On short notice July 2, a group of some of Wallace’s most admirable young men banded together and organized the first American Legion baseball team to represent Post 36 in six years.
The student athletes continued to organize their team Sunday morning until they found nine committed players, then traveled to Riverside High School in Washington and competed in a hot-weather doubleheader.
“The Wallace kids rallied hard to make the game happen. They had a great attitude and played with enthusiasm," said coach Ed Chilgren, who teaches in the Wallace School District, manages the Wallace pool, and coached the Kellogg High School baseball team last spring.
"Of course, none of it would have happened without the commitment from Legion Post 36," the coach added.
Incoming Wallace Miner seniors Matt Farkas, Zayne Hunter, and Jaden Dimitroff were joined by juniors Erik Brackebusch, Chandler Holling, Tommy Strange, freshman Hayden Hogamier, and eighth-grader Dorsey Pearson.
Also joining the team was recent Victor, Mont. High School graduate and class valedictorian Jesse Pearson, who will attend Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., this fall and will begin football practice with the Knights later in the summer.
“This is a uniquely courageous and coachable group of athletes who decided to salvage a baseball program," said late-addition assistant coach Kit Pearson. “The upperclassmen on this team demonstrated tremendous leadership ability."
The Silver Valley team was competitive against their well-polished hosts despite having some players who had not played baseball for several years.
Jesse Pearson ended the day three for four with a homerun and three stolen bases.
Brackebusch helped anchor the duties on the mound and made relief pitching appearances in both games.
In game one, he recorded six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. He also smashed a hard single into right field. The tall right-hander indicated that he is strongly considering playing for the Kellogg High School team next year.
Farkas caught game one in temperatures reaching the mid-90s, then started on the mound in game 2.
He also hit leadoff with two base hits and scored a pair of runs.
Hunter and Dimitroff played with energy at shortstop and second base respectively.
“With a little work, those two athletes in the middle
infield can help keep us in games,” said coach Pearson.
Hogamier delivered a two-strike RBI single up the middle in his first plate appearance.
The Silver Valley team is tentatively scheduled to host a
game July 16, depending on the condition of Morehouse field in Osburn.
"We have people in the community working to get the field up to snuff to host a game," Pearson said. “It’s a gem of a ball-yard, but we’re getting started late in the season. We’ll see what happens in the near future, but we have our sights set on making it sparkle for next year and also attracting the Kellogg players to join."