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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

Legion gives dads last hurrah with sons

Saturday, June 16, 2007

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The Bakers
SIKESTON -- Father's Day is a day for giving back and showing appreciation for dads across the country.

For four of the Sikeston Senior Legion Post 114 baseball team players, they may want to think of something special to get their dads.

That's because all four players have a dad that coaches on the team.

It's not unusual for dads to coach their sons through the little league and Babe Ruth ranks, but Todd Baker, Jeff Limbaugh, Terry Lambert and Doug Friend have been with their sons every step of the way, now coaching the Post 114 Legion team.

Their sons, Seth Baker, Garrett Limbaugh, Nick Lambert and Zach Friend have all been major contributors for the team this summer.

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The Friends
"It's just fun to be a part of it," said Jeff Limbaugh, who also coached his oldest son, Matt. "It's neat when those kids are still calling you 'coach' when they're out of school and in college."

Todd Baker, who has been the head coach of the Legion team the past three seasons, started coaching his oldest son, Tyler, back in his little league days.

"This is something I've been doing since Tyler was six, essentially and I've always been involved with Seth too," said Todd Baker. "It's a good time to be out there with your son. That's what it's all about, not to mention you get to work with other kids. I enjoy being around all of them."

Seth, who will be a senior at Sikeston High School in the fall, said he has enjoyed every moment he's spent under his dad's tutelage.

"It's been a lot of fun," said Seth. "I wish I could go back. We've been around each other forever. You just go out and play and you don't have to worry about much. It's a lot different from school ball. You don't have any pressure on your shoulders."

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The Lamberts
Garrett said that by having his dad by his side all these years, one-on-one advice has been readily available.

"If I mess up my dad knows exactly what I need to do to correct the problem," said Garrett, who will also be a senior at SHS in the fall. "He can take you to the side and he can work you through it. He can spend extra time with you and help you out."

Jeff Limbaugh said an advantage of coaching his sons is knowing their strengths and weaknesses and knowing when to spot them.

"When Garrett is pitching, I know when he's done -- I can feel it," he said. "I know when he's got a couple more outs in him. I can just tell, whereas somebody else may not be for sure about it."

Todd Baker says coaching your own kids is an enjoyable experience, however one needs to be conscientious of other kids' and parents' interests.

"The first thing with me is you want to avoid the favoritism thing," he said. "I want to be fair to everybody. I don't want to give my kids any special treatment. I think you'll see, if you look over the course of time, I was probably harder on my kids when it came to playing time over the others. Because I don't want them to think I'm giving my kids preferential treatment. Sometimes Tyler and Seth didn't understand that, but they've learned to accept it."

Limbaugh said the memories he's had coaching his sons, along with numerous other kids, are priceless.

"The best part of it is you get to watch the boys in that age group develop," he said. "You take a part of their lives and you start watching them succeed in not only baseball, but basketball and school. We've had a lot of fun and a lot of success. We've played all over the world it seems like. We went to the Little League World Series with Garrett back when he was 12. That was a great thing that we will never forget."

When asked how much his dad has taught him in the game of baseball over the years, Garrett was quick to point out his dad's credentials.

"My dad knows the game -- he played at Arkansas State," said Garrett. "I know that I can trust what he says. He's helped me grow up as a baseball player. I've had a lot of memories over the years playing for my dad."