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Summit City Sluggers History


In 1996 I took a group of 12 year old local (Ossian) players to Cooperstown Dreams Park under the name of the Ossian Wizards.  While I was there I talked with several coaches from different parts of the country and I learned that local baseball was becoming a thing of the past and that good players were playing on “travel teams” and competing against quality opponent’s day in and day out.

In 1997 I put together the first 12yr old travel team in this area.  We went to Cooperstown again and were really successful.  The experience convinced me and many others that a bunch of kids from Indiana could compete nationally. 

I kept the same team together through 2003 when my son, Andy graduated from Norwell High School and left for college at Coastal Carolina University.  Along the way I inherited a set of jerseys from the defunct Summit City Sluggers summer collegiate team and the name became.

In 2003 the first slugger player, Andy DeLaGarza, was drafted in the 50th round by the Minnesota Twins.  In August of 2003, Tim Otis approached me and asked if I would take over his 15 yr old team because he didn’t like being a dad coach.  I accepted and held a tryout that 50 kids showed up for; I coached that team thru the 2006 season.  Mark Fluekenger coached the team in 2007; featuring 5 players that went on to play professional baseball, Jarrod Parker from Norwell HS drafted 9th overall in 2007 by Arizona and was starting pitcher for Oakland A’s.  Scott Woodward from Norwell HS and Coastal Carolina University drafted in 2011 by the LA Dodgers.  Bryce Shafer from Northfield HS and Valparaiso University drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2010 and played for Wichita Wingnuts.  Matt Hitt from Fishers HS and Eastern Michigan University signed as a free agent by the Phillies in 2013 and was traded to the Blue Jays, and Kevin Kiermaier from FW Bishop Luers HS and Parkland Community College was drafted in 2009 by the Rays.  Josh VanMeter was drafted in the 5th round by the San Diego Padres in the June 2012 MLB draft.  Josh was most recently promoted to double A San Antonio. 

Around this time Dustin Sebastian brought his team on board.  Dustin coached that team and was an active in the growth of the Summit City Sluggers.  His team featured 2012 Indiana Mr. Baseball Will Courson Carr who pitched for IU. 

About a year later Greg VanMeter brought his team under the Sluggers umbrella, Flick coached them in 2010 during their 15 yr old year when they made a big run at the CABA WS Championship.  I took them over in 2011.

After Dustin and Greg became active we formed a Board of Directors, Mark Fluckerger was the first president and was instrumental in getting us certified as a non for profit organization. 

Lance Hershberger was the second president; Lance developed the agenda for our board meetings that we still use today and helped coach all the teams.

Currently Greg Van Meter is the president and oversees 6 teams, handles fundraising efforts with Mikes Car Wash and Pizza Hut.  Greg facilitates our monthly board meeting and handles insurance claims. 

The Mission Statement for the Sluggers is to create a better quality of life through baseball.  We do that not only by exposing our players to college coaches and professional scouts but by teaching them life skills, like being on time (if you are not early you are late) and to be accountable for their actions.

Today we have a board of Directors that meets on the second Monday of each month; we have 8 teams and continue to grow 12u, 13u, 14u, 15u, 16u, 17u and a college age team. 

We have partnered with the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research and have raised over 15k in the last 6 years.  We also support the Adams County Agape League and will be partnering with the American Cancer Society.  In 2015 Lutheran Hospital – FWO/TOH became our lead sponsor and with their assistance we have been able to help players with financial aid and a more modern training facility. 


Mark DeLaGarza