Nolan Dix will be doing double duty this summer. Returning to his role on the bench as head coach of the Post 115 Hettinger/Scranton/Bowman Bears, Dix is also going to be coaching the Babe Ruth Bears. He was previously head coach of the Babe Ruthers two years ago, and now finds himself back in that role because of lack of coaching volunteers.
By COLE BENZ | Record Editor
Practices will essentially be on the same field, with some time differential. But some players will be seeing the field for both the Legion team and the Babe Ruth team.
On the books for game days, there are only two days that conflict with both teams, and Dix said a solution will have to be figured out for those dates.
There are 15 ball players out for the Babe Ruth team this year, five of them are first-time 13 year olds. Gavin Dalley, Brady Clapper, Hayden Erickson, Alex Burr, Tanner DaFoe are the young guns on the team this year, with 11 returning from last year’s team.
Babe Ruth allows kids 13-15 years old to participate, with May 1 being the cutoff for the top of the age bracket. If a player was 15 on or before May 1, they are still eligible to play Babe Ruth.
Of the players on the Babe Ruth Bears, Dix said approximately seven to eight of them will be with both squads.
The Babe Ruth Bears returns a ton of talent, with some getting good experience on the field with the Hettinger/Scranton/New England high school team the past two months, and said that pitching should be a strong suit for his team this year. Dix also said they will start to develop some more pitching, especially with kids making the jump from Little League to Babe Ruth.
“The Babe Ruth [team] should be pretty solid,” he said.
There are five teams in the area this year, Hettinger/Scranton, Bowman, Hear River, Richardton, and Lemmon, S.D. Others in the region include, Beulah, Hazen and Washburn. Washburn will host the regional tournament this year.
New with the Legion team this year will be competition. Citing travel logistics, Dix said Post 115 will be competing in the Class A division this year.
“It was just too much travel,” he said.
At first glance, putting a Class B team up against competition from bigger communities may see daunting. But Dix shrugged it off and was confident in his team’s level of skill to go up against some of the bigger teams, especially with the caliber of talent he has returning, he said.
“They know they can beat the bigger [teams],” he said.
Dix also added that they are going to be competing against the younger, newer players of the bigger cities like Bismarck and Dickinson. The full list of the regional teams include: Bismarck Reps, Bismarck Capitals, Mandan A’s, Dickinson Volunteers, Washburn, and the Hettinger/Scranton Bears.
The regional tournament will be in Bismarck and the state tournament will be in Grand Forks this year. Two teams from each region advance to state.
He said pitching and hitting will be strengths of his team again. They will have to continue to work on cleaning up the errors in the field, something Dix as the high school coach preached for most of the season.
Dix said some younger, Babe Ruth kids will get some time on the field to get them experience as they age up in the system. Alex Bartholomay from Bowman has also committed to joining the team, Dix said.
The first time fans can get a glimpse of the teams at home will be June 16 for the Babe Ruth team as they host a tournament.
Legion will host a tournament in Hettinger on June 23.