By Shawn Bauer
Community Education Tball/Peewees Baseball Academy started on June 15th and with almost 200 kids signed up it’s been an exciting summer thus far! Tball kids are giving it their all running around the bases and learning what defense consists of and learning to be wonderful teammates to each other. Sometimes they decide to play in the sand or watch a squirrel run by or a big wave to their parents or grandparents watching them play and in those moments you witness the beauty of baseball and the essence of childlike wonder being on a baseball field! The tballers are also learning the importance of the American flag and what it means to honor that flag by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before the first game of the night.
The PeeWees program with the multitude of kids that are playing this year we now have 8 different colored teams this season. Neon Green, Neon Yellow, Neon Orange, Neon Blue, Silver, Purple, Gold, and Red! We have 6 regular season weeks with 3 games on each Tuesday night culminating in a 2 week playoff amd championship night extravaganza down in Eitzen on August 3rd and August 10th. These little ballplayers have played some high spirited games and some absolute wonderful plays have been made on the defensive side of the game.
Highlights of the 1st half of the season include Dustin Burrichter for the Silver team making a game ending backhand stop dpwn the 3rd base line and throwing out the potential game tying run for Neon Yellow in Week 1. One of the best defensive plays a PeeWees kid has made in the Academy’s existence. Andrew Herman had a game winning single to knock off Team Purple in Week 1. Neon Blue behind the big swings of Ayden Schultz and Kayden Kinstler and Finnick Ross had a big week one performance beating Gold 28-20.
Week 2 brought one of the most thrilling matchups in Academy history as Neon Yellow edged out Neon Green in a riveting 26-25 victory behind the big swings of Connor Goetzinger and the wizardry like game ending play by Aza Hauser for Team Neon Yellow who made a great running throw to home to end the game securing the extra inning win. Neon Green had some fantastic defensive plays by Jarrett Snodgrass and Matt Ranzenberger! Luella Myers paced the Green offense with a perfect night at the plate going 4-4.
Week 3 saw Neon Orange edge Gold in a big time defensive effort by both teams with a 18-17 win! John Schieber got the game winning hit and Drew Klug, Briggs Middendorf, Jayden Wilson, and Ryan Augedahl played some spectacular defense in this matchup for Orange! Kaden Klug and Johnathan Lapham made some dazzling defensive plays for Gold as well and also smashed the ball all over the field!! Brothers Rylee and Lincoln Engan both had 3 hits each respectively.
Week 4 the Academy traveled to Eitzen and put on a big show for a very big crowd in attendance with the Gold team recovering from their loss the week before and putting up a big 27 runs beating Team Purple who by the way had a great performance by Aubrie Tostenson and Aria Connor at the plate. Neon Yellow and Neon Orange battled to the end in a thrilling fashion as Kirby Klug hit a game winning 2 run single to beat the undefeated Neon Orange 22-21! Silver then went on to beat Red right after with thr same score of 22-21 behind the game winning single by Damon Kittleson up the middle to centerfield!! Treyjen Burmester, Mariah Solbrack, Jurnee Adamson, and little Lettie Solbrack had big nights at the plate for Silver. Team Red behind the deep fly ball hitting bat of Aiden Herrick and the magician like glove of Gunner Felten almost snuck out the victory over Silver.
There has been some big time plays and big time hits so far but the biggest thing so far that the Academy coaches see the most is the comraderie and sportsmanship these kids show day in and day out!!! It’s going to be a great 2nd half of the season!