Pride baseball team completes seven-year run
By Mike Warren / Tim Kraus
Part one of a two-part series
MARSHFIELD – When 12 young men from five communities in central Wisconsin headed west to face some of Colorado state’s top 18-year-old baseball teams this summer, it marked the end of their time together in as a successful team.
Marshfield-based Pride Baseball came out strong, going 6-1 during the eight-day trip. The team’s visit to Colorado, however, was not the trip players, coaches and parents had hoped to take. The trip to the Centennial State was in fact a surrogate adventure, replacing a formal invitation from the manager of “Babe Ruth Baseball” in Taiwan, to take a trip to Taipei – the country’s capital – to participate in its “International Tournament”. , Which was canceled in May due to COVID-19.
Pride participated in a Midwest Invitational tournament in the Quad Cities in the summer of 2019. The team’s initial game was against a team from Shaumburg, IL – a very talented and successful team that at the time consisted of four players. and two coaches from Taiwan. , on the team.
“We were lucky enough to beat the Illinois team and then had a really good performance in the tournament,” said Pride head coach Tim Kraus. The way the central Wisconsin ‘farm boys’ played and respected the game so impressed Taiwan coach Mau-san Chang that he decided to invite the Pride team to join. Carlsbad, Calif., As only two teams from the United States he would invite to his tournament.
In a September 2020 letter to Kraus inviting the team to the Taiwan tournament, Coach Chang said, “Your Pride Baseball Club made a big impression with the way you played the game and won the championship in this tournament. from Iowa. If Pride can join the tournament (2021 Taiwan Babe Ruth League High School International Invitation), it will improve the overall level of play during games.
“Our boys have worked very hard to get sponsorships and fundraising, as well as to do all the other things needed to make this trans-Pacific endeavor happen,” Kraus said. “When it was canceled, our team and their families were very disappointed.”
When informed that the tournament was over, Kraus contacted a few contacts he had in different parts of the United States to find another trip to make up for the loss. After giving their players the choice between Massachusetts, Tennessee and Colorado, the team unanimously chose to head west. With the help of the manager of Colorado American Legion Baseball, as well as the Colorado USSSA Baseball Association, a schedule was established and Pride was able to play against a great competition. Teams from Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Longmont, Windsor and Greeley hosted the competition for the Wisconsin boys.
The trip ended with recognition for their success and quality of play on the Colorado Rockies’ scoreboard during their July 16 game with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field.
Next week: seven years of preparation