A committee of local citizens came before the Hiawatha City Commission on Monday night, and proposed bringing a college wooden bat baseball team to the town.
The group aims to put a team in the Mid Plains League, which currently boasts eight teams, including the Sabetha Bravos, and gives small college baseball players extra exposure as they pursue scholarships at larger schools.
Jeff and Joey May, along with Ryan Meininger, Stacy Jasper and Bravos Coach Edgar Santos addressed the commission with a request for their blessing to continue the process of laying groundwork to bring the team to Hiawatha. Joey May spoke about her family’s experience with the Sabetha team, as her husband schedules and umpires the games. The Bravos — formerly the Sabetha Lobos — have been around for several years, and provide a free baseball experience for the community. May said that the team will host approximately 15 home games at Paul Rockey Memorial Stadium, and will give local businesses a new opportunity for sponsorship, for both the team, and individual home games.
Santos spoke about the program in Sabetha, saying that many of the players are from Central America, and use the opportunity to gain scholarships. The team would consist of 25-30 players, some local and some international, and the committee will look for host families to house the players over the summer. The Bravos take part in community service projects as well as team activities and outings with their host families.
Jasper, who is Hiawatha’s Parks and Recreation Director, expressed her support and willingness to work with the group as they iron out the logistics of their plan. The commission agreed that bringing in new customers for local business and providing a new entertainment avenue would be beneficial, and gave their consent for the committee to move forward. This will allow the group to seek permission from the Mid Plains League to form the team and then the group will begin work on recruiting host families, seeking business sponsors, and working with Jasper to maintain cohesiveness with the City’s Parks Department and other summer activities.