October 19, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – This past Saturday marked Alumni Day for John A. Logan College baseball players. It was the first reunion in 31 years, and despite relatively short notice, drew 30 former players, managers and coaches, as well as their families.

Organized by JALC assistant coach Kyle Surprenant and Jason Halstead, the son of longtime Vols head coach Jerry Halstead, attendees were treated to a mid-afternoon meal of brats and burgers. Moreover, children got to play in a bounce house and later ran the bases.

Current Logan players stayed busy playing bags and throwing the football. Current and former players also tried their hand at baseball golf, where they hit the ball from home plate toward flags positioned in the outfield in an attempt to win prizes.

A tour of the college was offered to those who were interested and there was also a variety of Logan sportswear that was made available to purchase as a fundraiser for the baseball program.

“I’m extremely pleased with our turnout,” Jerry Halstead said. “We had five generations of former players spanning the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s, and 2010s.”

Halstead said he was especially pleased to welcome Du Quoin native, Bob Juhl, who was a catcher on the 1971-72 team. Juhl was the only former Vol to also have attended the original reunion in 1984.

“Bob caught the first-ever game on this field,” Halstead said. “He was quite a history resource and received a standing ovation from all of us for attending.”

Now 63, Juhl said he’s glad he made the decision to go to the reunion.

“It’s been a lot of fun here today,” he said. “I played two years at Logan and really enjoyed it. I remember that we won the conference tournament my freshman year and then got knocked out of the tournament by Belleville Area College (now Southwestern Illinois) my sophomore year.”

Juhl said some of his former teammates include: George Hopkins, Stan Serati, and Jim Paulk of West Frankfort; Steve Wilson, Darrell Broeking, and Dave Fisher of Marion; Rick Korando of Murphysboro; and Ray Huelsmann of Du Quoin.

“Our classrooms were in wooden barracks back then and we would sometimes practice on the asphalt parking lots if the field wasn’t in good condition,” Juhl said. “I remember us making spring trips to Mississippi and Louisiana. LSU was just beginning to build the Maravich Center when we were there.”

Juhl said he transferred to SIU after graduating Logan, but dropped out of school to begin a long career as a welder.

“I was with Arch Mine for 13 years and have spent the last 26 years with Taylor Brothers in Tamaroa. My wife (former Robin Heape of Du Quoin) and I have three children – Ryan, Rustin, and Rebecca – and three grandchildren. Ryan is a design engineer with DORMA Americas in Steeleville. Rustin is a police officer in Du Quoin, and Rebecca is a music instructor at Herrin Elementary School.”

Making the longest trek to the reunion was Tony Formoso, a member of the Vols’ 1992 World Series team, which placed third in the nation. Formoso now lives in San Francisco.

On Friday, a smaller group participated in a golf tournament at Crab Orchard Golf Course in Carterville.

“It was a great weekend for Logan Baseball as we were able to catch up with many players and their families that we had not seen for quite some time,” Halstead said. “I can’t thank enough the efforts of Kyle and Jason for their work in planning this event, as well as volunteer coaches Doug Bogard, Bruce Whitecotton and Drew Homan for cooking all the food. They all helped to make this event a huge success.”

Halstead said plans are already under way to host another reunion next October.