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'They love their baseball': Amateur baseball returns to Wessington Springs

WESSINGTON SPRINGS--A baseball-crazed community has an amateur baseball team again. The Wessington Springs Owls are back after not fielding a team for the past three seasons. The team was hindered by low participation numbers and nobody stepping ...

The Wessington Springs Owls wait to bat at the plate inside their dugout during a game against Chamberlain on June 13 at David Jost Field in Wessington Springs. (Matt Gade / Republic)
The Wessington Springs Owls wait to bat at the plate inside their dugout during a game against Chamberlain on June 13 at David Jost Field in Wessington Springs. (Matt Gade / Republic)

WESSINGTON SPRINGS-A baseball-crazed community has an amateur baseball team again.

The Wessington Springs Owls are back after not fielding a team for the past three seasons. The team was hindered by low participation numbers and nobody stepping up to fill the manager position. But the Owls now have around 20 players after some younger players expressed interest in starting the team again. Joe Butterfield and son Tarek Butterfield have helped fill the managerial void to bring amateur baseball back to Wessington Springs and David Jost Memorial Field.

"They are excited to get baseball back," Joe Butterfield said. "It's an older community. They love their baseball and they've really stepped up with money so we could get that stuff bought."

Butterfield said the biggest challenge was lining up equipment and updating their Owls apparel. But the community was instrumental in assisting with funds to help pump life back into the team.

"We spent quite a few thousand dollars on bats, balls," said Joe Butterfield, who is a former Wessington Springs player. "Everything to do with baseball is new for us."

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The Owls have players from surrounding communities like Woonsocket and Alpena. They've added veteran players like Armondo Rodriguez (Alexandria Angels) and Geno Katz (Winner/Colome Pheasants). Tarek Butterfield played for Miller/Wessington last season. They've helped increase the likelihood Wessington Springs will field a team on gameday.

"It's really been important for us where guys can step up and play because we are all adults," Joe Butterfield said. "There's different conflicts that come up and so having the bigger numbers at times is really nice."

The Owls don't have a problem with scheduling. Wessington Springs, a long-time Pony Hills League member, is back in the league. The Owls, Colome, Kimball/White Lake, Plankinton, Chamberlain, South Central, Four Corners and Miller/Wessington make up the eight-team league.

"The schedule worked out really well," Joe Butterfield said. "There are no byes. There's a little bit of travel involved. Back in the day-if you will-Pony Hills was much more local. So there's some travel. But sometimes that's not all bad."

The Owls were 3-3 in Pony Hills League play this season entering Thursday's game against Kimball/White Lake. They will host Colome on Sunday as they continue to bring back baseball to Wessington Springs.

"We are just excited and we want to keep all the young baseball players playing baseball," Joe Butterfield said. "Because baseball is really a neat thing. Amateur baseball in South Dakota is really a neat thing."

The Wessington Springs Owls play a game against Chamberlain on June 13 at David Jost Field in Wessington Springs. (Matt Gade / Republic)
The Wessington Springs Owls play a game against Chamberlain on June 13 at David Jost Field in Wessington Springs. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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