Coach Shep looks to retire with another state championship

wcia.com 13 days ago

DANVILLE (WCIA) — With more than 300 wins with Danville Post 210, Allan Shepherd is the winningest coach in the history of the program. Expectations for his 2022 team are high with the state tournament more than a month away and there’s even more reason to want to win it, with this being Shepherd’s last season in charge.

When Allan Shepherd took over the Danville American Legion baseball program in 2011, it’s unrecognizable compared to where they are now.

“We had 11 kids in the program, we’ve got somewhere around 170 total right now,” Shepherd said. “So it’s in really, really good shape.”

The coach, who players call Shep, is retiring from coaching after 21 years at the end of the season. After taking Danville to three state championships, and its first ever in 2016, Shep believes the program is on solid footing.

“We’ve got good guys coming behind me that I’m sure will carry the program on even better than what I was able to do.,” Shepherd said. “I’m excited to see what they bring to us, and somebody with a lot more energy than me after all these years.”

With a runner-up finish in the Terre Haute Best of the Midwest Invite, the 2022 Speakers showed they’re just as good as the teams before them.

“We had a nice little hot streak there for a bit,” Danville Post 210 outfielder Dawson Dodd said. “We started getting hot, going, and then picked a bad game to not do so hot.”

“Especially with the loss we had against Terre Haute, it’s given us some things to work on that we needed to,” Danville Post 210 infielder Drew Pinkston said. “Just playing quality baseball.”

The Speakers aren’t hoping to let Shep’s retirement start too early though. They have their eyes on another deep postseason run.

“Absolutely we think we can go pretty far during this tournament and think we can go pretty deep into the Regional, and maybe even make a run,” Danville Post 210 pitcher Isaiah Ruch said.

“I think if we’re not trying to make a run then why are we even doing it,” Danville Post 210 infielder Dalton Hobick said. “I think we’re capable of making a run for sure.”

“This team is as talented as the 2019 team,” Shepherd said. “I’ve told a lot of people 2019 got there because they played really well together. Unselfish baseball, and they worked really hard. This team is showing all those same traits.”

The Illinois State Tournament begins July 27th, where the Speakers will try to send Shep out as a champion.