TERRE HAUTE —
South Vermillion’s Tim Terry is the longest tenured coach in Wabash Valley high school baseball as his Wildcats are set to begin sectional play Thursday against Owen Valley.
But on the Yankees, a 35-and-over team in the Terre Haute Men’s Senior Baseball League, Terry is “just a youngster” if you ask Larry Roesch, his 68-year-old teammate on the Volkers Group Yankees.
The Yankees are a founding team of the Terre Haute Men’s Senior Baseball League, which began in 1991.
The Terre Haute league consists of a 35-and-over wood-bat division and a 19-plus aluminum-bat division. Roesch, Frank Volkers, Dr. Jim Stephens and league founder Jim Tanner have been playing baseball together since 1991.
Terry, whose South Vermillion team had a 15-7 regular-season this spring, carried that success into this past Sunday’s season opener for the Yankees.
The 58-year-old loves to coach baseball — as well as girls basketball during the winter — but being a player once a week during the summer is the perfect break.
“The camradery. You look forward to seeing everyone in the summer time,” Terry said.
Terry starred at Clinton High School before playing for a year-and-a-half at Indiana State. Terry is one of dozens of former Sycamores to play in the league and one of hundreds of former Wabash Valley high school players who continue to play the game they grew up with.
It’s a privilege, he said, to live in a town where the passion for baseball is shared by many.
“I still get the opportunity to play baseball. How many places can you do that when you get older?” Terry said.
Staying in shape for baseball is one extra motivation to be healthy and active throughout the year, Terry said.
“That gets people going, to give them something to get in shape for. That’s good,” he said.
Roesch agrees wholeheartedly.
“I did not,” Roesch said when asked if he expected to still be playing at age 68. “Each year, I think it’s my last year. But when spring comes around I still feel halfway healthy so I play again.”
Guys like Terry, Stephens, Volkers, who’s played on the same team with his son Kyle for several years now, love that camradery.
“Tim’s a great guy. Just friendly, we have a good time together all of us,” Roesch said.
The 15-game summer schedule is followed annually by an October trip to Phoenix for the MSBL World Series.
The Yankees last won the league title in Terre Haute in 2008, but they’ve won several world titles in their age group World Series.
“We’ve been quite competitive in our age brackets in Phoenix, been going every year since 1992,” Volkers said. “We’ve won the 60-and-over once, the 65-and-over once and a father-son title in 2002.”
The Terre Haute Men’s Senior Baseball League plays its games at Haley Field, which is located behind the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds on Union Road.
Both leagues include players with experience levels all the way from Division I college to those who stopped playing by high school.
Visit www.thmsbl.com for more information. The league is always looking for more players and teams of any age.