                                 benches
                                                                                                                                                                                 baseballclub.com
                                                     see Generals, 12
                                                                                       Community Free Press                                                      June 7, 2006 • Springfield, MO • 11
                                                                                                     Sports
         Sam
 Westervelt                                                                                                   221 Boys and Girls Teams to
    (right) of
          the
 Springfield
                                                                                                              Compete in Seven Age Groups
Soccer Club                                                                                                   Tournament, from 1
     makes a                                                                                                                                                  All-Star Game on June 22
 slide tackle                                                                                                 teenagers. They’ve been known to eat.           The 2nd Annual Southwest Soccer All-Star
    against a                                                                                                 And other youngsters who travel to              Game will be held on June 22 at Cooper
 Kansas City                                                                                                  watch the event probably won’t be on a          Soccer Complex.
 Pace player
                                                                                                              hunger strike.                                  There will be boys and girls games with top
 in a semifi-
nal match in                                                                                                     “Where are those kids going? They’re         2006 high school graduates. A youth clinic
  the under-                                                                                                  not eating peanut butter sandwiches,”           with the all-stars will be held at 4:30 p.m.,
 17 division                                                                                                  noted Susan Wade, the SCVB’s public             followed by the girls game at 6 and the
 at the 2005                                                                                                  relations manager.“Places kids like to go,      boys at 8.
    Missouri                                                                                                  I have a feeling they’re going to be busy.”     Tickets, $5 for adults and $2 for ages 13
        Youth                                                                                                    The tournament promises a bonanza            and under, are available by calling the
Soccer State                                                                                                                                                  Springfield Soccer Club at 832-1552. For
                                                                                                              to fans, too.
       Cup in                                                                                                                                                 group packages, visit Ole at SGFsoccer.com.
   Jefferson                                                                                                     “The Missouri State Cup is the first
                                                                                                              step in potentially representing soccer         For more information, call the club.
         City.
                                                                                                              on a national stage,” said Steve Olson,
                                                                                                              who runs the web site SGFsoccer.com, a
                                                                                                              source for detailed information on the          How to Get There
                                                                                                              sport in southwest Missouri. “Whether            Fans may have to take alternate routes to
                                                                             Photo courtesy Steve Ole Olson   it’s AAU basketball or a national softball      reach the sites for the Missouri Youth
                                                                                                              tournament, you have to take that first         Soccer State Cup.
                                                                                                              step to qualify. … State Cup is the ulti-        Matches will be held at and near the
Game Broadcasts Stir Excitement                                                                               mate tournament because it is a formal          Cooper Sports Complex, 2300-2700 E.
Generals, from 11                                                                                             qualifying mechanism for going to               Pythian St. During the June 9-15 tourna-
                                                                                                              nationals.”                                     ment, Pythian will be blocked off for
                                                 Ozark Generals                                                                                               pedestrian safety from the driveway of the
   This season will mark the first season        2006 Home Schedule                                              In the absence of an economic impact
the Generals are part of the Missouri,                                                                        study, the SCVB calculates that when vis-       Cooper Tennis Complex, 2331 E. Pythian
                                                                                                                                                              St., to Patterson Avenue.
Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas League (MINK).            June                                                         itors stay overnight, $100 per day is
The MINK League is a wood bat, college               2       Brunswick Longhorns      7:00                    spent on each person. So, when 10,000             Here are the sites and how to reach them
summer league that gives teams a chance              3       Brunswick Longhorns      4:00                    people stay for six nights, the computer        from Glenstone Avenue:
to play against high caliber teams from              4       Mid-MO Crawdads          1:00                    spits out the $6 million estimate.               • South Fields. 2334 E. Pythian St.,
the Midwest. Aton said the Generals                  4       Mid-MO Crawdads          3:30                       But that total doesn’t include money         behind Lake Country Soccerdome. East on
                                                     6       Parkville Sluggers       7:00                                                                    Chestnut Expressway to Patterson. Turn left.
should fare well in their new league.                7       Parkville Sluggers       7:00                    spent on the last day of the tournament,
   “We have beaten a lot of the teams in             9       Oklahoma Cubs            7:00 a.m.               when titles in nine age groups will be           • North Fields. Next to Killian Softball
the league in the past,” he said.“As long           10       Oklahoma Cubs            1:00                    decided. And depending on how many              Complex, 2141 E. Pythian St. East on
as our pitching is there we will be com-            13       Nevada Griffons          7:00                    visitors are adults — more money tends          Chestnut to Pythian. Turn left.
petitive. We have had more pitching in              14       Mid-MO Crawdads          7:00                    to be spent on them — and how many               • Cooper Fields. At Cooper Sports
                                                    20       Price Cutter Red Bulls   7:00                                                                    Complex. East on Chestnut to Patterson.
the past but we are going the other way             22       Joplin Slashers          7:00                    are children, the $6 million figure could
this season.We are going to score a lot of                                                                    balloon.                                        Turn left. At Pythian, turn right.
