Two Parkston Sunshine League foes compete annually before fireworks display for fansPARKSTON — Nothing says the Fourth of July in Parkston like baseball and fireworks. Each year two of the town’s three Sunshine League teams, the Mudcats and the Rock Bass, battle for positioning in the league standings as well as pride among peers on their Independence Day rivalry game.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
PARKSTON — Nothing says the Fourth of July in Parkston like baseball and fireworks.
Each year two of the town’s three Sunshine League teams, the Mudcats and the Rock Bass, battle for positioning in the league standings as well as pride among peers on their Independence Day rivalry game.
“This game is more like a tournament game for us,” Mudcats manager Dave Roth said. “This is the one you don’t want to lose.”
After the game, fans from both teams get to enjoy a firework show to celebrate the holiday.
“You’re playing the game and hating the other guys for two hours and afterwards it brings it right back and you watch fireworks together,” Rock Bass manager Dan Jervik said.
“It’s really cool and it makes it more than a baseball game that everybody looks forward to.”
Both managers said the game brings in the biggest crowd of the season for their respective teams and it makes the game more meaningful.
“You always like to see a big crowd at a game,” Roth said.
“It’s become the place to be,” Jervik said. “We’re a baseball community so it keeps the rivalry strong.”
Todd Ziebart, a 38-year-old Parkston native, said he takes his wife and three daughters to one amateur baseball game a year and it’s always the Fourth of July game.
“We usually come out with a bunch of friends for the one game a year and watch the fireworks afterwards,” Ziebart said.
Before the Rock Bass became a team the Mudcats would take on Sunshine League opponent Dimock/Emery, but for at least the last 10 years the two Parkston teams have clashed.
Ziebart said he has watched the Fourth of July game for about 25 years and has enjoyed it more since the two town teams have been the competitors.
When asked which team he rooted for each year he simply answered, “Parkston.”
Ziebart enjoys the game along the right-field fence on a flatbed trailer that he said he sets up around 7 a.m.
He said this year when he got to the park several trucks were already parked along the fence for fans to watch the game from. The first pitch was at 7 p.m.
“If there was no fans the game would still be alright,” Jervik said, “but with the fans all from the same town it means a lot. It’s a really cool experience to be a part of.”
The Mudcats defeated the Rock Bass 11-1 in this year’s matchup Wednesday in Parkston to sweep the season series with their crosstown rival. The Mudcats triumphed over the Rock Bass 5-0 on June 3 in Parkston in the first meeting of the season.