With the coronavirus canceling not only the high school baseball season but the American Legion season as well, many high school players were left without a chance to hit the field.
In Belle Plaine several young players have opted not to sit out this summer and have instead turned to the town team for a chance to play.
Town Tigers’ manager, Matt Ruehling, said the team has in the past welcomed recent high school graduates who were interested in playing, but this year the team has opened its arms to a pair of high school students as well.
Class of 2020 players include Dylan Kahle, Colton Kerkow and Garrett Boblitt. On the high school side, rising senior Joey Burgemeister and rising junior Jack Kruger will be hitting the field for the Town Tigers.
The coronavirus came close to threatening town team baseball across the state, but about two weeks ago, the Minnesota Baseball Association gave the green light to amateur teams to play, as long as they had safety plans and local approval to play. On Wednesday, June 17, the Tigers wasted no time and took to the field against the Green Isle Irish for their opening contest.
Kerkow said he’s excited to get out onto the field this summer, but not only for himself.
“I think it’s great that we’re getting out here now; we get to finally play,” Kerkow said. “I think it’s good for the fans to get out and watch some baseball since no one’s gotten any baseball time.”
When asked whether playing on the town team felt like a replacement for his senior season, Kahle said, “Yes and no.”
“Out on the field it feels like it,” he said.
In addition to the class of 2020 players and current BPHS students, the town team also added Jamie O’Brien, a 2019 BPHS graduate, and Andrew Fisel, a former player from Janesville.