Baseball success emerging at Carrington – INFORUM
But lately, baseball is forcing its way into the conversation. Back-to-back state North Dakota American Legion Class B titles will do that.
Beginning on Thursday, Carrington Post 25 plays in the Central Plains Division II Regional in Le Sueur, Minn.. Last year, Post 25 didn’t get to play in the regional, but a format change now allows all state champions to play in the regionals.
It’s not an unexpected run of success for the program, but it did take some work.
“We have really, really talented kids. That’s the first thing, but we’ve also had really good organization at the youth levels and that comes from the parents,” said Post 25 coach Tim Ranum said. “The parents became involved and that was a really good thing. Everybody has worked together pretty well.”
The nucleus of the team started having success as youngsters at the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth levels, and it’s carried over. Their secret to success is pretty simple, said catcher/pitcher and Valley City State recruit Easton Paeper.
“We have a bunch of guys who love playing baseball, and we’ve played a lot together back to when we were really young,” he said.
That will continue for the veteran core of the team as Paeper, Patrick Freeman and Brady Smith will attend Valley City State in the fall. It’s not by accident, either.
Freeman, who graduated in 2014, went to NDSU last year, but didn’t play a sport and that was tough to take for the former three-sport standout. Freeman was the state runner-up at 138 pounds in 2014.
“I was just tired of sitting around and felt like I needed to do something,” he said. “And with Easton and Brady going there, and (Valley) had shown interest in me, going there was a pretty easy decision.”
Smith echoed those sentiments. His parents are both VCSU alums, and times at baseball camps in Mandan—where Vikings coach Casey Olney was one of the instructors—made it a simple choice.
“I really like the coaches and the people are really nice there,” Smith said. “I liked everything about Valley City State.”
Smith and Freeman both played three sports in high school, while Paeper played baseball and football. That’s another characteristic of the Carrington program.
“Our kids have had a lot of success in a lot of different sports,” Ranum said. “With baseball now, the younger kids in town see that and the more kids we can get playing baseball, that’s a good thing. If a kid wants to play baseball, we’ll make room for them.”
The future looks bright too. Everyone except Freeman will return next season.
Post 25’s focus is on having a strong showing in Le Sueur. The 12-team regional features four, three-team pools. Two teams advance out of each pool to the single-elimination round on Saturday.
Carrington (29-10) has a busy start to the tournament. On Thursday, Post 25 faces River Falls, Wis. (24-7) at 11 a.m., and then host Le Sueur-Henderson (4-15) around 7 p.m.
“We don’t know much about the teams we’ll be playing, but we’re confident that if we play Carrington baseball, we’ll have success,” Smith said.