STICKS HOSTING STATE 14U TEENER TOURNAMENT
Six years ago, when Freeman’s Dustin Tschetter and Canistota’s Brad Miller got together to form a team that would become the Canistota/Freeman Sticks, they saw potential in the boys and a love for the game that they hoped would eventually lead to a Teeners team.
That’s exactly what has happened.
Who knew they would also be hosting a state tournament?
That will be happening, too.
Next week Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 23-25, Merchants State Bank Field in Freeman will be home base for the 2021 VFW 14u State Tournament. Eight teams will compete, with four games scheduled for Friday, four on Saturday and a final three on Sunday, beginning at noon each day. As the host team, the Sticks receive an automatic bid; the other seven teams will need to qualify at the region competition this weekend.
While who, exactly, will be playing has yet to be determined, preparation for the tournament has been underway for weeks.
“There’s a lot that goes into it,” says Kym Tschetter, Dustin’s wife, who notes that the host organization — in this case the Sticks community — must account for field prep, T-shirts, programs, concessions, parking, overflow parking, gate admission and making sure the local color guard is in place.
“You honor the VFW,” she says. “They are the reason the tournament is happening in the first place.”
Canistota/Freeman Sticks families, which include the younger teams, are being asked to pitch in where they can, and other baseball enthusiasts, including the Freeman Blacksox, will no doubt be helping out.
“It’s all hands on deck,” said Tschetter, who has been working closely with Brad Miller’s wife, Misty, in the planning. “Am I stressed about it right now, yes? We’ve had meetings and done a lot of the prep work but it all needs to fall together in the end.”
“Thank goodness for our wives,” said Brad, who notes that Canistota/Freeman last year submitted a proposal with the South Dakota VFW Baseball to host the tournament that included photos of the baseball facility to be used and some information about the community.
“You have to tell a little bit about the town, the last time you hosted, and from our understating, Freeman or Canistota hadn’t hosted anything in in over 30 years,” said Miller. “We feel that had a lot to do with it.”
Indeed, Freeman checked all the boxes — including the critical requirements of the correct field dimensions and a grass infield — which has led to planning and anticipation for what should be a fun event that will bring a lot of people to town.
“We know that; this is good for baseball but it’s also really good for the community, too,” Kym said. “We want everything to look really nice to represent Freeman well.”
Those who would like to help should email the Tschetters at Kwizz03@hotmail.com and/or email@example.com.