Kidder County’s Senior Babe Ruth baseball team truly comes together to play ball.
Most of the team members live in or around Steele and Dawson, but not everybody, including the coach.
Tim Leier is in his second summer of making the 80-plus mile roundtrip commute, but so far it’s been pretty clear sailing.
“We have one or two games a week. We practice a couple nights per week. Most of them have jobs and things of that nature,” Leier said. “It’s a fun group of kids to be around. We’ve been able to make it work.”
Ty Biesterfeld and Jayden Rath have made Leier’s job managing pretty painless so far this summer.
In its 2-1 start, Kidder County has gotten an 11-strikeout, seven-inning pitching performance from Biesterfeld against Nelson County, and a five-inning no-hitter from Rath on Monday night versus Carrington.
“When they pitch like that, it makes my job easier,” Leier said.
Kidder County did what so many North Dakota summer teams have done, reclassify as an independent team at the Senior Babe Ruth level after the American Legion season was canceled. Kidder County plays in a district with Carrington, the Jamestown 16’s, Nelson County and New Rockford-Sheyenne. They have non-district games scheduled against Garrison, Max and Wishek. A district tournament will be held at the end of July in New Rockford. The winner of the district tournament advances to the state tournament in Minot on Aug. 7-9.
“The kids really wanted to play. They didn’t get to have a high school season, so for them to be able to have a season this summer was a good thing,” Leier said.
Kidder County has 10 full-time players, one more than last season. They have four additional players that rotate from the younger Babe Ruth squad up to what could be considered the varsity.
Biesterfeld, who intends to play baseball at Bismarck State College next season, and Rath give Kidder County a strong 1-2 pitching punch.
“Ty’s got that smooth lefty swing and he’s smooth on the mound, too,” Leier said.
Parker Hager, a star on the Wolves’ 9-man state championship football team, is the primary catcher but is also “quite versatile” Leier said.
Jacob Nolan, Leier’s step son, and Tommy Thompson man the corner infield spots. Thompson smacked a three-run home run in their 12-0 win over Carrington on Monday.
The roster includes three Pfaffs -- Blake, Gage and Grant -- all play key roles. Elijah Fallgatter sees time in the outfield along with Gage and Grant Pfaff. Biesterfeld also plays a lot of center field.
Taren Schmidt provides innings on the mound, but also is a strong bat in the lineup. He had two hits and two runs batted in against Carrington on Monday.
Patrick Pechtel makes the car ride from Napoleon every day to play, bringing infield and outfield versatility to the roster, Leier said.
Youngsters Simon Hager, Blake Braun and Jace Larson provide quality depth.
“They’re good athletes and good ballplayers,” Leier said of his team. “We’re fortunate everything worked out to be able to have a season, so we’re going to enjoy watching them play this summer.”
Reach Bismarck Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!