By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SPRINGFIELD — For the first time, the Effingham County Recreation and Parks’ youth baseball and softball seasons started without Clarence Morgan.
Morgan, the former director who worked in recreation for more than 50 years, died Jan. 5, but his memory was still in attendance on a brisk Saturday morning at the Clarence E. Morgan Recreation Complex, said Jeffrey Lonon, who worked with Morgan for 21 years.
“This was his favorite time of the year,” Lonon said. “We continue to grow the programs here (to a combined 102 softball and baseball teams this year) so I know Clarence must be dancing in heaven.”
The opening-day ceremony, starting with a parade of teams and supporters, was held at the complex before a plaque honoring Morgan was presented.
The girls under-8 GRPA state championship softball team, coached by Brett Vandehouten, was also honored.
Lonon said about 30 teams, along with officials and dignitaries, joined the parade.
Morgan’s plaque will be hung in the gym while the girls championship poster will be hung at the pavilion in the middle of the cluster of baseball/softball diamonds
“A lot of times, after the (baseball) ceremony, Clarence would often go down to Florida to watch spring training games,” Lonan said. “He dedicated a lot of his life to baseball.”