By: Mike Glesinger
In the film "Field of Dreams"...Actor James Earl Jones plays a writer named Terrance Mann, and in one of the most quoted, and emotional scenes...Jones says...."the one constant through all the years has been baseball....."it reminds us of all that once was good...and it could be again"....and despite the Covid-19 pandemic and high school spring sports being cancelled, The Alliance First National Spartan Junior and Senior Legion teams, were able to begin practicing June 1 and began playing games June 18, and brought something good to local folks who were starved for sports.
In a 44 day span, the Spartans played a total of 76 games. The Juniors went 14-14-1 and the Seniors 31-16. Thursday night the Spartans celebrated their season with a cook out at Bower/Shankland Field.
General Manager Marty Dean, thanked the players, coaches, parents, sponsors and fans for all their support, along with First National Bank and the City of Alliance, to make sure we were able to have baseball this summer. It was a much needed, positive event for a community that had been couped up for several months. Marty is stepping down as GM after 8 years. The Spartan Board will select a replacement in the off season.
It was also a special night for Junior Head Coach Steve Gullion, who is stepping down after coaching in the Spartan program for 16 years. Steve talked about growning up in North Platte and loving the game of baseball at a very young age. He said he was was too young to play for the local Pee Wee team, but the coach allowed him to practice and by the time the season started, he was the starting pitcher. Steve joked, his grandfather told him, he would give him a dime for every strike out he recorded... and after pitching 3 innings....grand dad owed him 90 cents! "Grandpa, quit making deals after that". Gullion went on the play at all levels of baseball and spent 4 years on the team at Kearney State College. After his playing career ended he coached at the youth, high school and college level and also served as recreation director at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, where he said most if his softball team starters were serving time for murder and other serious crimes.....Steve said..."after dealing with those guys...coaching you guys is a piece of cake!"
Gullion then spent 25 years as an administrator, teacher, guardian, coach and counselor at the Nebraska Boys Ranch, south of Alliance, and has been a teacher and Jr. High coach in Alliance for the past several years. He will assist Carlos Palomo with the Alliance High School girls softball team this fall. Thank You, Steve Gullion for all you have done!
Coach Gullion along with assistant Coaches Kyle Sanders and Christian Clear, presented the following awards to the Spartan Jr. team.
Junior Offensive Player of the Year....Mario Garza
Jr Defensive Player of the Year....Drew Romick
Jr. Defensive Infielder of the Year...Brantz Halouska
Jr. Pitcher of the Year...Victor Hinojosa
Jr. Most Improved....Tyzen Brown...Nick Wright
Jr. Utility Player of the Year....Kellon Muhr
Jr. Teammate of the Year...Carver Hauptman
Jr. Blue Collar Award....Landon Crowe
Jr All Conference...Infield...Brantz Halouska...Mario Garza....Pitcher..Vic Hinojosa.....Utility...Kellon Muhr....Offensive Player of the Year..Vic Hinojosa....Defensive Player of the Year...Mario Garza
Senior Head Coach Carlos Palomo also thanked everyone for their support and gave special thanks to the last year Senior Players...Joel Baker, EJ Gomez, JJ Garza, Chance Crowe, Kirk Sanders, Collin Schrawyer and Trevor Dubray. Coach Palomo and assistant coach Adrian Gonzalez presented the following senior awards.
Senior Captain...Joel Baker
Offensive Player of the Year...Caeson Clarke
Defensive Infielder of the Year...JJ Garza
Defensive Outfielder of the Year...Caeson Clarke
Pitcher of the Year...Trevor Dubray...JJ Garza
Most Improved...Jacob Callen....Chance Crowe
Senior Teammate of the Year...Mario Garza
Blue Collar Award...Mario Garza....Collin Schrawyer
Senior Utility Player of the Year....Chase King
Clutch Performer of the Year...EJ Gomez
All Conference Awards...Outfield...Joel Baker...Caeson Clarke...Infield...JJ Garza and Collin Schrawyer
Conference Pitcher of the Year...Trevor Dubray
Conference Defensive Player of the Year...JJ Garza