If you’ve followed Yankton baseball closely this summer, one thing has probably become apparent. You tend to see the same last names a lot.
Between Yankton’s six youth baseball teams this summer — 78 players overall — there are 15 sets of brothers, totaling 31 players. It could have been even more, as at least two players have brothers who could still be playing. Other players in the program had siblings in the program, or may have siblings playing in the future.
“It’s a big number,” said Yankton American Legion head coach Drew Lawrence. “It’s great that we have it. It keeps baseball going.”
Seven players on Yankton’s Legion team — the oldest of the six squads — have younger brothers playing within the Yankton system. Five players on the Junior Legion team have younger brothers playing, with one of those five also having a brother on the Legion squad.
Having so many family connections within the program helps build it, Lawrence said.
“The expectations are already there. They’ve seen baseball at a higher level than what they play,” he said. “It makes them more familiar with what we’re trying to accomplish.
“It makes it easier for us, for the whole program.”
And it isn’t just the “little brothers” that are getting that exposure.
“When we played Brandon Valley here (on July 8), we had a couple of younger groups that were friends of the siblings that were down here,” Lawrence said. “That’s great for the program. It gets them excited about playing here.”
Twins Drew and Mac Ryken have done every sport together as long as they’ve been competing. Besides playing together on the Lakers, they are joined on the Lakers by cousin Rugby Ryken, whose big brother Rex plays for the Legion squad.
Watching their cousin Rex helped spark the fire to play baseball, Drew said. But Rex wasn’t the only family tie to Yankton baseball.
“It made us want to play more, knowing Rex, my dad (former Yankton and Mount Marty standout Lance Ryken) and my family all played here,” Drew said. “We could do it, too.”
Not only did their father play here, so did their uncle Mark Ryken, also a former Yankton standout. Their grandfather, Larry Ryken, managed the Yankton amateur baseball team for a number of years, including the 1991 state championship team.
Connecting with family at Riverside Field at Bob Tereshinski is part of the joy of baseball, Mac said.
“It’s a lot of fun to play in front of family, getting to see of them,” he said.
On the field, the twins tend to be “on the same page,” Mac said.
“We have similar ideas of what we want to do,” Drew said. “We just always want to win.”
Collin Zahrbock takes credit for getting his younger brothers Cameron, Caleb and Cohen involved in baseball.
While Caleb has hung up his spikes (he still attends a lot of the games), the other three have been split between three of Yankton’s teams this summer: Collin on Legion, Cameron on the Juniors and Cohen on the Reds, the youngest of the six teams.
“I was playing catch with them and teaching them how to hit since they could walk,” said Collin, who graduated for Yankton High School this past May.
Cameron and Cohen said that watching big brother Collin play also helped spark the interest in baseball.
“It influenced me a lot,” Cohen said. “I like watching baseball as much as I love playing it.”
Collin hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to return the favor and attend his little brothers’ games, but he did admit “It’s nice to watch them play.”
Having three boys playing on three different teams has pulled mom Jackie Zahrbock in multiple directions for the entire summer.
There have been several occasions this summer when two of the Zahrbock boys have played in different places. On rare occasions, all three have been in action.
“I had GameChanger on, watching Colin’s game on there, mom (Jackie’s mother) had Cohen’s game on and dad (Jackie’s father) was in Sioux Falls,” Jackie said. GameChanger is a scoring app for baseball and softball used by Yankton Baseball Association teams, as well as many others in the region. It can be used to post updates live, depending on a team’s settings. “It hasn’t happened a lot, where all three are playing.”
When she is only pulled in two directions, Jackie said that her parents will often go with one of the boys to his game while she goes to the other. She also said that other parents, many of which are also pulled in multiple directions, have helped out.
“The other team parents help out with rides and info,” Jackie said. “It’s been really nice.”
Before moving to Yankton, Cameron had a chance to occasional play with both Collin and Cohen. Cameron got pulled up to Collin’s team for a few games, and Cohen got pulled up by Cameron’s team for some younger-level games.
“It was pretty cool,” Cameron said.
In the future, all three brothers could end up on the same team … at the amateur level.
“We haven’t talked about it, but it would be cool if we all played on the same team,” Cameron said.
For now, they will have to settle for all wearing “Yankton” on the front of their uniforms.
“I love it,” Collin said. “We’re all under the same team, the same organization. They’ll get the same great coaching I did when they get older.”
Brothers And Baseball
Here is a list of the 15 sets of brothers playing in the Yankton Baseball Association program in 2019, listed with the team(s) they are playing on this season.
Keagan and Wyatt Holmstrom (twins), Grey Sox
Bradley (Juniors) and Chase (Grey Sox) Howe
Lucas (Reds/Grey Sox) and Sam (Black Sox) Kampshoff
Kaden (Juniors) and Kieren (Legion) Luellman
Paul (Black Sox) and Tony (Juniors) McGlone
Matthew (Legion) and Michael (Lakers) Mors
Cayden (Legion/Juniors) and Payton (Reds/Grey Sox)
Colton (Black Sox) and Landon (Reds) Potts
Dylan (Black Sox) and Tyson (Reds/Grey Sox) Prouty
Drew and Mac Ryken (twins), Lakers
Rex (Legion) and Rugby (Lakers) Ryken
Connor (Lakers) and Hunter (Reds) Teichroew
Austin (Juniors) and Keenan (Reds) Wagner
Ethan (Legion) and Owen (Reds) Wishon
Cameron (Juniors), Cohen (Reds) and Collin (Legion) Zahrbock
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