MINNEAPOLIS — The Hurley Midgets baseball team had to travel more than 250 miles — and still go inside — to start its baseball season.
They were only scrimmages, against Chequamegon and Phillips, but at least there was baseball at the Metrodome Thursday in Minneapolis.
“Despite four feet of snow on the ground, we still managed to get our first baseball games in, so that’s nice,” Hurley manager Aaron Bender said.
The Midgets played Phillips first and the teams were tied at 0-0 through three innings with Hurley’s varsity players in. The Midgets lost 5-0 in the five-inning event.
Hurley and Chequamegon played to a scoreless tie in five innings in the second game.
“I saw a lot of goods things actually today for it being a scrimmage,” Bender said.
Jared Wendt, Grant Innes, Austin Kolpin, Cole Kivisto, P.J. Lipske and Steven Chavers pitched for Hurley.
“You can really tell you don’t get any live hitting,” Bender said. “Today was evident, nobody scored many runs. The only runs were from errors. The bats you could see were really behind, which can be expected the first game of the year. Nobody’s been outside.”
The Midgets are scheduled to start the season at Drummond on April 8 (Bender predicted the first game would actually be the fifth on the schedule, April 19 at Tomahawk).
The Midgets elected to do this to play some games with so much snow on the ground here, see what the team has and because the Metrodome won’t be available for baseball as construction advances on the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium on the same site.
Games were going on at the Dome 24 hours a day, Bender said. The team watched Minnesota play South Dakota State Wednesday night.
All 18 Hurley players got an at-bat and a chance to play in the field.
“It is a tremendous experience,” Bender said. “Driving home, some of the young ones said they were even nervous. It creates quite a tremendous atmosphere for those kids. I think they love it.”
All the fly balls were caught, in spite of the Metrodome’s roof.
“That was pretty good,” Bender said. “I played there 15, 16 years ago. I know the one I missed and spun around looking for was hard to catch. Then again, there’s a new roof on the place and you could see different.”