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Berries baseball celebrates coaching greats
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Berries baseball celebrates coaching greats

September 30 – In the heyday of the North Central Conference, the conference continuously produced state champions in several sports.

Logansport’s biggest contribution was in baseball, when Berries won state championships in 1975, ’77, ’79 and ’91.

Two of the great leaders of these glory days were honored on Wednesday when Jim Turner and Butch Jones were remembered during a gathering at the LHS baseball facility. Turner, 90, and Jones, 81, died three days in a row last week.

During a ceremony at the LHS barn on Wednesday, family, friends, colleagues and members of the Logansport baseball family shared stories about the two coach greats.

Ryan Conrad, now living in Bloomington, was a starter on Berries’ last state championship team in 1991. He remembered a story about Turner.

“In the state championship game, it was actually after I had beaten a home race and I came around first base – and I was mainly a strikeout guy, OK, so it was very strange to beat a home race – but to get around in the state final on first base I had both hands in the air to signal that we are No. 1, Conrad remembers. “And I look over at third base, and expect to see coach Turner just jump for joy, but instead he signaled very intensely” get arms down … get your arms down. “

“So I score, the round ends, and before I went out on the field again, he called me aside and said, ‘Listen, you know better than that, it’s not good sportsmanship, it’s not who we are, that’s how it is. not we play. ‘”

Conrad said it was one of probably 10,000 stories he could share about both coaches’ character.

Todd Stephens, who now lives in Carmel, was a member of the team in 1991 and a starter on the semi-state team in 1992 and regionally in 1993.

“All the coaches I had, I think what stands out is the leadership,” said Stephens. “They did not have to shout to be the leader. I thought about it on the drive from Indy, the attention to detail.”

Stephens said the Berries played matches just like they trained.

“I remember that only exercises were so intense. And our hinterland, if you ever looked at our infield, it was perfect,” he recalled. “But that’s what the guys instilled in us was training aspect, infield, you do not have to be perfect, but try to be perfect, and the games took care of themselves.

“Now everyone is so focused on playing more games and winning, but all the details in practice and taking infield, that’s what these guys were about.”

Bryan Gleitz, who is now the assistant coach for the Logansport baseball team and was also a member of the state championship team in 1991 and a starter on the semi-state team in 1992, said that the players who came up through the Logansport youth leagues and freshman and JV teams were well educated. the basics of the game, and that Turner and Jones continued it when they joined the varsity team. Plus, Turner and Jones do not overcoach their players either.

“They summed it up at the funeral. The feeding system took care of a lot where they just let us be ourselves,” Gleitz said. “They never embarrassed us, never shouted at us. When coach Turner withdrew and coach Jones took over the same thing, they just let us be us and play our own game.

“It was a game situation in practice. We wanted to compete in practice. That’s why we were so good when we competed against each other. I wanted to be better than Todd, I wanted to be better than (Bryon) Ashby. I wanted to be good collectively as a team “We wanted to win, but we wanted to compete with each other, and that led to us winning a lot of matches.”

The current Logansport head coach Dan Frye said that when you looked through the old scorebooks, there were much closer matches than he thought. He thought Berries rolled several opponents, but it turned out that there were many close matches, which needed the right tactical talks from Turner and Jones.

They will both be remembered as two of the greatest baseball coaches in the state’s history.

“You could not ask for two better boys to play for,” Gleitz said. “As Joe (Ness) said today, you would never let them down.

“It was just an honor to wear that jersey, to play for them and to wear the Logan shirt. We are a family.”

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