Summer baseball hold fond memories

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by Tom Hintgen

There’s nothing like small town summer baseball in towns throughout Otter Tail County.

Such was the case on Saturday, July 28, when four baseball games were played at Jake Wolford Field in Dent, southwest of Perham. Dent, my wife Sharon’s hometown, hosted the first weekend of the 2018 Region 16-C town baseball tournament.

For fans, sitting in bleachers or in lawn chairs is enjoyable, especially during nighttime hours when small town baseball games are played under the lights. Many communities in Minnesota installed lights after the end of World War II, in 1945.

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Our dog Maggie, a golden retriever, came along with us to Dent. We were in our lawn chairs near the right field fence. She sat near us and even retrieved one of the foul balls.

“Old-fashioned small-town team baseball is the glue that holds many communities, such as Dent, together,” says Tom Tomashek, co-author of “Minnesota Town Ball.”

He adds that small town baseball generates a great sense of pride and passion among its residents.

That’s especially true for towns such as Dent and Urbank that don’t have high school sports teams. For them, the town baseball team is their only local team to take pride in.

Playing at Dent on July 27-28 in summer baseball regional play were the small-town Otter Tail County and nearby county teams of Dent, Carlos, Osakis, Ashby, Frazee, Urbank and Millerville.

Fans at small town parks, similar to those watching baseball at major league parks, enjoy eating hot dogs and partaking of beverages while the games are going on.

And, yes, it’s also beer time at smaller parks in towns such as Dent, Urbank, and other communities. Dent offered $3 beer to baseball fans on July 28.

Today there are more than 300 active town ball teams in Minnesota. They play in more than 30 leagues throughout the state.

“The best in Americana,” said one baseball fan to us at Dent on Saturday evening, July 28.

Small town baseball enriches the inner soul.

Editor's Note: Tom Hintgen is a semi-retired newspaper reporter. He writes part-time for area weekly newspapers in Otter Tail County and pens a weekly column for the Fergus Falls Daily Journal. Tom also worked several years in public relations for Otter Tail Power Company. He and his wife Sharon have two adult sons, Mark and Paul.

Rick ScharaComment