August 13, 2009

Blackjaws experience successful season despite early elimination

By Robyn Rohde, BHG News Service

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. "We’re just about competing and playing baseball. Wins come and go," explained Kevin Flaagan, one of the founding team members. The amateur baseball team is little known in Mercer County despite its creation in the early 1990s. The first few years the team was made up mostly of Beulah and Hazen adults that wanted to keep playing baseball. Eventually the numbers started to drop to the point where the Blackjaws weren’t guaranteed to fill a roster every game, so they expanded the players’ search. Since then the team has been able to reel in players from as far away as Rugby, Minot and Fargo. The past couple seasons, however, the Blackjaws have been able to maintain a more centralized roster with several players from the Washburn area and others with ties to Hazen, Beulah and Center. "We like to keep it going because it’s nice to see the kids coming out of (American) Legion have an opportunity to play baseball," Flaagan said. "We’ve been able to get back to a little more of a local flavor." Last Friday a group of nine guys were able to schedule in one final day of baseball for the 2009 Amateur Baseball State Tournament in Jamestown. The Blackjaws, named after a fish in Lake Sakakawea, have won the state title twice in the club history as they were crowned the Class A champ in 2002 and the Class 2A king three years later. The team’s road to No. 3 began against Fairmount Friday evening. The competition struck first as Fairmount scored in the first inning, then a B-H error allowed another run in the second inning. In the bottom of the inning, Beulah player Reid Flaagan was left stranded on base – a developing pattern in the game.

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