Baseball teams in the Dallastown area have experienced a great deal of success over the past few seasons.
The high school team made it all the way to the PIAA Class 6-A title game in 2017, a season before qualifying for the state playoffs again this past spring.
The American Legion squad qualified for the Region IV playoffs last summer and appear poised to do it again this summer.
For all of the positives, however, a very big negative cloud hung over the Legion program heading into this season. Coach Phil Jeanmenne could only assemble a roster of nine players — the bare minimum — for his team this summer.
“We probably wouldn’t have had a team,” Jeanmenne said.
Good fortune, however, was just around the corner for Post 605.
After fielding a team last year, the York City program could not muster the minimum number of players. Thus, the city team had to fold before the start of the season.
Enter Jeanmenne, who put one and one together to make a unique yet interesting pairing.
Many of the kids who would have played for York City instead joined Dallastown, allowing one of the league’s premier squads to remain afloat.
“I love this team,” Jeanmenne said moments after his team forged a 5-5 tie against Glen Rock Monday evening. “We combined with York City so you can say that we have a bit of a (diverse) team. “
Program comes together: Jeanmenne admitted that he had no idea how the team would come together once the two programs merged.
To his surprise, however, the marriage turned out to be a blessing for all involved. The team currently leads the York-Adams American Legion East Division at 4-0-1.
“They’re really a fun group of guys,” he said. “They’ve really come together pretty fast. They’re interacting with each other and you can see how they all really play hard. And it’s almost as if they’re really challenging each other.”
With many different sports now competing during the summer — AAU basketball, football camps, soccer, tennis to name a few — as well as travel and showcase baseball teams, the numbers for many local Legion teams have dropped over the past few years.
Spring Grove, another organization with a lot of recent success, was forced to sit out last year because of a player shortage.
Jeanmenne, however, wasn’t about to let that happen under his watch.
“Without them I wouldn’t have a team.” he said of his six new York City recruits. “We would have only had nine guys for the whole season, which just isn’t enough.”
A different problem: Now, in a bit of an ironic twist, Jeanmenne has a bit of a different problem.
“They’re all challenging me for playing time,” he said. “I told them that they’re all starters, but I just can only play nine or 10 at a time. But they all play for one another and you saw that tonight. They came through in some big areas when we needed them.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.