Class A kicks off state tournamentsNumbers-wise, amateur baseball in the state is hanging in there, if not growing. After a slump in the mid-2000s, more teams are popping up across the state and many of them will be in town over the next two weeks for the state tournaments.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Numbers-wise, amateur baseball in the state is hanging in there, if not growing.
After a slump in the mid-2000s, more teams are popping up across the state and many of them will be in town over the next two weeks for the state tournaments.
Not all teams that play during the regular season compete at state, but North Dakota Amateur Baseball commissioner Tom Gould and executive secretary R.D. Brown —who always run first-rate tournaments — have rounded up eight Class A teams, six AA clubs and four 3A teams to round out the field.
“We’ve added teams that last several years. We’d like for all the teams that play during the season to play at state, but for whatever reason some don’t,” said Gould. “The teams that are coming are pretty good teams. It’s really good baseball. I think all three tournaments will be pretty entertaining.”
Gould coaches the Class AA Jamestown Tarno Townies and the Jamestown Hounds, the defending Class A champions. The Hounds are made up primarily of the Blue Jay and Post 14 Legion teams with a few exceptions. Brady Anderson, an all-state selection, can’t play. He’s beginning his freshman season with the Valley City State football team.
Danny Fischer, Kasey Gengler and Jake Stilwell are booked. So too are Legion coach Shane Schoeneberg, and Levi Gaunska, last year’s Class A MVP.
“We got a lot of good ballplayers,” Gould said. “They’re really good kids and they like to play. We’re looking forward to it.”
New Rockford and Tolna play the first game tonight at 5:30 p.m. New Rockford is one of the new teams in the state. Tolna always brings a nice squad made up primarily of former players at Dakota Prairie High School.
LaMoure and Fairview play the second game tonight. LaMoure also is a new team, but with many successful Legion and high school teams in the last decade, they too should be sound. Fairview always brings a nice outfit and on occasion have brought a top-notch team, like in 2009 when they won Class A.
Jamestown, the Fargo Mets, Central Plains Coyotes and Beulah-Hazen Blackjaws make up the bottom half of the Class A draw.
Central Plains has played in two straight championship games and is always tough with the Christianson boys (Chad and Bryan) — whose dad Rick has been coaching baseball in the Binford area forever — Gavin Black, Curt Jacobson, Tyler Edlund and a host of other former accomplished high school players for the Midkota Mustangs.
That’s one of the many things that make the amateur tournaments unique. Playing baseball on the side, when many of the players work full-time jobs and have families, is not easy.
“You have to make a commitment,” Gould said. “It’s a time commitment. You’re going to have to travel. It’s different than a lot of things, but that’s why we all keep coming back.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com