Vols dropping down a level this summerThe Dickinson Volunteers baseball team has undergone plenty of change in a year’s time.
The Dickinson Volunteers baseball team has undergone plenty of change in a year’s time.
The team picked up an official nickname last season, and this year, a new head coach and a new league is on tap.
Andy Tomanek takes over as head coach from Carter Fong. Tomanek is just two years removed from playing with the Dickinson Roughriders American Legion team, but has coached Junior Babe Ruth and assisted at Dickinson High.
“I wanted to step in,” Tomanek said.
He comes in just as the Volunteers drop out of American Legion baseball. Instead of playing as a Junior Legion team, the club decided to go the Senior Babe Ruth route.
That means many nearby opponents such as Bowman County won’t be on the schedule unless needed as a fill in. The closet opponents for Dickinson if went the Junior Legion route was in Mandan and Bismarck, with the team having to play in Fargo and Grand Forks as well.
The Roughriders start their season Friday at Williston. The season concludes with the state tournament July 15-17 in Watford City. Dickinson has scheduled nine doubleheaders, plus three tournaments.
“We had to drop games because of our numbers,” Tomanek said.
Only 13 players came out for the team.
Unlike past years, not one player on the Volunteers has varsity experience playing for Dickinson High. Only one — first baseman and upcoming junior Taylor Thiel — has junior varsity experience.
Thiel is looking forward to having a leadership role.
“It’s different because I haven’t been a leader before,” Thiel said. “I’m kind of looking forward to it because of playing with the younger guys. It will be a good experience.”
Sophomore catcher Brady Dutchak played for the Midgets’ freshman team in the spring. He played Junior Babe Ruth baseball last summer.
“We don’t have very many kids, so we’ll get a lot of playing time,” Dutchak said.
The low numbers means everyone will expect to pitch, with a lot of shuffling in the infield and outfield depending on whose turn it is on the mound.
“We’re trying to teach everyone how to pitch,” Tomanek said. “A lot of these guys didn’t want to, but they’re going to figure out some way or another.”