Youth sports: Rushmore Little League is big
RUSHMORE -- It started out as a way to give Rushmore kids a chance to play ball. Twenty-seven years later the Rushmore Little League is attended by, not only kids from the Rushmore area, but kids from Worthington, Lismore, Reading, Wilmont, Ellsw...
RUSHMORE -- It started out as a way to give Rushmore kids a chance to play ball.
Twenty-seven years later the Rushmore Little League is attended by, not only kids from the Rushmore area, but kids from Worthington, Lismore, Reading, Wilmont, Ellsworth, Bigelow and Edgerton. One comes from Sioux Falls, S.D.
“I didn’t expect it to get this big. I started it because my two boys didn’t have anywhere to play ball,” said “commissioner” Dave Bruns, who teamed with Gary Brink organize the league nearly three decades ago. Bruns no longer coaches a team, but instead oversees the league. Brink has sponsored a team every year since the league’s inception.
Today (Thursday, Aug. 18) the first round of the double-elimination playoff season begins. The tournament continues on Sunday and is expected to finish at around 6 p.m. The Rushmore Fire Department is sponsoring this year’s festivities.
There are 95 kids in the 2016 league, which is approximately one-third of the population of Rushmore. It’s a slow-pitch softball league only, divided into six teams of players.
The games are meant primarily as a teaching tool. That’s how the league began with just two teams and many players who were introduced to bats and balls for the first time.
“Everybody plays. So sometimes we’ve got seven or eight outfielders. But there’s usually a lot of hits that fall through. But everybody gets to hit,” said Bruns.
There are several reasons, Bruns said, that the league has been such a hit. For one, the games are played at night, beginning at 7 p.m. when most of the parents are off of work and can easily attend. Parents appreciate the fact that everybody plays. There is a scoreboard that keeps everybody up-to-date on the games’ progress. And the Rushmore Booster Club runs a food stand.
League organizers work to hold costs down to a minimum, Bruns said. Everyone involved with the league is a volunteer.