Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Prospect Meadows

Icemen stay red-hot for PG title

Ryan Sutterer would have loved a chance to play in a major Perfect Game tournament at a place like Prospect Meadows when he was a kid growing up in Minnesota, but coaching a team here the past four days was pretty special as well.

Sutterer led the Minnesota Icemen to the title of the 2019 WWBA 15U National Championship Tuesday with a 9-4 victory over the Elite Baseball Training team from Aurora, Ill., in the finals at Prospect Meadows.

The Icemen finished with a 6-0-1 record in the tournament, which featured elite travel teams from seven states.

“It’s awesome,” said Sutterer. “Those guys came on and played better than I’ve seen them play in a long time. They’ve been working their tails off.

“The favorite part of the weekend is seeing them come together as a team,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve seen them jell from top to bottom. I couldn’t be any happier for them. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Icemen list 25 players on their roster from 15 different high schools in Minnesota, with their headquarters in the North Metro area of the Twin Cities in Blaine. These one-time strangers have become good friends and teammates, and they were all smiles when they posed with their handsome trophy Tuesday after winning the title.

“It’s awesome. Big-time,” said Ethan Loss, who was named the MVP of the tournament. “Big-time competition, and it’s awesome to end up on top.”



Game Day bringing 35 teams from 6 states

The Game Day USA folks will be staging their second tournament at  Prospect Meadows this weekend, and this time they’re coming back with a healthy field of 35 teams from six midwestern states.

The first Game Day event here two weeks ago drew had only 11 youth  baseball teams, but school was still in session then and it was difficult for out-of-state clubs to make the journey to eastern Iowa.  That’s no longer the case.

There will be six brackets this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with 10U,  12U, 13U Gold, 13U Silver, 14U and 15U. All of the championship games are scheduled for Sunday at either 2 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Teams from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan and Iowa  will be competing on six of the eight regulation baseball fields at Prospect Meadows.



Roeder shows the way at Prospect Meadows

Jack Roeder arrived at Prospect Meadows bright and early Thursday  morning to turn on the field lights and get ready for a television  interview for KGAN and FOX28.

The moon was visible over one shoulder and the eastern sky was  starting to brighten slightly over the other with dawn approaching. He  had time to think and reflect about Opening Day at the new facility, a  project that has consumed nearly 10 years of his life.

It's been a long journey to a happy ending at Prospect Meadows. Or  rather, a happy new beginning. The sparkling new facility is now  officially open for business.

"You know, between this and my two grandsons being born, I don't think  I've had a prouder moment," he later told assembled guests at the  ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Roeder began working on Prospect Meadows shortly after he retired as  general manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2010. He accepted  another challenging job as GM for the proposed new baseball and  softball complex and has been working at it ever since.



Bice helped Prospect Meadows get off the ground

Richard Bice would love to grab his old glove and play a ballgame at Prospect Meadows this year, but it’s probably not going to happen.

You see, Richard is 87 years old and played his last varsity baseball game for Woodward High School in 1951.

There will be games at Prospect Meadows this year for 8-and-under kids, but there won't be any for 88-and-under grandfathers, no matter how willing they are.

Nonetheless, just the thought of playing ball again puts a twinkle in Richard's eye. He’d love the opportunity.

“Oh, you betcha,” he said with a big smile, relaxing at his long-time home in Marion.

The thought brought back fond memories.

“We used to use cow-chips in the pasture as bases,” he said, laughing. “And we played all the time.

“Yeah, I love ball. I think it’s the greatest thing we can do for our community and our young people.”



Jordan joins Board at Prospect Meadows

Angela Jordan knew she wanted to help when she heard about plans to build a major youth baseball and softball facility in Linn County.

Angela and her husband, Dennis, have three sons, all of whom played travel ball in various parts of the Midwest when they were younger. They did an awful lot of traveling.

“We were in Omaha, Chicago, Kansas City. Everywhere,” said Angela, who lives in Marion. “We had to spend more time in Des Moines than we could here because we didn’t have the facilities.

“When they started working on Prospect Meadows, we just knew we had to get involved and help with the fundraising, because it had to happen. It just had to happen.”

Private fundraising efforts have netted more than $6.5 million, providing about half the funds for the new complex. The grand opening is set for Thursday, May 23 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m., an open house at 5 p.m. and games at 5:30.

Prospect Meadows will feature eight regulation baseball fields this year and a Miracle Field for people with special needs. Eight more fields are scheduled to open in 2023.


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