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Milk River Baseball Takes Steps Towards Competing

The regular season for Milk River Baseball is in full swing for students in Tee-Ball through age 13.

The teams play games on Monday nights and practice throughout the week at the Trafton Park baseball and softball fields.

"This year has been kind of crazy," Milk River Baseball Manager Kenny Murray said. "We started out with a good amount of kids and once we basically had teams made and were ready to roll, Tee-Ball doubled in size after that, and the 7-9 year old group added 17 more."

Milk River Baseball had to split up the groups into more teams after the start of the season. As of now, there are a total of 120 kids amongst the three age groups. This includes four Tee-Ball teams, four 7-9 baseball teams and two very competitive 10-13 baseball teams.

He said that it has been a great start of the year for Milk River Baseball overall.

"The parents stepped up," Murray said. "The parents that are helping coach and got involved are amazing. Amanda Ziegler took on a ton. She remade a schedule and organized the coaches of getting together, re-picking teams, and splitting them up evenly. That is a hard thing to do at all three levels of it."

Murray walked around last Monday during the Tee-Ball games and witnessed the energy of the young athletes as they were simply having fun playing the youngest form of America's Favorite Pastime.

"These kids, when they are the Tee-Ball age, everything that they do has so much joy with it," Murray said. "It's so carefree and you just can't help but smile just watching them."

During the games last Monday, Jessica Zeiger, one of the Tee-Ball coaches, set up her batters and the batters made contact with every slow pitch. The teams use slow pitch for the kids that show confidence in hitting without the Tee.

"That's kind of the awesome part," Murray said. "Malta has always had such good support from parents for the youth."

He said that sadly, baseball has been lost in Malta, but over the past several years has had a resurgence and plenty of interest.

"It's so great to see this many kids at this level right now," Murray said. "We are getting calls from Glasgow, Havre, and Lewistown. A little bit of the older ages, asking if we are going to be playing some travel stuff."

He said that the possibility of traveling can make baseball an awesome and competitive thing again in Malta down the road.

"My kids are going to be grown and past that but there are so many parents willing to dive in... So I know that others will have that happen in the future," Murray said.

He believes that Malta could have fun and competitive travel teams in the future.

"We have enough kids, enough athletes, and the kids are into it," Murray said. "There needs to be a level of competitiveness coming as they get older for them to stay into it."

Murray believes that a competitive traveling team could be as close to next year.

"This year, we could possibly put together an older team for games against Lewistown and Havre, which would be a starting point," Murray said. "It's a start. Whether we get there or not depends on if a lot of people stay involved."

This season, Milk River Baseball has been completely free for participants and is two weeks longer than it has been in past years.

With so many going on vacation later in the summer, Murray scheduled games sooner so that teams could practice more and have two more weeks of games.

As far as the registration fee being dropped, Murray said that the earnings over the years allowed Milk River Baseball to purchase the jerseys and hats for this season.

"Registration will have to come back next year, but all I wanted was a chance for a few more people to be able to get their kid involved in something and not even have to think about the cost."

He said that if a parent finds that their kid loves the sport this year for free, that the cost may seem more worth it to them in the future.

 

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