PLANKINTON -- For one night, there will be baseball in Plankinton.
The Plankinton city council originally ruled to have all parks, including the Bankers’ home field (The Vault), closed for the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bankers have resorted to mainly using Mount Vernon as its home field this season, but at 6 p.m. on July 19, their fans won’t have to leave town.
Plankinton received permission from the city council to host an intrasquad purple vs. gold game, giving it a fundraising opportunity during a season when it wasn’t able to sell signs on its outfield fence. The Bankers played a doubleheader against South Central on Tuesday in Gregory to clear the final Sunday before postseason play.
“I think it’s going to be huge for the community and the fans,” said Plankinton manager Chris Hill, who added the city council didn’t need convincing to get on board. “... I think we’re going to have a good crowd, a good turnout and that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Plankinton will follow the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association social distancing guidelines. There won’t be concessions, rather pre-packaged sandwiches, chips and water handed out.
For a team with 21 players, which were drafted into teams over Facebook Live on Thursday, it was an easy decision to turn a practice into an intrasquad game for the community to watch.
But it’ll be more than a baseball game. Sponsors of the game will get a chance to hit pitches between innings and there will also be a calcutta before the game to help raise money, which Hill said helps with hiring umpires and buying equipment.
“We’re going to do a calcutta with some of the stats with the players, and auction off the players with some of the proceeds going to the Bankers directly,” Hill said.
Hill has noticed a lower attendance during its “home” games this season, but Plankinton has still managed to go 10-4 overall and 6-2 in Pony Hills League play. It closes the regular season at Colome on Sunday and a contest against Miller at Cadwell Park on Thursday.
“The guys have been great. We have a lot of guys that know their roles,” Hill said. “A lot of guys that didn’t get as much playing time as they wanted this year, but they’re still very positive about it and know that we’re trying to get them in as much as possible.”
The Bankers have adjusted, but for one night it won’t be necessary. The Vault will be open.
“It’s going to be a fun night for everybody, and it’s good to have baseball back in Plankinton,” Hill said.