                                                    23       Blue Springs Grays       7:00
runs this year.”                                    24       Clarinda A’s             7:00                       “We’d rather be       ‘A lot of time          • East Fields. East on Chestnut to
   This season will also be the first year          25       Clarinda A’s             1:00                    underestimating they will be                    Cedarbrook Avenue. Turn left. Go past
fans can hear Generals’ games without               27       Blue Springs             7:00                    than overestimat-                               Pythian and fields are on the right.
going to the park.                                                                                            ing,”Wade said.
                                                                                                                                       in town will            Championship matches will be held June
                                                  July
   Seven games will be broadcast on                  7       Topeka Golden Giants     5:00                       Spending       the be spent at               13-15 at the Cooper and South Fields
Websportsradio.com, starting with the                7       Topeka Golden Giants     7:30                    night         means our city                    (there are no finals in girls under 18 and
                                                     8       Oklahoma A’s             7:00 a.m.                                                               under 19 because the champion is the
June 3 game at Price Cutter Park.                                                                             spending money.
   Steve      Casson,      co-founder       of       9       Beatrice Bruins          1:00                    There are other big
                                                                                                                                       businesses.’           team with the highest point total based on
                                                     9       Beatrice Bruins          3:30                                                                    wins, losses, and ties).
Websportsradio.com, said he was excit-              12       Chillicothe Mudcats      7:00                    draws              in                           Here is the schedule:
ed about getting the chance to broadcast                                                                      Springfield        —              — Katie
                                                    13       Chillicothe Mudcats      7:00                                                                     • June 13 — 12:30 p.m., under 19 boys,
the games.                                                                                                    Ozark Empire Fair,              Ellsworth,
                                                                                                                                                              Cooper.
   “I have covered baseball in the past and      All games played at Price Cutter Park                        minor league base-         director of the
we love doing this,” Casson said.“A lot of       Admission: $5                                                ball, Missouri State      Missouri Youth         • June 14 — 10 a.m., under 17 girls,
                                                                                                                                                              Cooper; 12:30 p.m., under 16 girls,
the teams in this area need more cover-          Parking: Free                                                basketball — but         Soccer State Cup       Cooper.
age and that is what we are here to do.”                                                                      few, if any, of those
   Casson also said his company will                                                                          in attendance stay                               • June 15 — 10 a.m., under 15 boys and
                                                                                                                                                              under 16 boys, Cooper; 10 a.m., under 13
transmit the games on a frequency                                                                             overnight.                                      boys and under 15 girls, South; 12:30
inside the stadium so people watching                                                                            “Another key point is that these teams       p.m., under 17 boys and under 18 boys,
the games can listen in.
                                                 Ozark Generals 2006                                          will play one game per day,” Ellsworth          Cooper; 12:30, under 13 girls and under
   Aton said these broadcasts would help         WebSportsRadio.com Schedule                                  said. “So if you have one game per day,         14 girls, South; 3, under 14 boys, South.
his team in two ways.                                                                                         you will go out and do things in the city.
                                                 June
   “First it will give us the opportunity to        3        Brunswick Longhorns
                                                                                                              A lot of time they will be in town will be
have some exposure,” Aton said. “It will                     4:00       Home                                  spent at our city businesses.”                you stamp yourself in the pecking order
get word of us all over. Also it will give           7       Parkville Sluggers                                  Check-in is June 9 and play starts the     of soccer.”
players from other states a chance to lis-                   7:00       Home                                  next day. There will be 221 teams com-          Ellsworth predicts quality games noth-
ten and that can really help in recruiting.”        10       Oklahoma Cubs                                    peting in boys and girls divisions in age     ing short of sensational.
                                                             1:00       Home
   Aton said he expects good things from            14       Mid-MO Crawdads
                                                                                                              groups under 13 through under 19.               “If you want to see great soccer, come
his team this year, but the organization is                  7:05       Home                                  Cities that will be represented include       out this week,” she said. “You’ll get an
still in need of volunteers.                        24       Clarinda A’s                                     Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis,          excellent view of how exciting soccer
   “Our entire staff is volunteers,”Aton said.               7:00       Home                                  Columbia, Joplin and Rolla.                   can be.”
“We are need of people who are knowl-             July                                                           With teams in each division competing
                                                    5        Joplin Slashers
edgeable with field maintenance and other                    7:00      Away
                                                                                                              for only one spot in the regional tourna-
duties. It’s an all volunteer thing.”               19       Nevada Griffons                                  ment, high-caliber play on the field will       They shoot! They score!
   He said anyone interested in volun-                       7:00      Away                                   translate into excitement in the stands.        If you’ve got an idea you would like
teering should contact him at Extra                                                                              “These are kids who have said this is        considered for the Community Free Press
Innings Indoor Baseball and Softball             Broadcasts start 10 minutes before game time                 their sport of choice. The competitive          Sports section, e-mail:
                                                 Games can be heard at www.websportsradio.com                                                                 acarlson@cfpmidweek.com
Training Center.                                                                                              level is higher,” Olson said.“It is the way

12 • June 7, 2006 • Springfield, MO                                                         www.cfpmidweek.com

				
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