Greenville American Legion Post 140 and The Academy share a long history

We support the Academy for the same reason we served our Nation in military service – it’s our responsibility ... Greenville American Legion Post 140 Commander Ken Wombold

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Greenville American Legion Post 140 Commander Ken Wolbold (L) and LWSB Coach Jerrod Newland (R) look over the Academy at the Corner of Riffle & Pine in Greenville. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE – Greenville American Legion Post 140 and The Academy Indoor Sports Complex have a long history of working together to promote the youth of Greenville, Darke County, and surrounding areas. However, these efforts often go unnoticed.

“We support the Academy for the same reason we served our Nation in military service – it’s our responsibility,” said Greenville American Legion Post 140 Commander Ken Wombold. “It’s our responsibility to give back to the community and provide assistance where the community benefits.”

Greenville American Legion Post 140 Commander Ken Wombold (L) and Lady Wave veterans Hall of Fame softball coach Jerrod Newland (R) meet at The Academy. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

The Academy’s founders, Jerrod Newland, Denny Ruble, Rich Rosinski, and Mike Weaver, had a vision that lives on today.

“If it weren’t for the American Legion, we wouldn’t be here,” said Academy Director and Greenville Lady Wave Hall of Fame coach Jerrod Newland. “Back in the original days of 2006 when we bought the building, we had to get a handicap accessible, tear down stuff, build the wall, build the ceilings, put the nets up, get the cages, and American Legion was with us from day one and helped us with the turf a couple of times. We do our Lady Wave Auction at the Legion every year and the people come for that.”

The Academy, located at 615 Riffle Avenue in Greenville, is a non-profit indoor sports practice facility with a turf infield, pitching lanes, batting cage, and hitting stations for local boys and girls to utilize who are the future leaders of our communities and nation.

LWSB Coach Jerrod Newland (R) and Greenville American Legion Post 140 Commander Ken Wombold (L) look over The Academy and new turf. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Look at what the American Legion requirements are for the Legion Baseball program,” Wombold said. That bleeds over into softball, and that teaches responsibility and respect. These young people are our future leaders. We need thinking and responsible leadership. This is one way our local American Legion helps promote that leadership experience.”

The Academy strongly emphasizes girls’ softball and is also used in baseball, soccer, cheerleading, and more.

“Without the American Legion, there would be no us,” Newland stated. We’re a non-profit organization that allows kids 8 through 18 to come in and work. It’s the home of the Ohio Wave Softball team, the American Legion Baseball programs, and the Lady Wave Softball program.”

Coach Newland entered the 2024 Lady Wave Softball (LWSB) varsity season with 20 straight years of 25 or more wins, an unprecedented feat as only 27 regular season games are permitted by OHSAA. LWSB is on track for a 21st consecutive season standing at 18-4 in the current high school season.

Ken Wombold, Greenville American Legion Post 140 Commander (L) and LWSB coach Jerrod Newland (R) share thoughts on many improvements at The Academy in Greenville. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“The Academy is why Greenville Softball is good,” Newland stated. “Without the Ohio Wave Academy Greenville Softball – we’re in here year around getting better and preparing for it. Once November hits, it’s a daily thing that people can work throughout the winter, but without the Academy, you would have to wait until after basketball practice to practice, you would have to wait in the spring to get in the gym.”

Academy board members hold non-paid positions. As Coach Newland shared, “We’re like United Way, but no one gets paid. It costs you money to be involved down here because we roll up our sleeves and do things. Everything we get goes right into the building. It goes into permanent improvements, yearly improvements, or monthly bills but everything we get 100 percent goes straight towards the kids, this building, and the future upkeep.”

“The Academy is great for everybody,” said Newland. We have a place to work out; we call it home because when the kids come in here, there is a sense of belonging. But without this place, Greenville Softball would be nowhere close to what it is. This is what breeds it—I call it the bat cave. We come in here, hone in on our skills, get better, and try again the next day.”

Academy sponsors.

The full turf field at the Academy measures 60’ x 110’ Ft and has recently been resurfaced with thanks to Greenville American Legion Post 140. Also, an eyesore, the large building attached to the front of the Academy, was recently raised, and a large parking lot now fills the space.

“It is community beautification and curb appeal because now getting that building down and the parking lot is forever,” Newland noted. We’ve been here 20 years, and we’re looking forward to the next 20. Denny Ruble keeps pushing me because successful people always have to project where we’re going.”

“I am proud of everybody involved, the community, Greenville City, and the school, just everybody,” Coach Newland concluded. We’re all in it together, and our together is getting kids a place to be safe, work hard, and better their game, and in our case, it’s baseball and softball.”