Ron Johnson, the former highly successful and popular manager of the Fifth District Oak Grove Post 379 American Legion team, had to hear the good news in heaven.

Post 379 will play baseball this summer with Ron’s wife, Melinda, as the manager – in name only, though.

Ron Johnson, the former highly successful and popular manager of the Fifth District Oak Grove Post 379 American Legion team, had to hear the good news in heaven.
Post 379 will play baseball this summer with Ron’s wife, Melinda, as the manager – in name only, though.
“I am just keeping the team the way Ron would want and way he has run it for 31 years,” said Melinda Johnson, who works for the Odessa School District. “That’s what he would want is to keep the team together. We again will make the trip up north (to the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana) but may make it a week shorter.”
Ron, who had battled diabetes and muscular sclerosis, died New Year’s Day after suffering a stroke several days earlier. He was one of the state’s most respected coaches and individuals.
Melinda Johnson said David Richards will remain as a coach. Other coaches will be former Grain Valley baseball coach Kerry Shaw and Steve McReynolds, one of Ron’s former players who is the assistant baseball coach at Lexington High School.
However, two of last season’s projected returning Oak Grove players may be performing for a new Legion team out of Odessa High School. Bob Glasgow, the longtime Oak Grove High School athletic director and wrestling coach, and Bob Shores will be co-managers of the new team.
“It will be a good move for us,” Glasgow said. “It will give a chance for more players to play.”
Glasgow and Shores each had a son play for Post 379 last season.
 “If a new team comes in and takes a high school as a base, those kids who were on the roster and played for Oak Grove last year have a one-time option of staying with the team they played for, or they can go to the new team,” said Gary Stone, the Missouri Fifth District chairman and former Hi-Boy Drive In/Post 340 manager.
Melinda Johnson is aware she may lose both players.
“But we will get other players,” she said.
Odessa, however, will not be a member of the Fifth District that includes Post 379.
“It will be in the Seventh District along with Sedalia Post 642 and Higginsville, which will again field a team after an absence of several years,” Stone said.
Melinda Johnson made it clear her main duty will be overseeing the coaches. Don’t expect her to be in a uniform and standing in the third-base coaching box.
Glasgow said the Odessa team would play its home games at Webb Park in Oak Grove. That’s also the home site for Post 379. So, scheduling for the two teams could be interesting.
The main thing, though, is that Post 379 will continue to field a team.
The Lee’s Summit Post 189 Pirates apparently are history, however. No one has stepped up to replace the resigned Joe Rozycki as the manager.
“The returning players on that team will have the option of going to the nearest team to their home,” Stone said. “That likely will be the (Lee’s Summit) Post 189 (Auxiliary) Outlaws or Robert L. Clour Post 189 Bulldogs.”
That will give the Fifth District nine teams instead of the 10 it fielded last year.