Crookston’s American Legion Post 20 baseball team will not be playing this summer season.
According to Legion commander Kent Schafer, not enough players signed up to field a team.
“We only had five kids turn in their paperwork to get on the roster,” Schafer said. “We didn’t have enough people to even have a team on a roster.”
Schafer said the Legion has the funding to field a team, but the most amount of players he had show up to a practice was six.
“We didn’t even have enough to field a team for a practice,” Schafer said.
Schafer stated he would like to have anywhere between 13 and 16 players on the squad, and is unsure why numbers are down this year.
“I don’t know,” Shafer said. “Some of the seniors that graduated I think they just decided they didn’t want to play this year.”
Legion manager Brent Stahlecker was also unsure, and taken aback, as to why numbers are down.
“Whether it’s a lack of interest or what, some of the seniors decided not to come out and play and that’s kind of a real shocker,” Stahlecker said. “I kind of heard earlier in the high school baseball season that some kids may not be playing legion baseball and you just kind of go with the flow.”
Stahlecker said he talked with the Crookston high school players near the end of the school season about interest in playing legion ball.
“I think there were only three or four seniors who raised their hand and I think there was only one junior,” Stahlecker said. “The rest were freshmen and all are still eligible to play Babe Ruth. They’re not really interested in playing legion baseball right now and that just kind of puts us in a bind and not having enough players to play.”
The Babe Ruth league is open to players ages 13-15.
The Legion team is open to players ages 16-19 while the Crookston Reds team is open to all ages.
Legion was originally scheduled to take on Stephen-Argyle and Warroad last week, but the games were cancelled due to high school state tournament conflicts.
With no team to field this year, Schafer and Stahlecker hope players in the Babe Ruth League will have the interest to continue on and play in Legion when they are old enough.
“From my understanding, there’s a real good group that are at the Babe Ruth age,” Schafer said.