SPEARFISH — The Spearfish Sasquatch is anticipated to open its 2019 Expedition Wood-bat League season tonight, when they host the Hub City Hotshots, at Black Hills Energy Stadium, in Spearfish.
The Sasquatch were originally scheduled to host its season opener Friday night, but inclimate weather forced the postponement of that game until Sunday afternoon at 1:35 p.m.
“We’re working hard right now to get the field ready. The snow is all off, so now we are focusing on getting the infield dry, puddles soaked up, raking, dragging, and that kind of thing just to get the field into a safe environment for the teams,” said Eric Schmidt, the general manager of the Sasquatch. “
Schmidt said 2018 was a great year for Sasquatch fans who attended home games, and he said this year they are kicking things up a notch.
“We are just elevating everything across the board. You are going to find different themes each and every night. That translate from specialty jerseys to fireworks, things for the kids going on, inflatables, and really fun events every night of the season,” said Schmidt.
The Sasquatch only need a couple of more host families for the upcoming season for the players.
“We still need a couple of host families. Spearfish did a great job stepping up last year and this year we’ve had a lot of new families step up and take the guys in an we are right there, probably two host families from having everybody placed,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt encourages fans to come out and watch some quality baseball as well as enjoy the whole baseball experience..
Expect a good season all the way around. We’re trying to really do everything better this year from food selections to beer, to on field entertainment. We are bringing in some national acts and then the baseball is just going to be that much better this year. We are trying to improve everything across the board,” Schmidt said.
In 2018, the Sasquatch’s first season, they went 24-38, and finished four games behind Hastings for the second and final playoff spot in the Clark Division.
The Sasquatch will be without head coach Adam Core. The college team Core is coaching is still in the playoffs, and he is expected to join the Sasquatch Tuesday when they host the Hub City Hotshots in Game #2 of a five game homestand.
This means Spearfish will turn to hitting coach Seth McLemore, to run the team in Core’s absence.
This past season McLemore was an assistant at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo.
He has also had coaching stops at First Assembly Christian High School and Central Baptist College.
He also spent a summer as the head coach of the Windy Hill Whales of the Beach Collegiate Baseball League (BCBL), where he lead Windy Hill to their first ever division championship.
The team has not been able to workout on the field, but they have been able to work out indoors at S.D. Premier, in Spearfish, as well as the Donald E. Young Center Field house located on the campus of Black Hills State University.
“One good thing is most of our guys are coming straight off of their season. So they’re fresh, they’ve been playing. We were able to get indoors today to swing a little bit, get to throw a little bit to take the rust off a little bit if they have played in awhile,” said McLemore. “As far as the team chemistry, that’s going to come. It’s hard to create that in a summer environment like this, but at the end of the day by the time they leave here they will have some of the best friends they’ve ever made in their lives, and the team chemistry will be there.”
The first couple of games the Sasquatch will only have 15 of the 32 players on the roster, as other players are still involved in post-season play, but McLemore said he isn’t concerned with not having a deeper bench to start the season.
“I think it’s kind of fun. We get to move the chess pieces around a little bit in a fashion that you don’t normally get to. We have to think about some of the moves we are going to make a little more in-depth as far as subs and pinch hitters, and whose going to pitch and things like that. At the end of the day it’s a good thing, because it shows what kind of talent we decided to bring in this year, with so many of our guys still in their post-season play,” McLemore said.
McLemore added the coaches did a great job recruiting the players to come play for Spearfish.
“We recruited well. Coach Adam Core, Brooks (DuBose), and myself, kind of went to work recruiting to get these guys, and you can tell by looking at the type of team we have, it’s going to be fun for the first couple of games or so, but when the rest of the guys get here in about a week or so, I think we will be a tough team to beat,” McLemore said.
McLemore said expectations for the first few games of the season are simple.
“We just want to make outs, and hit the ball hard. Pitchers are going to throw strikes because they’ve been doing that their whole lives. We’re going to catch the ball, we’re going to throe the ball, we aren’t going to change anything up. We’re just going to wind things up and let them fall how they are going to fall,” McLemore said.
The Fremont Moo and Wheat City Whiskey Jacks will join the eight teams from the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Wyoming for the Expedition Leagues 2019 season.
Schmidt is expecting big things from the Sasquatch this year.
“You can expect to see a physically more intimidating team. They guys Coach Core brought in this year is bigger across the board,” said Schmidt. “That doesn’t always translate into baseball, but you are going to see bigger pitchers, bigger hitters, more power across the board, and this is just going to be fun, competitive baseball. We’re not expecting just to compete. We are expecting to win this year.”
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