Canaries set for return to MitchellThe Sioux Falls Canaries will be back in Mitchell this weekend for the second annual Mitchell Baseball Association Spring Canaries Classic, but this year, the game — and the entire day — will have a much more local feel. This year, the day will start with two amateur games featuring four area teams, a clinic for kids and the marquee matchup of the night will feature the Canaries against the South Dakota Amateur All-Stars.
By: Leah Rado, The Daily Republic
The Sioux Falls Canaries will be back in Mitchell this weekend for the second annual Mitchell Baseball Association Spring Canaries Classic, but this year, the game — and the entire day — will have a much more local feel.
Last year, the Canaries put on a clinic for area youth and then took on the Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team. This year, the day will start with two amateur games featuring four area teams, a clinic for kids and the marquee matchup of the night will feature the Canaries against the South Dakota Amateur All-Stars.
The event, which is the Mitchell Baseball Association’s primary fundraiser for the year, starts at 10:30 a.m. when the Parkston Mudcats play Canistota, followed by Canova and Mount Vernon at 1 p.m. Both games will be five-inning exhibition games. A youth clinic will be run by the Canaries players and coaches at 3:30 p.m., and the Canaries take batting practice around 5:15 p.m.
The all-star team and the Canaries square off at 6:30 p.m.
Matt Meola, the Canaries’ public relations director, said that the original plan had been for the Canaries to play another American Association team in Mitchell, but camps open May 2, and no one wanted to play that first day, so a new plan was formed.
“I think that amateur baseball is very popular in South Dakota,” he said. “People like going out to support their town’s team, and if they can support their town’s players, I think they’ll want to do that.”
The all-star team’s roster contains 24 names, 15 of which hail from area teams. Dell Rapids Mudcats’ manager Jim Wilber and Parkston Mudcats’ manager Dave Roth put together the roster, which has 13 players from the Cornbelt League and 11 from the Sunshine League.
Players from Salem, Platte, Geddes, Delmont, Mount Vernon, Dimock/Emery and both Parkston teams, as well as Humbolt/Hartford, Flandreau and both Dell Rapids teams will combine to take on the Canaries.
In order to add even more local flavor to the event, the MBA has asked Dean Minder, a longtime umpire and volunteer for the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association, to throw out the first pitch of the exhibition game.
Saturday’s exhibition game will be the first of the season for the Canaries, who only recently put the finishing touches on their summer roster. Meola said some of the players are coming in late this week, and that Saturday’s game will be the first opportunity manager Steve Shirley will have to see his new team play.
“(The guys) are coming in late this week and getting physicals Friday,” Meola said. “Saturday is the first chance to evaluate the team we have.”
Meola said that the Canaries were eager to return to Mitchell after last year’s event. Estimates put turnout numbers at more than 1,800 people for the 2008 event, and Meola said he hopes moving the event to a Saturday combined with the more local roster and the amateur games prior to the Canaries game will attract more people.
Along with the great turnout, Meola said he and the Canaries were impressed with the number of volunteers that made the event possible. Mitchell received 11 inches of snow the Friday before the event, which was held on a Monday night last year.
“The turnout from the people (last year) was absolutely fantastic,” Meola said. “We were also very impressed with the people that put on the fundraiser and the tremendous job they and volunteers did to clear the field and make the game even possible. They are fantastic partners for us to work with and the support in the community makes Mitchell a place we want to come back to.”
Meola said that people can expect the same type of games, promotions and entertainment between innings that they saw at last year’s game. The entertainment was especially popular with the large crowd of children that attended, and Meola said it’s one of the big draws of the Sioux Falls Canaries.
“The reason we go around and play games in other towns is to expose our product and entice people to come out over the course of the summer,” he said. “I think when you see the product, you’re more likely to come and want to see it again, especially by us putting our promos on and bringing our show to Mitchell.”
Tickets for the full day of baseball are $8 for adults and can be purchased at County Fair or at the gate. Kids will be getting tickets from school and can get tickets by attending the clinic before the game.
2009 South Dakota Amateur All-Star Roster
Dell Rapids Mudcats: Justin Siemonsma, Matt Wilber, Nate Henry; Dell Rapids PBR: Dale Solberg, Craig Hansen, Kevin Krull; Flandreau Cardinals: Scott Johnson; Humbolt/Hartford Gamecocks: Brent Reilly, Justin Reilly; Salem Cubs: Thomas Gulledge, Chris Marek; Parkston Mudcats: Pat Harris, Jordan Gau, Austin Ledaboer; Dimock/Emery: Doug Sudbeck; Parkston Rockbass: Bubba Slaba; Platte: Ryan Kott, Pat Strand; Geddes: Travis Gant, Willy Mies; Delmont: Drew Andersen, Nate Harrington; Mount Vernon: Cody Larson, Freddy Ellis.