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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeSportFlood Fails to Faze: Youth Rally to Rescue Rec Ball Games

Flood Fails to Faze: Youth Rally to Rescue Rec Ball Games

The day after the big storm that flooded the northland, the Two Harbors city recreation baseball and softball director, Tim Bott, put a message out to the players and their fam­ilies. He was going out to attempt to bail water out of the field so the games could still be played that evening.

“They had some games canceled as of recently, and they just want to play,” Tim said. “The kids just want to play.”

Within twenty-five minutes after he hit send, Tim was sur­prised to find fourteen young helpers joining him with shovels and buckets rallying to res­cue the day. “They got all their friends and came out to bail water for four hours so they could play a baseball game later that day,” he said. “It was defi­nitely a highlight of the year.”

He shouldn’t have been too surprised. Tim has witnessed a resurgence of youth baseball and softball in the area. He’s been in­volved in the program on and off as a coach and took on becoming the director four years ago. Though he’s not coaching this year, he is enjoying his role.

“It’s nice that I get to see kids just learning how to throw a ball at five years old and then all the way up to high­schoolers where they have kind of perfect­ed that craft,” he said. “Every step on their way has been kind of cool to see over the last couple years.”

Additionally, it al­lows him to attend more than one game at a time. “It’s cool to go to the ballpark and look at the left field and see eight, nine, ten-year-old softball players, then see ten and eleven-year-old baseball players on the other field. They’re playing side by side and the families know each other.”

When Tim became director, the program was seeing a drop in participation. Howev­er, having been a play­er himself, he knew the allure of good, fun competition. “Our numbers were dwin­dling and dwindling,” Tim said. “So, we put them in a league.”

Historically, the games were in-house. Now, the players are traveling to commu­nities like Barnum, Moose Lake, Cook County, and South Ridge.

“Some teams are really embracing it,” Tim said of having the players travel around the area. “Every team is playing two games a week in the local com­munity. It’s fun having so many teams just constantly playing.”

The teams are also embracing improve­ments that have been added to the program, such as a batting cage and other equipment. This year, the players got brand new uniforms that are sponsored by local businesses. There is talk of a concession stand by the end of the year, which they hav­en’t had before.

Concessions are good to have when you have, according to Tim, one hundred and fifty fans watching the games when there used to be very few. It’ll be even more so if the growth of kids interested in playing baseball continues its upward trend.

It’s bound to be if the kids’ attitudes are any indication of their ded­ication. “We’re creat­ing an atmosphere for these kids that they are really embracing,” said Tim. “Every year we grow a little more and we do things a lit­tle differently. We take what we did in pre­vious years and look at how to improve them.”

The teams are also beginning to form their own identities. A great example is a 11U team that is showing a lot of spark, winning games by ten or fifteen runs.

“We want people to know that baseball and softball in Two Har­bors is back,” said Tim. “Community support would be great. Come out to see a game, take pictures, and cheer on the Agates!”

To do so, come to the Two Harbors High School Mondays through Thursdays be­tween 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM and you’ll be sure to catch a youth game.

“Honestly, we just want fans,” Tim said. “We want people to fall in love with base­ball and softball again. We want people at the ballpark cheering on these kids and having some support.”

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