BROKEN BOW – Legion postseason play, after years of work on both the baseball programs and Paul Brown Field, is finally returning to Broken Bow. The tournament, a jewel in the sun, marks the first time in 37 years that the boys of summer will scuff the town’s diamond in August.
The crow’s nest presides over a field hotly anticipating a July 30 Broken Bow Legion first pitch. Two names in white beam from its new coat of red paint: “Palmer Lomax,” the first two Custer County residents to lose their lives in each World War, and Broken Bow Legion Baseball’s namesake.
“Since we qualified for the state tournament, I wanted to learn more about those names,” Broken Bow Legion coach Jeff Denson recalls. What he unearthed was one of those rare quirks of history impossible to explain.
“Joseph Palmer was killed in 1918 in France. His mother asked that his remains be brought back to Custer County, which occurred four years later. They had a burial service for Joseph, attended by over 3000 people, which happened on July 30, 1922. So we will be memorializing his burial service one hundred years to the day.”
Denson says a ceremony is planned to commemorate the veteran, which of course includes the best way baseball knows. “We’re going to have the family of Joseph Palmer throw out the first pitch of our first game. That’ll be Joseph’s brother’s kids and grandkids.”
The ceremony and tournament, according to Denson, will open fittingly on Friday night. “We’re going to do a flag dedication that night. There’s going to be a new flag placed at the field, which will be worth seeing go up.”
The celebration of Legion namesakes will be ongoing throughout the fifteen-game tournament; Denson says he is hoping for a collaborative effort from all teams involved. “Our legion posts are going to nominate previous veterans to throw out the pitches of the rest of the games of the tournament.”
Coach Denson says others who have made Legion Baseball possible in Broken Bow will be honored as well. “Paul Brown donated the ground where the Legion field sits, and we’re trying to have Paul Brown’s family come out to throw the first pitch of our Saturday game.”
“We’re excited to host the 2022 Seniors Tournament,” Denson concludes. “We think we’re going to provide a nice event given all the field renovations we’ve done, and I think we’re going to honor our military and veterans well.”
The Broken Bow Legion Seniors will take the field at 3 p.m. on July 30 against an opponent as yet undetermined.