Roseburg’s storied American Legion baseball program has produced 11 state championships.
The first state title came in 1956 under Bill Harper, the most recent in 2010 with Scott Shaver in charge. The other crowns came in 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1986.
Dr. Stewart’s is hoping to capture its 12th state championship and first on the turf (which was installed late in 2019) next week. The Docs will play host to the 2021 tournament, which begins Saturday at Bill Gray Legion Stadium at Champion Car Wash Field.
Here’s a look back at the title teams from 1984, 1986 and 2010.
Dan Withers’ Docs were a resilient group, winning best-of-three state playoff series against Benson, Corvallis and Pendleton after losing the opening game.
Dr. Stewart’s defeated the Eugene Pepsi Challengers 3-1 in their best-of-five championship series, winning the final game 7-5 at Eugene’s Civic Stadium. Bill Livingston went 4-for-4 for the Docs, and Paul Watkins, Tony Haynes, Ben Gardner and Jeff Freeman all had two hits.
The Docs’ pitching staff included Ryland Summers (11 wins), Dave Russell (13 wins), Mark Johnston, Tim West and Kirk Haskett. Haynes was the top hitter and led the team in RBIs.
Dr. Stewart’s hosted the Northwest Regional Tournament and went 4-1, beating Eugene 8-3 in the title game. The Docs finished second to the Challengers in Area 4 during the regular season.
Roseburg went 1-2 in the American Legion World Series in New Orleans, finishing the season 47-22.
Glide’s John Livingston assisted Withers. The team had players from seven different schools — Roseburg, Glide, Sutherlin, Oakland, Yoncalla, South Umpqua and Bandon.
The roster included Haynes (Roseburg), West (Roseburg), John Thomas (Roseburg), Brad Anderson (Roseburg), Troy Calhoun (Roseburg), Wes Johnson (Roseburg), Haskett (Roseburg), Lance Fugate (Roseburg), Russell (Yoncalla), Lee Shaw (Yoncalla), Watkins (Glide), Bill Livingston (Glide), Rob Briggs (Glide), Johnston (Bandon), Gardner (Oakland), Freeman (Oakland), Summers (Sutherlin) and John Powell (South Umpqua).
“That was a great group of kids. They had what I call ‘sic ‘em’ and loved to compete,” Withers said. “When the chips were on the line they were able to rake them in. They happened to get on a good run (late in the season) and took advantage of their opportunities.”
The Docs, guided by Withers, defeated Klamath Falls 3-1 in their best-of-five championship series, winning the final contest 7-1 at Kiger Stadium.
Before that, Roseburg won best-of-three series against Corvallis, 2-0; Pendleton, 2-1; and Eugene, 2-1.
Dr. Stewart’s went 0-2 in the Northwest Regional Tournament at Taylor Field in Corvallis, finishing 48-18 overall.
The top pitchers for the Docs were Jason Wilson (Sutherlin), Rick Beglau (Roseburg) and Fugate (Roseburg). Fugate, who missed time early in the season with an injury, pitched a nine-inning no-hitter in Game 3 of the semifinals against Eugene at Legion Field.
Dr. Stewart’s featured a strong offensive lineup with Bob Livingston (Glide), Marty Ullsmith (Glide), Joe Polamalu (Roseburg), Eric Kinne (Glide), Aric Fromdahl (Roseburg), Freeman (Oakland), Mark Healy (Roseburg), Todd Sewell (Glide) and Steve Del Castillo (Roseburg).
Polamalu, who went on to play football at Oregon State University, returned late in the season from an injury and gave the Docs a boost offensively.
“That was a very talented group with a lot of flexibility defensively,” Withers said. “Most of the kids could run pretty well and we had a really good bunt game. But the bottom line is the pitching staff. The (1984 and ‘86 pitching staffs) had to step up, and they did.”
The state switched to a tournament format for the postseason in 1989.
It was a magical late-season run for Shaver’s Docs, who tied for third place in Area 4 during the regular season.
Dr. Stewart’s won a delayed super regional in Newberg, then pulled off a stunner in the state tournament at Kiger Stadium, defeating Medford twice, 9-6 and 8-7, to win the championship.
The Docs went on to win the Northwest Regional in Spokane, beating Kelso, Washington, 6-3 in the title game. The Legion World Series was also held in Spokane and Dr. Stewart’s (35-15) went 2-2 to finish in the top four.
That club featured future Division I players Josh Graham (Roseburg), Cameron Newell (Roseburg), Brandon Jackson (Roseburg) and Jared Priestley (Roseburg).
Jackson starred down the stretch, being selected the MVP of the state and regional tournaments. He pitched a complete-game five-hitter against Kelso.
It was a well-rounded squad with Mitch Huff (Roseburg), Vince Ampi (Roseburg), Chris Case (Roseburg), Dakota Cavens (Roseburg), Jay Tovey (Roseburg), Derek Priestley (Roseburg), Johnny Farrington (Roseburg), Austin Stone (Umpqua Valley Christian), Kyle Jaukkuri (Sutherlin), Blake Cupp (South Umpqua), Austin Marsh (South Umpqua) and Jered Stoffal (Douglas) among the contributors.