Opinion: Coaches say Cadwell needs to host state more oftenPierre Legion baseball coach Bob Sullivan misses playing on Cadwell Park. Sullivan — a member of Mitchell’s 1999 state Legion championship team — said he was excited when he heard his former town would be the host of this year’s state tournament. It actually gave him a little more incentive to prepare his team to qualify. “I always love coming back to Cadwell,” said Sullivan, whose team was eliminated Friday in the third round. “It always brings back some memories. This week, I got to see a lot of baseball people that I don’t usually get to see when I come back.”
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Pierre Legion baseball coach Bob Sullivan misses playing on Cadwell Park.
Sullivan — a member of Mitchell’s 1999 state Legion championship team — said he was excited when he heard his former town would be the host of this year’s state tournament.
It actually gave him a little more incentive to prepare his team to qualify.
“I always love coming back to Cadwell,” said Sullivan, whose team was eliminated Friday in the third round. “It always brings back some memories. This week, I got to see a lot of baseball people that I don’t usually get to see when I come back.”
For the first time since 1993, Cadwell Park was the host of the state Legion tournament.
Because this year’s state amateur baseball tournament will be held in Sioux Falls starting later this week, Mitchell Baseball Association board members realized this season would be a great opportunity to host the state’s Legion tournament.
After many hours given by parents and volunteers this week, the five-day tournament came to a conclusion Sunday with Rapid City Post 22 winning its 37th state title.
Although Mitchell, the host-team, only lasted three rounds, workers around the ballpark were still in attendance to help with field maintenance, concessions, announcing and everything else needed to show coaches around the state that Mitchell is the perfect place for a state tournament.
“Mitchell is a good athletic town and there are people here that love athletics,” Post 22 manager Dave Ploof said. “The crew really worked hard to get the facility ready for the youth and for American Legion baseball and they can be proud about what they have done. It was fun to see and this is a beautiful complex and it was fun to play here.”
Thursday was scheduled as the second round of the tournament, but a gloomy, rain-filled day postponed the tournament. Only about three innings of a game between Sioux Falls West and Watertown were played Thursday.
Then, the storms started strolling through Mitchell and didn’t allow another pitch to be thrown all day.
Massive puddles of water covered Cadwell Park, but as soon as the rain stopped, out came the ballpark’s grounds crew to start sponging up the field.
After the field was relatively dry, a torrential downpour pushed through Mitchell Thursday night, flooding the streets and putting doubt in some coaches’ heads that the tournament would resume Friday morning on schedule.
No worries, though.
Drake Field — a coupling baseball field on the Cadwell Park Sports Complex — was prepared and Cadwell Park was opened on time to get the tournament caught up by Friday evening.
“This is a phenomenal facility,” Sioux Falls East coach Brandon Hunt said. “The grounds crew did a great job keeping the field up to par and I hope they understand how much the coaches appreciate when you’ve got a beautiful field to play on. With all the rain, they did a phenomenal job.”
There were many mumblings around the park from out-of-towners about how Cadwell Park ranks at or near the top of the state in beauty alone. With an atmosphere like Wednesday night, when Alexandria played Mitchell in the first round in front of about 1,500 fans, it was obvious Cadwell Park was a great place for a state Legion tournament and will be again in the future.
Next year, the state Legion baseball tournament will be held in Yankton.
Riverside Park does have its beauty. It’s a great place to watch a ballgame with the Missouri River is easily seen beyond the outfield fence.
Sullivan can only hope his team qualifies again next year, but the early exit from the state tournament this year at Cadwell will leave him with just a few more memories.
“I like Riverside, but, to me, it doesn’t even compare to Cadwell,” Sullivan said.