Rowan Legion season ends; community rallies around team

by David Whisenant - bio l email

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - UPDATE  The team returned to Salisbury on Monday night to a rousing welcome at Newman Park.  More than 100 fans turned out to show support for the team that finished third in the nation in American legion World Series.

First baseman Trey Holmes was grateful for the welcome and excited about the adventure he shared with his teammates.

"It was a great experience," said Holmes.  "Something that we will remember for the rest of our lives, a group of kids growing up together and ended up third in the nation."

There will be little time for rest for most of the team.  Some will be suiting up for football this Friday night, others heading off to college in the next few days.

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - One local baseball team is living a dream right now, and taking an entire community with them.

The Rowan County American Legion team is in the World Series in Fargo, North Dakota, and it's hard to find anyone in Rowan County who can't tell you just how exciting that is.

Nearly anywhere you go in town people are listening, watching, or reading about the Legion World Series.

"Those kids just won't quit," said Pete Needham.  "It's just amazing what they've done, coming from behind all the time that's great, just great."

They are the come from behind kids and they are making a run at the national championship. Some fans made the trip out west, but the ones at home are just as proud.

"Oh, it's the talk of the town," said Greg Culp who owns Hap's Grill in downtown Salisbury.

He helped sponsor  local radio station WSTP to go to Fargo so that the familiar voice of play by play announcer Howard Platt would bring the games to listeners at home.

Up the street from Hap's the sports clothing shop is selling lots of Rowan Legion tee shirts, and across town laundromat owner Andy Meng offers his support.

"It's an exciting time," said Meng.   "It's brought the community together. People who don't even keep up with baseball are keeping up with it now."

And he's tumbled up a way to show support for the team.

If Rowan makes it to the championship, all of Andy's customers get to use the dryers for free at his two Salisbury locations of Super Speedwash.

"We're looking forward to that, I've got quarters in my pocket to throw in the machines, I'll be doing that along with my employees, it will be a fun time," Meng added.

The Rowan Legion program has had its share of success over the years with legendary coaches Joe Ferebee, Jim DeHart, and current coach Jim Gantt.

There have been 8 state championships, and now three trips to the World Series. And they way they're playing now, this season could be the ultimate highlight.


Rowan County was defeated in the American Legion World Series Monday night by Michigan.  The final score was 15-14.

Rowan again showed its "never say die" attitude, coming back from a 12-0 deficit to come within one run of staying alive.

The Rowan team finished third in the nation and capped off one of its most successful seasons in program history.

The team will be returning to the Salisbury area on Tuesday, but will be divided into two flights returning at different times.

Local organizers are talking about a possible recognition event for the community to show its support for the team, but so far nothing has been scheduled.