After a wet spring, organizers of the Lewis & Clark Classic were determined to do what they could to keep teams dry this weekend.
As a result today’s (Saturday) play will begin at 9 a.m. — a half-hour earlier than originally scheduled — with games shortened to six innings or one hour and 45 minutes.
“We wanted to make sure we got all the pool play games done,” said tournament director Andy Bernatow. “Some teams have traveled a long ways for this weekend, and we want them to have the opportunity to get their games in.
“We’re not asking them to play at 1 a.m. or 6 a.m., so the changes make sense. This probably won’t affect the experience in a negative manner.”
The champions of the four pools — Hartington, Nebraska; Crofton, Nebraska; Vermillion and Yankton — will meet on Sunday at Yankton’s Riverside Field at Bob Tereshinski Stadium. Barring schedule changes, the semifinals will be played at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., with the championship set for 3:30 p.m.
— James D. Cimburek
Twin Brothers Umpire Together
Carter and Corey Roach are what they call a “package deal.”
And that was the case again Friday morning.
Where one brother was donning the gear to umpire a legion baseball game, his twin was right there doing the same thing.
“Back in Brookings, we liked to say we were a package deal,” Carter said, with a smile, after Friday morning’s opening game of the Lewis & Clark Classic in Crofton, Nebraska.
The 23-year-old twins worked the first game together: Corey was behind the plate and Carter was on the bases.
This summer marks their fifth or sixth year — neither can remember for sure — umpiring together, but with Carter back home in Brookings and Corey down in Yankton, Friday was their first opportunity to work together this summer.
“He asked me to come down and help out, so I was excited to do this with him again,” Carter said. “I’ve always known how big this tournament is, so I jumped at the chance.”
The Brookings natives both spent two years at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, but Corey then transferred to Mount Marty College where he finished his career and Carter enrolled as a student at South Dakota State University.
Corey, who graduated from Mount Marty last month, is spending the summer in Yankton where is umpiring games and playing amateur baseball with the Crofton Bluejays — his roommate, Ben Hegge, is Crofton’s co-manager.
Working alongside your sibling, let alone a twin, presents a special opportunity, they both said.
“Any time you’re familiar with who you’re working with, it makes things less stressful,” Carter said. “Because you know them and their tendencies, and it calms you down.”
And when your counterpart is a twin, there’s an even stronger connection.
“Sometimes he’ll make a call or won’t call a strike, and we’ll just look at each other and know what we’re thinking,” Carter said, with a smile.
Spending their summers umpiring games is a way for both brothers to remain close to the game they love, they said.
“We grew up big baseball fans and then played baseball, so this is way more than a paycheck,” Corey said. “We love staying in the game.”
Added Carter, “We were going to the games anyway, so we thought we might as well have the best seat in the house.”
— Jeremy Hoeck
Springfield-Platteview’s Two Sets Of Twins
The names Lynam and Mathewson are popular entries on the Springfield-Platteview roster.
Not only is Jim Lynam the head coach, but there are two sets of twins: Jordan and Caden Mathewson, and Cade and Colin Lynam.
And so, there are plenty of connections for the Lewis & Clark Classic defending champions.
“It’s a lot of fun, especially when we’re up the middle together,” said Jordan, who plays second base while Caden plays shortstop.
While having one set of twins on the same time is rare, having two sets is certainly unique, according to Jordan.
“They can relate to each other in that way, like we can,” Jordan said. “They have a good connection out there in the outfield.”
Of course, for the Lynam and Mathewson brothers, it’s all they’ve ever known.
“We always did everything together, ever since I can remember,” Jordan said. “When one is frustrated, the other can tell right away, so we help each other out really well.”
— Jeremy Hoeck
Another Tourney Chance For Crofton
Like a handful of teams in the Lewis & Clark Classic, Crofton has another opportunity this weekend to prove itself in a tournament setting.
A week ago, Crofton finished fifth at the Kyle Mueller Memorial First Dakota Classic in Yankton, and now it’s hosting two days’ worth of games.
“We love hosting these games,” Crofton head coach Jason Babcock said after Friday morning’s 11-6 loss to Harrisburg.
“It’s great for our team and for the community, and I know the other teams love coming here.”
Of course, tournaments early in the season test a team’s pitching depth, he added.
“It’s tough on the arms this early in the season, but it gives other guys opportunities to get some innings,” Babcock said.
That was the case for Crofton on Friday morning, when Steven Maibaum, Peyton Wieseler and Ghatlin Hegge all saw time on the mound. Also in that game, Crofton got down 4-0 in the second inning but kept the deficit at least within striking distance.
“The kids didn’t give up, they kept battling and I’m proud of them for doing that,” Babcock said.
— Jeremy Hoeck
Hartington Returns As Tourney Host
When the Lewis & Clark Classic — then called the Lewis & Clark Wooden Bat Classic — first expanded from 10 to 15 teams, Hartington, Nebraska served as the third site for the event. It was replaced by Crofton in recent years, but Hartington has now returned as a tournament host.
“(Hartington coach) Don Whitmire came up and talked to me about it,” Bernatow said. Whitmire’s son Dain plays for Bernatow’s Mount Marty College baseball team, and returned to play Legion in Hartington this summer, along with fellow Lancer Seth Wiebelhaus. “One thing that helps (with Hartington as a host) is that they have a nice hotel in town.”
With the tournament expanding to 20 teams this year, it made filling the field slightly more challenging.
“I’m thankful Pender (Nebraska) jumped in,” Bernatow said. “It took a little longer in the process than I’d hoped. When you tell teams you’re having a 20-team tournament, you don’t want to have only 18.”
While Bernatow is satisfied with a 20-team field, in part because it removes the wild card scenarios that made Saturday’s scoreboard-watching interesting, he’s not ready to expand the field further.
“If we go up, we have to go up by four teams (to 24) with four sites,” he said. “Could we get teams in — that’s the biggest question.”
— James D. Cimburek