The measure of a team’s season typically is determined by its record. In those terms the Beulah-Hazen Blackjaws amateur baseball team was less than a success going 6-10 overall this summer. Just don’t tell that to any of the players. To the men wearing the black and red jerseys it’s not the measure of the victories but the amount of joy they have still playing the sport they love.
When Bob Nelson helped jump-start the NorthStars Baseball Club with the approval of the Hazen Park Board in 2005, his vision was to eventually create a program that showcased the best athletic talent the Hazen and Beulah communities had to offer in order to be competitive with much larger areas in North Dakota.
Mother Nature has interfered with the Beulah American Legion baseball schedule time and again this season. But coach Reid Flaagan and his team made that irrelevant last week as the Cyclones concluded the regular season with a combined 72 runs in two days. Shortened inning sweeps over Hettinger and Dunn County, aided by some key losses by other teams, has set up Beulah to face Bowman County in the opening round of the Section 8 American Legion Tournament. The double elimination tourney began Wednesday and runs through Sunday in Mandan.
In baseball no lead is safe – especially when competing against the team that stands in the way of Beulah advancing in the Section 8 standings. The Cyclones had a four-run lead that Dickinson, currently the second seed in the standings, deflated on the path to a two game sweep June 30.
The third annual Jeff Gustafson Memorial Hockey Camp attracted 75 players to the Hazen All-Seasons Arena last week. But besides lacing up their skates and scoring goals, campers were reminded of the man who gave his passion and smile to continuing the support of hockey in the community.
The Beulah American Legion team has always prided itself on being nicknamed after the awe-inspiring force of the elements. But after last week’s tango with Mother Nature, the Cyclones may want to reconsider. Two doubleheaders were canceled and a third was suspended after three innings, all because of weather concerns. Beulah was scheduled to play Section 8 opponent Hettinger last Tuesday but wet fields canceled that action. Beulah is scheduled to play Hettinger again on July 2 and both those games will count toward section standings. Then Wednesday, the Cyclones were curbed again as the team from Aberdeen, S.D., couldn’t make the trek. The non-conference game will not be made up.
Head coach Reid Flaagan had a very reveling look at his team this season during the first two games of the year. The Beulah American Legion baseball team opened up the 2009 schedule with two non-sectional games. Those two days Flaagan found that quiet bats shouldn’t be a problem for the Cyclones this season, but pitching and defense are going to be tougher fixes.