Bringing back Legion Fields is hope of local coach hosting American Legion Inaugural Father's Day Classic

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

Dating back to the early 1960s, the American Legion Post 167 has provided service to our community, especially our youth here in Plaquemine. This was the place to be, there was Pony League and Babe Ruth baseball, basketball courts and an Olympic size swimming pool with a high diving board.

For several of us, this place holds great memories. Who could forget the trains passing during the baseball games, the action at the swimming pool, and of course American Legion Baseball?

Throughout the years and with the decrease in number of Legionnaire’s, many of the American Legion Post are now closed. Our Plaquemine post is also struggling to keep the doors open and for several years, the legionnaires have done a great job making ends meet with bingo and facility rentals.

Years ago, a plan was put into place by the late commander Jimmy “Chief” Barbee, the late Coach Frank Ferachi and the baseball committee. The goal was to bring back the legion fields as a way to make money, keep our doors open, and also get back to serving the youth in our community.

Four years ago, two childhood friends decided to put that plan in action. The Sons of the American Legion John “Chief” Barbee and Luke Ferachi took on a long-term project, but also their father’s visions and dreams. “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, we just wanted to make it happen for our Dad’s” said Ferachi.

When asked why it took so long, Barbee responded, “Money and time." We’ve had great support from several people and local businesses that really wanted to see this place rebuilt.

It’s only through hard work and determination that we are at this point, and now we are ready to honor our dads on Father’s Day weekend. The new field will be dedicated in memory of “Coach Frank Ferachi” and we will be breaking ground on the next field in memory of Jimmy “Chief” Barbee.

The opening ceremonies and field dedication will start at 5 p.m. this Friday June 15, followed by the National Anthem, and the ceremonial first pitch. The Inaugural Father’s Day Classic is a co-ed softball tournament with pool play on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will be double elimination bracket play with a winner take all Championship game.

The American Legion Park has a large bullpen area for pitching instructions and practice, four turfed batting cages with fastball and curveball pitching machines, and soft toss and tee areas. The beautiful Oak trees provide plenty of shade, but we encourage you to bring your tents and lawn chairs. No Ice chest or coolers allowed in park and full concessions will be available for purchase.

Our plan is to host our own tournaments, including but not limited to co-ed softball, charity or benefit tournaments, and travel baseball from 9-14 year olds. We will also be renting our facilities for practice, tournaments and camps, including our cages and pitching areas. For rental questions, please contact John “Chief” Barbee at (225) 776-2597 or Ralph Devillier at (225) 776-1400.

Come out to the American Legion on Father’s Day Weekend and join us in celebrating with family, friends, good food and drinks. We look forward to sharing our American Legion stories with you! You can share your story on the American Legion Iberville Post 167 facebook page.

Happy Fathers Day, submitted by Coach John Barbee