HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - When it comes to the importance of Legion Baseball in the United States, Nebraska is right at the top. According to the American Legion, Nebraska has 164 Legion teams. The second most in the country, only behind Minnesota.
The reason for this is because of the small towns across Nebraska who field Legion teams. The farther down you go the more important Legion baseball becomes. Especially for towns like Dannebrog, Cairo and Boelus who have a Legion team but no High School team.
"Around our area we got some great legionnaires. I mean they're on top of Legion Baseball," DCB Legion Head Baseball Coach, Joe Noakes said. "They care about it. That's why I think in smaller towns the kids love legion baseball and plus that's the only thing that we have."
Gail Jones, Chairman of the Hastings Baseball Committee, has worked with the American Legion for 25 years and knows when it comes to Legion Baseball, no one is more supportive than small towns.
"It's a little bit more than just a game. It's an event that they make into a community event," Jones said.
In Nebraska, high school baseball is continuing to grow with more Class C teams cropping up but there are still 81 more Legion teams than High school teams.
"I know high school baseball is becoming more important and it's starting in Class C now and there is other teams starting," Noakes said. "Hopefully, were one that gets it soon in Centura."
Due to Directive Health Measures, the Legion season won't be starting in May but the hope is the season will start in mid-June or early July. Each team must hold 14 days of practice before there first game.