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Baseball - Thu, May 12, 2016

May 12, 2016

KDLT SPORTS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK - Monday, May 9, 2016

MADISON, S.D. - College baseball is a young man's game, the perfect fit for a freshman.

"Really it just makes you feel young."

Even if he's 42 years old like Dakota State's Jay Thaler!

"He's a little kid at heart!" Dakota state Senior Pitcher/OF Jamie Jorgensen says.

When he wasn't on his regular job as a bank manager in Vermillion, Thaler was a part time assistant coach for the Trojans baseball team, until some late transfers forced coach Scott Hortness to make an unusual request.

"He sent me a text and I kinda thought he was joking right away,' Thaler says.

"Just told him the truth.  We were a little shorthanded," Hortness says.

"He calls me later that night and says no, we're serious, we had two guys leave.  We need a catcher, how much eligiblity do you have?" Thaler says.

Because he ever played when he first went to college 20 years ago, and with the aid of online courses, Jay was able to enroll and play as a freshman.

"I play with a lot of these kids or against them most of the time anyway for the last three, four or five years in the amateur ball circuit in South Dakota so I was confident that I could compete with them at this level," Jay says.

Jay's playing with kids who are half his age, if you can't tell.

Jay doesn't act like he's 42, I'll say that!" Hortness says.

While playing one of the most demanding positions on the field.

"You fell the little things a little bit more than you used to.  It's the catching the Saturday and then catching the Sunday game also," Thaler says.

"I get sore so I can imagine what he goes through when he goes back to work the next week," Jorgensen says.

Yet Thaler's been a steady presence under the mask.

"Major League team having a young pitching staff, first thing they do is go out and get a catcher with experience to help lead them through and that's kind of what Jay's doing," Hortness says.

And just another one of the guys in the clubhouse.

"I hope I can still play when I'm 42.  I envy the guy.  Very Integlligent at calling a game," Jorgensen says.

Though Jay likley won't be playing for the Trojans through his senior year....

"What I'll take away is just the camaraderie.  You know my intention wasn't to prove (anything) my intention was to come out and kind of help this team.  I think we're 5-0 in the game's I've caught so taht part I'm proud of." Thaler says.

He's proven that you're never too old to play the grand old game.

In Madison Zach Borg, KDLT Sports

 
 
 
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