For the first time in recent memory, Broken Bow will not have a senior baseball team this upcoming summer due to lack of numbers.
DYO President Mike Evans came to this executive decision Monday.
While this is a recent decision, the possibility of having a senior team this season was low.
Although there were great hopes that Christensen, one of the team’s top pitchers last season, won’t be ready by the time the season starts due to his injuries from the accident last summer.
Grayson Minnick, another valuable memeber of the team last year is unable to go due to a major leg injury suffered during basketball season.
To add to the baseball team’s woes, the town recently mourned the passing of Sterling Atkins, who was set to be the team’s starting catcher this season.
Also, despite the DYO’s best efforts, they were unable to get commitments from players from towns surrounding Broken Bow.
“We tried,” Evans said. “We have very good, capable junior and senior high school athletes in (Broken Bow) and many other high schools around here.”
The next question one would ask is why this group of people weren’t going out for the team.
The problem, in Evan’s opinion, started back when this group of people were in the pony league’s (13-14 years olds) and some of the things they experienced while playing at that level.
“I dug into this pretty hard,” Evans said. “At least for the Broken Bow kids, they had a bad experience at the Pony level (four or five years ago). Those kids never forgot that and their parents never forgot that.”
“There was not enough attention paid to the pony level in the past,” Evans said. “For some reason, and it might have been by chance, most people on the board at that time had all their attention focused everywhere but the pony level.”
Evans also noted that at the time they were in a league that wasn’t run very well and therefore not that many games were scheduled.
There were also rumors that some teams were intentionally stacked with talent more so than other teams.
These issues created a gap in the program that never filled in.
“We had a couple coaches at the junior level, at that time, who were probably too young,” Evans said. “We had a couple who were really good and some other’s who weren’t that good.”
As part of this decision, the remaining senior league players will have to travel to other towns in order to try to get on a team.
Evans feels that they had already waited too long and had to make a decision now due to the lengthy transfer process, and also out of courtesy to their summer employment schedule.
This whole tug of war as far as no senior team vs. senior team has been hard on Evans over the past several months.
“It’s kept me up at night,” Evans said. “I’ve probably spent more time worrying about other people’s kids than I have my own.”
If the senior team was going to work, the junior kids were going to be asked to fill out the senior’s roster.
“In, my overall evaulation, I didn’t feel that it was in the best interest of the kids,” Evans said.“You’d be putting 14 and 15 year olds out there on the mound and at the plate and they’d be going against men,” Evans said. Their arms wouldn’t be ready to compete at both levels.”
Jerry Pomplun, who coached the senior team for the better part of the last decade and had many winning teams wanted to clear the air about his departure from the team.
“I called the DYO in late fall of last year and told them I was resigning as coach of the baseball program,” Pomplun said. “ I also want to make it clear, that even if there were a senior team this season, I wasn’t planning on coming back to coach.”
Broken Bow will still feature a junior team this season.